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Should you join my Visible Thinking Membership?

The Visible Thinking Membership with Claire Bown

Are you thinking about joining my new Visible Thinking Membership but aren’t sure whether to join?

If so, you probably have a few questions buzzing around in your head, such as:
  • What will I learn and how long will it take?
  • What exactly is included in the programme and how does it work?
  • Is the programme suitable for me?
Perhaps you’re wondering how much time-commitment you will need to give, or whether it’s suitable for your level or experience. So, should you join my Visible Thinking Membership? Let’s dive in and answer your questions.

What kind of results can I expect? 

As with any course or programme, you get out what you put in. You will learn how to:
  • Give your discussions a flexible structure and substance
  • Engage with art & artefacts, engage with people and with ideas
  • Deploy basic and advanced facilitation skills
  • Formulate and generate brilliant questions that get results
  • Handle your knowledge strategically and productively.
  • Be confident in leading inquiry- and dialogue-based discussions
  • Use thinking routines for group, individual and for personal use
  • Create memorable and engaging discussions that get 5 star feedback
  • Be part of a global community – connecting, learning, supporting and collaborating with each other.
You can read what past participants have to say about my classes and courses here too.

Why did I create the Visible Thinking Membership?

People want to be engaged with art and artefacts when they join a guided tour, sign up for an art discussion or follow an educational programme whether virtually or in-person. They don’t want to just listen and be lectured at. They want to be active participants, involved in the discovery and learning process and engaged with the discussion throughout. In short, audiences are demanding more participative, inquiry-led programmes in museums and heritage organisations. 
However, many museum educators and guides find it hard to meet the demands of leading dialogue-based programmes . There are a large number of skills to master in leading engaging discussions about art – for example, you need to know a variety of questioning strategies, how to facilitate and to shape a conversation with their group, how to structure the discussion and when or how to add information. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just about having these skills (and more besides) it’s about knowing how and when to confidently use them.
I wanted to simplify the process and increase the engagement factor for both facilitator and audience. In 2011, I discovered the magic of Visible Thinking and have since developed ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ – a method that uses thinking routines for flexible structure and question formulation along with facilitation techniques, collaborative learning and museum education practices. The result is ‘inquiry made simple’. A easy-to-follow process that allows you to confidently design, lead and manage engaging inquiry-led sessions with art and artefacts. In 2020, I developed ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online’ an 8 module online programme teaching participants to use my ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum’ method. VTMO is now the flagship course of the Visible Thinking Membership.

What is included in the Visible Thinking Membership and how does it work?

The Visible Thinking Membership is a global learning community teaching you to confidently design, lead & manage lively discussions about art and artefacts that will make your tours, guided discussions & educational programmes more engaging and interactive.
Included in your Visible Thinking Membership:
✔️My flagship course Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO), an 8 module course taught live 3 times a year
✔️Mini-courses such as my Slow Looking:The Art of Observation (6 classes) course
✔️Expert monthly masterclasses on specialist subjects
✔️Monthly specialist thinking routine classes
✔️Dedicated private FB Group – community Support
✔️Practice & coaching groups
✔️Access to all my resources, materials and downloads

What is included in the Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) Course?

‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online’ is my flagship 8 module online course with a combination of self-directed study and live tutorials. VTMO is only available in the VT Membership and is taught ‘live’ by myself 3 times a year (next intake FEBRUARY 2021). We cover the following:
Module 1: Introduction to Visible Thinking
Find out what Visible Thinking is and discover my Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) method. Learn the following thinking routines: See-Think-Wonder, Headlines, See-Wonder-Connect
Module 2: Getting Started with VTM
In this module you will learn basic facilitation skills and work on improving your questioning skills. You will learn the following thinking routines: 5×2, Step Inside, Creative Questions, Question Sorts, Peel the Fruit
Module 3: Growing in Confidence with VTM
We continue teaching you how to be a good facilitator focusing on active listening, language skills and paraphrasing. You will learn the following thinking routines: 321 Bridge, Beginning-Middle-End, I used to think…now I think
Module 4: Digging Deeper
Learn how to select artworks and artefacts and pair with thinking routines, time-management and pacing. You will learn the following thinking routines this week: Colour Shape Line, Beauty and Truth
Module 5: Engaging with Others
You will find out the characteristics and success factors for dialogue-based programmes alongside best practices for your sharing information and knowledge. Thinking routines this week: Zoom In
Module 6: Engaging with Ideas
This week you will learn about the importance of perspective-taking and empathy, and we will start learning advanced facilitation skills. Thinking routines this week: Point of View, Step In – Step Out – Step Back, Name-Describe-Act
Module 7: Engaging in Action
You will continue learning advanced facilitation skills including crafting an intro statement, setting guidelines, gatekeeping and troubleshooting. You will learn the following thinking routines: Gaining New Perspectives, The 3 Y’s
Module 8: Bringing it All Together
The last session focuses on teaching with objects, reflecting on your progress throughout the course and finding out your next steps. Thinking routines: Parts Purposes Complexities, Imagine If, Main/Side/Hidden, ESP+I

