You are here: What is wayfinding?

Before we begin, consider giving this mini-meditation a listen (<2 minutes):

Personally, as a yogi and academic, I always appreciate a good remind to drop my awareness down from up here *points at head* to down here *points to rest of body*. I hope you do too.

In this post, I focus on putting forth a tentative definition for how we can understand wayfinding. Future blog posts will build on this definition, so it is a good idea to start with reading this post first.
 

What is wayfinding?

Put simply, wayfinding can refer to the finding of one’s way through a landscape via the use of cues, such as maps or landmarks.

Wayfinding really describes a process of navigation in spaces (note: I use the word "spaces" loosely here, and in a moment I'll tell you why). Put simply, wayfinding can refer to the finding of one’s way through a landscape via the use of cues, such as maps or landmarks (Golledge, 1992; Fox, 2015). Wayfinding typically has its home in urban design, psychology, geography, and architecture (e.g., Gibson, 2009; Golledge, 1992; Kato & Takeuchi, 2003).

I came to wayfinding during my research (forthcoming publication - I hope!) as a potential way to help me to conceptualise doctoral students' processes of navigating obstacles in their writing. The process that underlies wayfinding includes at least three things: 1) locating a destination, 2) locating one’s position in relation to the destination, and 3) undertaking a journey with the use of navigational aids.

Thomson and Kamler (2016) write that wayfinding may be a useful metaphor for thinking about "the learning undertaken during the doctorate than the journey [as a metaphor]” (p.42). I tend to agree.  In the next blog post, I will give some examples of wayfinding and wayfinders. You can access this post by clicking here. References can be found here.

This post has been borrowed in part from a presentation I prepared for the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing (EATAW) conference (June 2017, in sunny U.K.).

brittany aComment