Measuring participants’ mood during learning events

Visual materials in the form of pictures, videos or drawings have been with us since our early youth, so it is not surprising that facilitators are increasingly making use of different techniques called visualization facilitation. Visual facilitation aims to help the facilitator to manage processes in a group by using visual artifacts.

Interaction during a face-to-face learning initiative can be very intense, but to keep participants motivated we can use different short sessions and visual facilitation can help manage processes better, keep participants motivated, and enhance discussions. It can be used at the beginning, at the end, or during learning initiatives, in line with the facilitator’s preferences, style, or inspiration.

The Moodmeter is an example of a visual facilitation method that I have been using. The Moodmeter can be used in a daily reflection session although it is a method that can be used each time when a facilitator wants to measure the atmosphere in the group. I came across it in one of the guidelines by UNICEF and I simplified it a bit. I like it also because it can be used in different settings. I can put post-its on a whiteboard, a flipchart, or any other surface with enough space for a larger amount of post-its.

How to implement it? When I use a flipchart, I usually draw a straight vertical line on the left side of the paper. Besides this line, I draw three faces that symbolize three different moods: happiness, indifference and sadness. I ask participants to visualize and draw their own faces according to their mood on a post-it that each of them receive, and then, before exiting the classroom, leave it on the flipchart. Below is an example of the moodmeter exercise output:

Example of moodmeter exercise.

I find several advantages of this method. I can either use it for one day of the learning initiative or for more days in a row. For me, flexibility offers more options. As for participants, they can express themselves and usually I observe that they are very creative when drawing faces. I can also ask them to leave comments, explaining why they feel in a certain way. This allows me to reflect on the program that we have pre-designed with the event experts. So, this is a useful reflection method because it gives me as a facilitator a direct message of how participants feel about the learning experience.


Note: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the CEF.



Programme Communication and Information Section, UNICEF (1993). Visualisation in Participatory Programmes:


About Kaja Jurtela

Kaja works with public accountants and auditors in South East Europe. She designs and develops learning and knowledge initiatives to engage public finance officials in regional sharing of experience and fostering reform processes. She is involved in research of learning theories and different aspects of public financial management. Her current research project focuses on fiscal transparency: how to define, measure and put it into practice at the national level.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *