Visible Thinking in the Museum Online

VTMO for Individuals – Beginners

No prior experience required

Course fees

€350 /3 live sessions + 3 video lessons + resources

Course Description

VTMO Beginners is the first step in your journey to becoming a confident inquiry-led facilitator of discussions around art, objects and ideas.

VTMO Beginners is a combination of self-paced study and live classes designed and led by Claire Bown (Founder of Thinking Museum and creator of the Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) method).

The next course will take place over 3 weeks in September 2023. Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear when enrolment goes live.  

After you have completed the VTMO Beginners Course, you can progress to VTMO Intermediate and Advanced courses. These courses will also start in 2023.

Mary Ann Lancaster
VTMO exceeded my expectations. Each session live was amazing. I always felt engaged as activities, provoking questions, “chat” helped to hold interest continually in each session.There were lots of opportunities to contribute and the online course was so interactive.
The course was nicely paced, with variety of interaction, discussion, developing knowledge and practice of thinking routines. The flexibility of thinking routines to increase engagement is unsurpassed. 
VTMO was stimulating, thought-provoking, engaging and totally inspirational. Thank you, Claire
Mary Ann Lancaster, UK, Museum, Gallery & Cultural Learning

Course Content

VTMO Beginners has 3 Modules:

1. Introduction to VTM

2. Getting Started with VTM

3. Growing in Confidence with VTM.

Click to see what you will learn in each module:

Module 1

Module 1 – Introduction to Visible Thinking in the Museum

Video Lesson

  • What is Visible Thinking
  • What is Visible Thinking in the Museum
  • What are thinking routines? How can you use them in art discussions?

Live Class with Claire Bown (120 mins)

  • See Think Wonder
  • Headlines
  • See Wonder Connect

Reading suggestions, reading list, thinking routine list, cheatsheets for each thinking routine

Module 2

Module 2 – Getting Started with VTM

Video Lesson

  • Teaching with Questions
  • Closed vs Open-ended Questions
  • Questions to Avoid
  • How to structure your discussions with questions

Live Class with Claire Bown (120 mins)

  • Looking Ten Times Two
  • Step Inside
  • Creative Questions

Reading suggestions, cheatsheets for each thinking routine

Module 3

Module 3 – Growing in Confidence with VTM

Video Lesson

  • Facilitation – good facilitation with VTM
  • Using verbal & non-verbal facilitation tools
  • Being mindful of your language
  • Listening actively

Live Class with Claire Bown (120 mins)

  • 321 Bridge
  • Beginning-Middle-End
  • I used to think…Now I think..

Reading suggestions, cheatsheets for each thinking routine

Bjorg Stefansdottir

Thanks Claire for an amazing course! I learned so many new things and methods and getting to know you and all the other participants was such an incredible experience. I feel that the way that you structure and organise the course online made us all feel like we are a part of something!

I didn’t really know what VTMO was before the course, but was very curious to learn more about it. The course was in my opinion perfect – super well-organised and much more personal than I would have expected.

And it was amazing that I managed to get to know the women in the class from all over the world so well! Claire, you are a master of making things interesting!

Bjorg Stefansdottir, Iceland, Director International Office, University of Iceland


The next VTMO Beginners course will start in September 2023. Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear when enrolment opens.

Live Classes usually take place on Tuesdays at 17.00 hrs CET (Amsterdam):


All live classes are recorded if you’re unable to participate live. A new module will be released each Tuesday.

Upon completion of VTMO Beginners, you can progress directly to VTMO Intermediate

Tali Krikler

This has been such an inspiring course. I really feel I have grown from the whole experience.

My main experience from participating in the course is how the structured routines really, really help focus attention on one image for an extended period of time. I am also reminded how powerful collaborative learning experiences are. I do love how you can learn from others’ experience and knowledge.
I love that by practicing thinking routines we are challenging our own perceptions, learning from each other and really growing. I also love the simplicity and elegance of the routines but how they get you to engage/reflect critically and deeply with the material.
This course has changed my whole way of working, thinking, and developing ideas.
Thanks so much!


What does the VTMO Beginners course include?

