Think you know how to mind map? Think again!
Mind mapping is a force to be reckoned with, and if used correctly it can have a gloriously positive effect on your academic achievement, attitude, and memory retention. But used poorly, it can cost you a load of time and energy you don’t have.
In fact, mind mapping is so good that it’s been proven to boost memory retention! According to a study analysing the impact of using mind mapping on medical students from the Queen Mary University of London Medical School, the use of mind maps helped boost retention by 10-15%. So, it’s probably no surprise to hear that visual aids have been found to improve learning by approximately 65% too.* And, did you also know we can process visuals a whopping 60,000 times faster than text?!
What is mind mapping?
Mind mapping is a powerful technique to help you visually develop or organise ideas, thoughts and information. Principally, mind mapping is a combination of images, keywords or phrases and colour in a visual-spatial arrangement. And this technique can significantly improve knowledge recall, especially compared to traditional methods of note taking and learning. Mind maps can also help you understand and make sense of complex information by breaking it down into smaller and more manageable and comprehensible chunks.
How to map!
There is a right way and a wrong way to mind map, you say?
Yes, there is! We will now highlight the four most important steps to creating an effective mind map.
(A little word of warning here though: have you heard the saying ‘less is more’? Don’t go too crazy with colour and pictures. Firstly, you can end up spending all of your study time decorating your mind map and secondly, it could become too difficult to absorb the information if its overly arty. So, limit yourself to just a handful of colours and images, and only where they add value.)
We have also heard the above four steps described as: Chunking, Organise, Connect, Doodle
This can help you remember these four important steps to creating the ultimate mind map. Mind mapping like this will save you time and ensure you learn in the most efficient and effective way.
What does an effective mind map look like?
Usually, you will have one central topic with, as many or as few as you like, connecting branches coming off it. (Concept maps usually show multiple complex ideas).
While you previously may have created mind maps the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, in this very digital world, there are ways of creating digital maps with software like Inspiration 10 to help make the process and ‘art’ of mapping even simpler, quicker, and easier to look at.
The brilliant thing about mapping online, with software, is that its easier and more efficient and you can even include hyperlinks for associated learning/information and drop-down notes for additional facts.
You can also arrange and rearrange your branches as you go, as ideas and notes begin to connect to others; not so simple or visually appealing with a rubber or Tipp-Ex! However you choose to mind map, the overarching aim is the same: to improve learning, planning and thinking.
A little light history
Inspiration is an approved product for the Disabled Student Allowance and Access to Work.