If you’re like me, you’ve heard of mind maps and even thought about using them in a learning scenario — but never got around to doing it. Some may think it’s only reserved for brainstorming. Others might even feel that it’s cheeky.
But research shows that it improves learning for a number of reasons. It requires learners to visually depict and make connections to their learning.
“By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind.
According to Judy Willis, ‘The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is. This redundancy means students will have more opportunities to pull up all of those related bits of data from their multiple storage areas in response to a single cue. This cross-referencing of data means we have learned, rather than just memorized.’”
Here’s a quick “how to” from Illumine. Try it today!
|1. Take a blank piece of paper, A4 or larger.||Blank paper allows 360º of freedom to express the full range of your cortical skills, whereas pre-drawn lines restrict the natural flow of your thoughts.|
|2. Use the paper in landscape orientation.||Words and images have more space in the direction we write, so they don’t bump into margins as quickly.|
|3. Start in the centre.||Thoughts start in the centre of our mental world. The Mind Map page reflects this!|
|4. Make a central image that represents the topic about which you are writing/thinking:
||A picture is worth a thousand words. It opens up associations, focuses the thoughts, is
fun and results in better recall:
|5. The main themes around the central image are like the chapter headings of a book:
|The main themes, connected to the central image on the main branches, allow their relative importance to be seen. These are the Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) and aggregate and focus the rest of the Mind Map:
|6. Start to add a second level of thought. These words or images are linked to the main branch that triggered them. Remember:
||Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on:
|7. Add a third or fourth level of data as thoughts come to you:
||Your brain is like a multi-handed thought-ball catcher. The Mind Map allows you to catch and keep whatever ‘thought ball’ is thrown by your brain.|
|8. Add a new dimension to your Mind Map. Boxes add depth around the word or image.||To make some important points stand out.|
|9. Sometimes enclose branches of a Mind Map with outlines in colour:
||The outlines will create unique shapes as you find in clouds and will aid your memory:
|10. Make each Mind Map a little more:
||Your eyes and brain will be attracted to your Mind Map:
|11. Have fun!
Add a little humour, exaggeration or absurdity wherever you can.
|Your brain will delight in getting the maximum use and enjoyment from this process and will therefore learn faster, recall more effectively and think more clearly.|