Why are you creating a membership?

I’ve trained hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 10 years and I’ve seen the best results when people are supported in developing their practice over a period of time, rather than a one-off training session.
It takes most people at least a year to confidently master the art of facilitating engaging discussions with art and artefacts. The Visible Thinking Membership will guide you every step of the way. The VTMO course will help you to make huge progress on your journey in just 90 days and then the Visible Thinking Membership will offer you the support afterwards to continue to grow and learn. There are new learning opportunities and content every month, a large library of resources, and practice and coaching groups. You will connect with and learn from other members too.

How much does it cost?

The standard price is €55,- per month excl. VAT or €600,- for an annual subscription. The VTMO course on its own is worth €600,- + €480,- of masterclasses per year, €300 worth of thinking routine classes, coaching sessions worth €480, mini-courses – such as the Slow-Looking Course worth £350,- and more.

Is the Visible Thinking Membership suitable for me?

The Visible Thinking Membership is suitable for anyone wishing to confidently design, lead and manage engaging discussions about art and artefacts with a variety of audiences. It is suitable for both individuals and teams. 
✔️Museum and Heritage Guides
✔️Museum educators & learning practitioners
✔️Cultural and historical guides
✔️ Museum docents & Volunteers
✔️Teachers & educators at any level/age group
✔️Visible Thinking specialists who’d like to apply their skills to art and artefacts
✔️Teams of educators, guides and docents at museums, heritage and cultural organisations. Please contact me to discuss your teams requirements. 

Is the Visible Thinking Membership just for beginners?

Not at all. The Visible Thinking Membership is for all levels. Whether you’re new to working in an inquiry-based way, have some experience but want to up-skill or are very experienced, we have courses, classes, resources and practice groups, just for you. 

What is the format of the classes in the Visible Thinking Membership?

Classes vary in length from 20-30 minutes for recorded video lessions to 90-120 minutes for a live group class with me. Classes include a video tutorial and downloadable resources.
Many of the classes are taught live, but there is no need to worry if you can’t attend live as all the classes are recorded and resources are shared with members.
My classes are delivered via Zoom video conferencing and are always very interactive with plenty of opportunities to get involved, ask questions or get feedback.

What is the time-commitment?

This depends on you and how much time you want or have to put into this. Ideally, you should aim to put aside 1.5-2 per week for the live VTMO group class (takes place on Thursday afternoons), plus 1-2 hours per week to watch the video lessons, do readings and take part in practice sessions. On average, a commitment of 1-4 hours for the VTMO course.
But you don’t HAVE to attend any live classes/coaching sessions. All the replays/resources are available, so you can work through the content at your own pace if you prefer. You will need to factor in time for practice…but again that’s down to what you can manage. But it’s absolutely fine to go at your own pace too!

When is the right time to join?

The Visible Thinking Membership launched in September 2020. On 1 February 2021 I will begin teaching Visible Thinking in the Museum Online again.
Telling ourselves that now is the not the right time, can sometimes feel easier than committing to something. But you don’t want to be looking back this time next year and finding yourself in exactly the same place as you are now. Working as a guide, educator or teacher, you cannot sit still – you know you need to be continually learning and improving your practice.
Organisations like to work with people who have the most up-to-date skills and a commitment to their ongoing learning. Having new skills and investing in your continuing professional development provides inspiration for new ideas, improves your chances of securing more work and ensures your work stays rewarding. The VT Membership is there for learning, support, implementation and accountability. Don’t miss out on joining!!

Ready to join the Visible Thinking Membership with Claire Bown? Click here to sign up!