Using Mind Maps to Enhance Learning

Using Mind Maps to Enhance Learning

Using Mind Maps to Enhance Learning

Mind maps are like conceptual models. Before one actually constructs and arrives at the formulation of a design, it is vital and mandatory to make a thorough scrutiny of every detail that contributes to the final design. Sometimes, we arrive at a complex solution but with simple steps to follow. But, many times one encounters several complexities in order to arrive at a simple solution. In such cases, mind mapping provides clarity and adds definition to every detail. It makes sure that the minutest detail is not overlooked.

Mind mapping can be put to use effectively for:

  • Education (studying and memorizing)
  • Group mind mapping
  • Workshops
  • Note taking
  • Creativity
  • Creative problem-solving

Mind maps are usually drawn to suit an individual’s brain as to its functioning and thought process. However, mind mapping is an excellent vehicle for effective training purposes and team working. There are quite a few different ways in which mind maps can be used by groups. A simplistic method or means of using mind maps is called Brain Blooming.

Brain blooming is an alternative to the process of Brainstorming. It involves capturing of individual thoughts and then blending them with thoughts of others within a group. All individual ideas and notions are given equal value. Mind mapping for effective training is improvised further by involving the discussion of Basic Ordering Ideas or BOIs of every individual.

Basic ordering ideas are the initial concepts with which a host of main concepts can be structured. There are a number of different ways to work with the BOIs:

  • Agreeing to work on BOIs on individual mind maps before combining with the others in the group would help ease the blend later. However, this may put a ceiling on creative senses.
  • In order to promote different perspectives and approaches, it is not advisable to discuss BOIs ahead of time.
  • It is very essential to facilitate enough time in order to accommodate everyone’s ideas.

Brain blooming is effective as it enlarges all the individual and group mind maps into one large mind map which makes sure that everyone feels his or her individual BOI is included. For those ideas that stand out of the box are also branched out under a separate ‘Miscellaneous’ album.

Advantages of group mind mapping:

  • Every individual has enough time to think and produce his or her ideas.
  • Equal value is been given to every idea and the basic ordering ideas that lead to secondary and tertiary concepts are considered and shared equally.
  • Instead of eliminating ideas, they are grouped into different branches and assembled on the main theme branches.

Thus mind mapping, through the process of Brain Blooming, enjoys a lot of important advantages over the process of brainstorming. It is an absolutely fascinating and rich way of achieving clarity as every little step helps engage an individual’s brain.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

View presentation on Ways To Run An Effective Brainstorming Session

  • I love the phrase Brain Blooming – never heard it before but it’s very apt and descriptive!

    I use mind maps to plan out training courses, my training notes easily fit into one A4 sized mind map. Sometimes I use them to illustrate the course programme or the plan for the day – and send them out to participants. Much more interesting than a list of bullet points.

    I regularly encourage participants to record the findings of their small group work on a mind map, or as a review activity they develop a mind map (in small groups) capturing all of the key points and their learning. In one to one coaching sessions I have used mindmaps to support the client create a plan – this has worked well and seems to encourage really creative thinking and ideas often just flow. So many uses – and they are pretty to look at!

  • I’ve used concept maps with high school students, as well as undergrad and grad students, in f2f and fully online courses. The methodology doesn’t really change much whether in f2f or online environments, except for the tools I have the students use to generate the cmaps. I’ve also used cmaps as a research data collection tool.

    Most frequently I have students create their own cmaps (using paper, the cmap tool -available from , SmartIdeas or Inspiration) based on a single term or phrase at the beginning and end of a course or unit, and at a variety of points within. This creates a series of snapshots of how the students think about the topic. The cmaps will vary according to their thinking and the priorities they perceive. At some point towards the end of the course, I require the students to do a meta-analysis of the cmaps they produced. The basic gist of the task is to note the changes that have occurred and to have the students reconstruct what caused them to change. It is interesting to note that the causative factors may arise from outside of the course as well as from inside the course activities.

    Using cmaps for research purposes is an extension of this but I employ a more rigorous analysis based on the work of Hay and Kinchin. See below:
    Hay, D.B. (2007). Using concept maps to measure deep, surface and non-learning outcomes. Studies in Higher Education, 32(1), 39-57.

    Hay, D.B. & Kinchin, I.M. (2006). Using concept maps to reveal conceptual typologies.
    Education + Training, 48 (2/3), 127-142.

    Hay, D. & Kinchin, I. (2008). Using concept mapping to measure learning quality. Education + Training, 50(2), 167-182.

    Hay, D.B., Wells, H. & Kinchin, I.M. (2008). Quantitative and qualitative measures of student learning at university level. Higher Education, 56, 221-239.

    Kinchin, I.M. & Hay, D.B. (2000). How a qualitative approach to concept map analysis can be used to aid learning by illustrating patterns of conceptual development. Educational Research, 42(1), 43-57.