How to do a Mind Map
The human brain is very different from a computer. Whereas a computer works in a linear fashion, the brain works associatively as well as linearly – comparing, integrating and synthesizing as it goes.Association plays a dominant role in nearly every mental function, and words themselves are no exception. Every single word, and idea has numerous links attaching it to other ideas and concepts.
Mind Maps™, developed by Tony Buzan are an effective method of note-taking and useful for the generation of ideas by associations. To make a mind map, one starts in the center of the page with the main idea, and works outward in all directions, producing a growing and organized structure composed of key words and key images. Key features are:
- Key Words
- Visual Memory – Print the key words, use color, symbols, icons, 3D-effects,arrows and outlining groups of words
- Outstandingness – every Mind Map needs a unique center
- Conscious involvement
Mind mapping (or concept mapping) involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas which radiate out from the centre. By focussing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.
Use lines, colours, arrows, branches or some other way of showing connections between the ideas generated on your mind map. These relationships may be important in you understanding new information or in constructing a structured essay plan. By personalising the map with your own symbols and designs you will be constructing visual and meaningful relationships between ideas which will assist in your recall and understanding.
All of these things promote linear thinking and the idea of mind mapping is to think creatively and in a non-linear manner. There will be plenty of time for modifying the information later on but at this stage it is important to get every possibility into the mind map. Sometimes it is one of those obscure possibilities that may become the key to your knowledge of a topic.
Some students find that using capital letters encourages them to get down only the key points. Capitals are also easier to read in a diagram. You may, however, wish to write down some explanatory notes in lower case. Some students do this when they revisit the mind map at a later date while others write in such things as assessment criteria in this way.
Most students find it useful to turn their page on the side and do a mind map in “landscape” style. With the main idea or topic in the middle of the page this gives the maximum space for other ideas to radiate out from the centre.
Some of the most useful mind maps are those which are added to over a period of time. After the initial drawing of the mind map you may wish to highlight things, add information or add questions for the duration of a subject right up until exam time. For this reason it is a good idea to leave lots of space.
See sample mind maps http://mappio.com/