What Is Mind Mapping? (And How To Use It For Studying)
Mind mapping is a way of representing information and relationships visually. Information is presented in the form of a “mind map,” a type of spider diagram. The information is organized radially around a core concept.
Mind mapping has been proven useful for memorization and learning, especially for students.
In this brief article, we will explore why and when you should deploy mind mapping as a learning tool. We will teach you how it can be a better way to retain and recall information.
Lastly, we will show you how to build a mind map.
Why should you use mind mapping?
Mind mapping is not just a memory tool; it can also be helpful in other applications such as creative thinking and brainstorming.
We’ll explore some ways mind mapping can help you improve creative productivity.
Boosts creative thinking
Mind maps are exceptional at helping you visualize information in spatial orientation. Visualization of this sort can make it easier to process information to draw inspiration and ideas from something.
The spatial arrangement of information is much more familiar to your brain. Our natural thought process is fairly comparable to a mind map.
Studies have demonstrated that mind mapping software can improve students’ ability to generate and visualize ideas. It can also encourage creative thinking and speed along the process of idea generation.
Other studies have shown that children rely on visualization as the link to a concept before they learn a language. Once they are taught to write linearly, this creative flexibility diminishes. Visual learning using pictures in a mind map can help keep that creativity polished.
Mind maps improve memory retention and recall allowing you to remember things quickly and for longer.
A study in 2002 found it to be a better way of retaining factual information in the long term, especially for written material. In medical students, mind mapping improved long-term memory by 10 percent.
Glass and Holyoak found that the “chunking” of information allows for more efficient use of storage space. Our short-term memory can only store seven objects at a time on average. But we can store 7 “chunks” of information, with multiple objects in each chunk.
Improves teaching and learning
The association between keywords, phrases, and images helps students structure their essays better.
Moreover, it can be an excellent tool for revising already memorized information. Mind mapping helps in memory formation and retention in the classroom as well.
Research shows that it can make learning fun for students due to the creative freedom that comes with using your imagination in forming a mind map!
Planning and organization
Making a mind map of your assignment or project is an easy way to put your thoughts in order.
According to a study, once mind maps were drawn, students exhibited better coherence and structuring. This eventually added to a better quality of work.
Better problem solving
Mind mapping can lead to better critical thinking and decision-making. Not having to stay limited to a rigid structure can allow you to integrate new data into your mind map.
Mueller et al. (2002) studied the use of mind maps in Front Range Community College to plan patient care. He observed improved thinking skills and a better planning strategy by placing the patient at the center of the mind map.
How can mind mapping help you study?
It helps improve word association, analytical and critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
The benefits can be better observed by comparing it with traditional note-taking.
Mind mapping vs. traditional note-taking
Linear note-taking is simple, systematic, and relatively easy to do. On the other hand, mind mapping is more creative with the information in a “cloud” around one core concept.
This representation allows for better performance in areas where memory is concerned.
On top of that, the layout of mind maps has been shown to:
- boost creativity
- improve student enthusiasm
- and help along the thinking process.
How to build a mind map (5 steps + useful tips)
If you are looking to build a mind map, we have compiled a list of basic instructions.
1. Establish a core idea
Establish a single core idea around which your mind map will revolve. Choose different colors for different types of keywords and phrases on your mind map.
2. Branch out from the core idea
Once you have put down your core idea, branch out to themes. Go from themes that are the most relevant to the least relevant.
You can keep on branching out for as long as you want to, especially if you’re creating your mind map digitally.
It becomes easier along the way to add and incorporate more elements into your idea. This also helps you draw inspiration from different sources.
3. Add keywords
Try to use keywords instead of phrases. Keywords are less specific than phrases and they will allow you to look at your ideas from different perspectives.
It’s also a great way to remember information if you are creating a mind map for the sake of note-taking.
4. Color code your mind map
Color coding is an easy way to better classify and organize your mind map. When you use different colors for different themes, the visual association can help you find what you’re looking for rather efficiently.
5. Use images
You can also use images to create a strong visual association between ideas. This is useful when creating a mind map to remember information better. You can also use images to declutter and organize your mind map.
Tips for creating the perfect mind map
Now that you know how to create your mind map, here are some tips that will be useful in making your mind map even better!
Mind maps are handy tools, but they are not always necessary. Make sure that a mind map is well suited to your needs – sometimes, you may benefit more from linear note-taking.
Moreover, a simple mind map will be easy enough to draw on paper. But if you think your mind map will be intricate and complex, it is easier to use an online mind mapping tool (it’s greener too!).
Lastly, if you’re using mind mapping for creative purposes, do not rush the process. Take ample time to explore each new aspect.
Mind mapping is a valuable tool for note-taking and the creative process. If employed appropriately, it can do wonders for learning and memory and help speed along with brainstorming.
It helps get the creative juices flowing while doing wonders for your productivity.
If you are looking to employ mind mapping to improve learning and knowledge retention, check out Iris Reading’s personal productivity course!
This speed reading tool will help further boost your creativity.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start working on a mind map right now!