Guest Post – LEARNING with Mind Maps – Part 1 of Mind Maps in Education Series

Filed Under Mindjet

Mindjet

by
July 20, 2010

Tree toonAlthough mind mapping is already used by over 250 million people worldwide (According to Tony Buzan), it is still relatively little used in schools and unknown to students and teachers. However, once students and teachers get introduced to mind mapping, they find it a fun, engaging, and motivating approach to learning, and a great tool to manage information and increase productivity.

In this two-part segment of education series, I’ll describe how students (part 1) and teachers (part 2)can benefit from mind maps.

To become successful learners, students must have some basic training on how to learn. In his work, cognitive psychologist David Ausubel made a very important distinction between rote learning (avoids understanding of a subject and instead focuses on memorization) and meaningful learning. He argued that meaningful learning takes place by the assimilation of new concepts into the existing concept framework held by the learner. This ability to integrate information—identify key concepts and meaningfully structure (organize & connect) them—is a key feature of mind maps.

What is a mind map?linear vs. mind map

A mind map is a graphic tool used to collect, create, manage, and exchange information visually. It represents information via the spatial organization and association of concepts, topics, ideas, words, or other items linked to and arranged in a radial pattern around a central concept (see diagram). In essence, mind mapping enables you to transition from information chaos and overload to a meaningful presentation of information by organizing and connecting concepts and ideas so that they make sense to you.

Think of a mind map as a tree, where the various outlying branches—the concepts and subconcepts—all connect back to the trunk or central concept. The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, with the goal of representing accurate and meaningful connections among them. The concepts are typically represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most general (inclusive) concepts closer to the central concept and the less general (more exclusive or specific) concepts placed further away from the central concept.

How mind maps help students learn

When you learn a new concept, you add it to the appropriate place in the mind map, and in order to do that, you have to analyze the patterns, structures, and connections of concepts within your topic. This promotes better understanding, memorization, and recall, as well as the ability to apply knowledge in new situations. Mind mapping offers enough flexibility to maintain interest and encourage curiosity and enough structure to keep the learner on track.

How to draw mind maps

Drawing mind maps is very simple. Only two steps are truly critical to mind mapping: (1) identify/add key concepts and (2) organize/connect key concepts correctly and meaningfully.

In other words, provided you do these two things, you don’t need to worry too much about the process by which you create your map. In fact, preoccupation with producing the “perfect” mind map can slow your thinking and stymie the process. Mind maps come in many variations and you may encounter other mind mapping guides that describe a different organizational format or number of steps. The mind maps that you make are yours alone, and you can choose the form that best suits your purpose and needs.

Other uses of mind maps

Use of mind maps is not limited to education. Rather, professionals and others also use them to enhance their productivity at work and in life. Some examples are shown in the mind map graphic below.

thumbnailuses(Click here for just the Image File)

Give mind mapping a try. It may be the key to unlocking your full learning and productivity potential.

Toni Krasnic is the author of CONCISE LEARNING: Learn More & Score Higher in Less Time with Less Effort. He is a mind mapper, a student success coach, and an educational consultant.  He also publishes the free, biweekly Student Success Newsletter.  His Web site, www.ConciseLearning.com, has many free, useful resources on mind mapping for students and teachers. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

22 Responses to “Guest Post – LEARNING with Mind Maps – Part 1 of Mind Maps in Education Series”

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  5. Carlos

    Please, I need your help! I can't type more than one character in mindmanager in the Map View. Every time I type one character, the last one is deleted, remaining only the last one that I type. For example: If I try to type the word: COMMENT, then I'll see only the last letter “T” in this case. If you can't help me in this issue, please let me know who can help me. Best Regards.

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  6. Alex

    could it be the image-mind map that you linked to your first post the one from your part 2. I went checking your part 2 and it's the same as part one. I wanted to show both map together to the university department for pitching in we get mindjet manager for students at our university.

    Reply
    • Garrett

      Alex,

      Thanks for pointing this out. I got my wires crossed on this one. The files are now correctly linked and you can have both map files.

      Reply
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  8. Donk

    Does Mind Manager now run on Windows 7? I was very dissapointed to discover that it does not.

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  9. Toni Krasnic

    Thanks Andrew, especially for highlighting that “mind mapping is one of the key learning skills in the National Curriculum in the UK,” something to strive for in our schools here in U.S.

    Call to other mind mappers, students, and teachers – are there other case studies and examples of how mind maps are used in education?

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Mind maps are more widely used in education than one might think; they are just called “webs” by teachers. I, myself, teach second grade. My students use webs on a daily basis to take notes, organize information, prewrite, and demonstrate knowledge to me. We use Pixie and Kidspiration as our computer based programs for this or we go back to simple pencil and paper.

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  10. ajwilcox

    Hi Toni

    I like your two golden rules.

    Mind Mapping is one of the key learning skills in the National Cirriculum in the UK http://www.qcda.gov.uk/resources/assets/QCA_Sup… and they even have a graphic titled a “Mind Map for School Governers”. It obeys your two rules but is not a “Buzan” map.

    There are some ggod examples of mind maps in education on the Illumine site http://www.mind-mapping.co.uk/mind-maps-example….

    Suffollk County Council are using them to promiote excellence in mathematics http://www.suffolkmaths.co.uk/pages/1Level_Grad

    It also gets a mention in “Opening Minds: A competency-based curriculum for the twenty first century” http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/ntrp/lib/pdf/b

    Hopefully I had some affect on the up take of mind mapping at these two schools Perins Community, Alresford, Hampshire http://www.ajwilcox.clara.co.uk/Perins/ and Wildern School, Hedge End http://www.ajwilcox.clara.co.uk/Wildern/ . My goodness that was back in 2002!

    Even with the above evidence, I agree with your statement “it is still relatively little used in schools”. This is clearly evidenced by my three children now in their late teens and early twenties who attended Perins. The eldest covered his walls with mind maps to revise for his exams and is engineer. The middle one lost the plot but could have been encouraged to recover by mind mapping. The youngest is a lister and planner but tends towards the myopic at times. Of course their father has failed to transfer the skills but you know how kids can reject their parents best attributes! They will not touch the software with a barge pole.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Reply
  11. Fredrik Pedersen Dambo

    You say a lot in few words. I like your article and mind map very much! I look forward to read part 2.

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