The course includes 3 modules through which you will learn how to confidently use my method for using Visible Thinking in the Museum. All course materials are in English and are available to stream online.

You’ll also receive downloadable PDFs and a variety of articles to read and be inspired by.

Plus there’s access to a supportive online community for course students in which you’ll be able to ask any questions you have about the course and how to use thinking routines to create lively discussions about art and museum objects.

Will I need any previous experience?

No. You can start the course with no prior experience. You can also start the course if you have some experience, but want to improve and develop your skills as a VTM facilitator.

Do I need to start with VTMO Beginners? Can I join the VTMO course at the Intermediate or even Advanced level instead?

If you’ve never done a full VTM training* with me before, then you will need to start with the VTMO Beginners course – regardless of whether you’re a seasoned educator or just starting out. Even as an experienced educator, you’ll learn a lot!

It’s called ‘Beginners’ as it’s the first of 3 courses that take you through the elements of the VTM method. Therefore in VTMO Beginners you’ll explore 10 thinking routines which can form the basis of your repertoire, dive into your questioning skills and learn how to facilitate discussions. It’s aimed at museum educators, guides, teachers, art educators and creatives who want to learn new methods to engage audiences with art and objects.
In VTMO Beginners I teach the foundations of the method – which will stand you in good stead for the rest of the courses. We also work on building skills – our questioning skills, facilitation techniques and more. The work that we do in the first course paves the way for the work we do in the later Intermediate and Advanced courses. 
Just FYI, VTMO was originally designed as one course, but individual educators were asking me for shorter courses which cost less, which is why I split it up into 3 parts for individuals – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Teams can still book the entire programme as one course.
*To register for my VTMO Intermediate and Advanced courses, you need to have first completed either the VTMO Beginners Course or a full day intro to VTM with me, Claire Bown.

Who is the course suitable for?

  • individuals who would like to learn how to lead interactive tours & programmes about art and museum objects. (e.g. museum guides & educators, teachers, creatives & learning practitioners). If you’re an organisation, please get in touch to enquire about VTMO for Teams

How long will it take to complete the course?

The course is 3 modules long. In total, the course takes 3 weeks with a commitment of 1-3 hours per week. There is a different module every week and a live class. The video lessons are 20-30 mins long and the live class is 120 mins. Every live class is also recorded if you can’t attend live.

How much does VTMO cost?

The course costs €350,- including VAT.

What are the dates for 2023?

VTMO Beginners takes place in January and September in 2023.
When do the live classes take place?

The live classes usually take place at 17.00 hrs CET (Amsterdam) on Tuesdays. You’ll get the most out of the classes by attending live (and learning collaboratively with the other course members) but if you miss them, you can catch up with the recording too. The recording is available within 24 hours of the live class.

Is the course ‘live’?

There is a live class scheduled for 120 mins per week for all 3 modules of the course. If you are unable to attend live, then you can watch the recording (although we do recommend you attend live to get the most benefit from asking questions). The video modules and all resources will be available for you to work through at your own pace and when it is most suitable for you.

How long do the video lessons last?

They are usually 20-30 minutes in length. You receive one video lesson per week.

How long will I have access to the course?

You will have access to the course for up to 3 months after the course has finished (subject to our terms and conditions), allowing you to work through it at your own pace and return to it as required.

What if I have questions whilst working through the course?

You will have access to an online Slack community where you can ask questions and get support and help.

How do I enrol on the course?

You can sign up as soon as enrolment opens on this page. Alternatively, sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear when enrolment for the next cohort goes live. Places are limited! Get in touch to chat about any remaining questions you have.

What are the Terms and Conditions?

You can find all the Terms and Conditions here

VTMO beyond my expectations. Did not think that an online course could create such a feeling of being part of a community! It opened up a wide range of new ways to engage with art objects and images both physically and online. Now I know that it is possible to facilitate meaningful experiences with art ONLINE too.
Loved the time you offered to us in the unfolding of discussions in our live sessions. So good to not be rushed in the thinking and meaning making process. My biggest takeaway is that VT really DOES BEAT VTS hands down!
Debra Dalla Santa, Art Educator