Visual Facilitation and its sub-practices

You might have heard the terms Visual Facilitation, Graphic Facilitation, Sketchnoting and such thrown around, not really knowing what each term means and how they are linked. My own understanding of the practice is inspired by my supervisor’s great overview of the practices, where she describes the terms as a hierarchy (Mie Nørgaard). A lot of the great masters within the field disagree on the terminology a bit, which i discovered when I decided to research this topic as part of a paper for the IT University during my masters, which I discuss in a lit. review of graphic facilitation here.

Visual facilitation:
When someone uses visual aids to get their meaning across it is called Visual Facilitation, and it is an umbrella-term for all the sub-practises I discuss below. The visual aid could for example be sketching/drawing (live or pre-made), video, or perhaps through a power point.

Graphic facilitation: One type of visual facilitation is graphic facilitation, which is when the visual aid in question is graphics usually consisting of live drawing/sketching on a big scale. The sketcher works as a facilitator, leading a group towards a goal. Sometimes the facilitating sketcher has prepared some layouts or frames (or even content) before the event, but usually the sketching itself is done live. Often the audience is not passively watching the sketching, but become active participants in different ways, perhaps even sketching themselves.

Graphic recording: is when the sketcher aims to provide a visual summary in front of an audience, often listening silently, standing by the side and capturing the essence. This is the type most often seen at conferences and seminars. It is usually done through one person live sketching on a big paper along the wall, but It can also be done on for example a tablet and digitally projected.

Sketchnoting: Sketchnotes are visual notes. Although they have a lot in common with graphic recording, they are not necessarily done in front of, or even for an audience. They are not even necessarily done live. Can be done within many different fields. Mike Rhode is known for having coined the term. I have written more about it here.
I do a lot of sketchnotes to practice before diving into graphic recording or graphic facilitation more (the opportunities for these are more rare because they involve other people).