Brain dump

Brain Dump

Help learners mentally de-clutter with a brain dump exercise.

Difficulty: 2/5


10-15 minutes.


at least 1 human

Core Competency Connection

Sketch of two bees on a yellow gradient background
Sketch of chief mountain on an ammolite gradient background
Sketch of three wolves on a grey gradient background


  • Writing surfaces (paper, whiteboard)
  • Writing utensils (colour and variety are nice)



The Process

Step 1: Ready, Set, Write!

  • Set learners up with a writing surface and writing utensils.

Step 2: Dump thoughts, ideas, words, pictures, etc.

  • Instruct learners to jot down everything they remember from a previous intake of content (reading, lecture, activity, discussion, study session, etc.).

Step 3: Let’s compare

  • Instruct learners to compare their jot notes with course material.
  • Learners should look for accuracy and completeness. Did they miss anything? Did they get everything right?
  • For a variation, learners can form pairs or groups to compare notes.

Step 4: Takeaway

  • Ask learners what they learned (ideally, they identified areas requiring better study) and how they can use this strategy in other ways (regular free recall, stress relief, test preparation, testing situations, scrap paper brain dump).

Design Hack

  • Keep the activity low stakes. No marks, etc. Suggest learners use mind maps and other lateral thinking or visual approaches to writing down content.

CTLI Staff

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