The role of mind mapping in education
By: Grace Godwin
Mind mapping in education is an effective tool for students and educators seeking to maximize the learning experience. But what exactly is a mind map, and how can it benefit students and teachers? A mind map is a learning tool that allows users to create and share visual representations of things like lectures, notes, and research. In fact, mind mapping in education is useful for a wide variety of tasks, and can be easily tailored to the user’s needs.
The benefits of mind mapping in education
The benefits of mind mapping in education are endless; teachers can significantly improve their lectures, and students can better understand and retain knowledge in a way that suits their specific needs.
Most educators use white boards and PowerPoint presentations for lectures, but not everyone is equipped to learn this way. Incorporating mind mapping in education combines aspects of both—it allows teachers to improve their presentations through visual software. This is particularly important when you consider that more than half of the population consists of visual learners, so it is necessary that educators employ the proper tools in their teaching methods.
Creating a mind map is more than just a useful tool for learning—it is also a lot of fun!
For many teachers and administrators, gathering and forming plans and ideas for faculty and students can be tedious. It often requires multiple documents, charts, and links that do not fit on a single page. Lessons and presentations typically require multiple media outlets, with teachers switching back and forth from presentations to documents to videos. This can be confusing to students, stressful on teachers, and ultimately create more work than is required.
Mind mapping is an attractive solution to this by confining lesson information into one space. Not to mention, the visual platform is beneficial for students as well. Students can better comprehend the topics at hand as a result of mind mapping’s visual nature. Teachers can create thorough lesson plans, present them from one central platform, and easily share them with students.
Mind maps help student grasp complex topics and ideas
Many students struggle to find study habits that work for them. In reality, conventional methods, such as reading and taking notes, serve only a small number of us. For those seeking alternative and more effective methods, mind mapping is ideal.
Mind mapping software like MindManager is easy to navigate, and the act of building out a mind map is critical in helping students understand complex topics, structure, and the big picture. Our brains need active and multisensory engagement in order to fully understand and acquire knowledge. It’s no wonder that many students have a hard time learning and memorizing information with standard learning tools, which tackle information in a linear and one-dimensional way.
When students use mind maps as a study or learning tool, they are able grasp the concepts more easily because they are integrating themselves into the learning process. It is similar to the act of studying, reiterating, and explaining information to a partner. As students build out a mind map, their brain is forced to make associations between various pieces of seemingly disconnected information. In the end, this helps students develop a clearer and more complete picture of a topic or concept.
Studying with mind maps leads to better information retention
Students of any age or field are surely familiar with the feeling of information overload, and the stress caused by racking their brain to remember a concept later. Mind maps provide a solution to this—rather than having excess knowledge stored in our heads with little to tie it all together, this platform gives us the tools to help the information actually make sense.
Our brains operate in an unorganized and complex fashion, so why should our working processes be any different? Mind maps allow students to fully engage in the topics at hand. By using information visualization and outlining the relationships between ideas, mind maps mirror the way our brains actually work.
In other words, mind mapping software serves to link our end goals with our current thought processes. Sometimes, things can get complicated, especially for those of us with ADD and other learning disabilities. Oftentimes, our thoughts are all over the place and when our brains are working overtime to solve a problem, it creates stress and confusion. We can’t get our thoughts on paper fast enough, and we fail communicate them in a way that ourselves and others can best understand.
Mind maps can provide a solution to these issues, which can help students achieve better results both in academics and later in life.
Mind mapping as a tool for academic research
Mind maps are also useful at a post-secondary level, where professors and students rely on more in-depth research and information analysis as part of their teaching and learning. Research can be complex, messy, and difficult to organize in a comprehensive way. Important details can get left out, especially when dealing with a large number of documents and sources.
Mind maps help professors and students capitalize on their research and action it in a way that benefits both them and the wider education community.
With mind mapping software, professors and students are able to look at the big picture while still maintaining the small bits of information necessary in their research. Main ideas can remain the focal point of the map, while branching off into smaller related topics with embedded files and links. This makes research a more enjoyable and efficient process, and it lets the user bring everything together into one space.
When the research is ready to be transformed into a presentation or lesson plan, the user only needs to re-organize their existing mind map. Then, they can either present their findings directly from the mind map, or export it to a platform like Word or PowerPoint.
For example, here’s a mind map that helps students organize the different steps to writing a report. This includes using mind map topics to define the topic and goals, and subtopics to keep track of research information.
MindManager for the education sector: a growing trend
MindManager contains more than 50 different starting templates that users can customize and build upon to meet their needs. Topics and information are represented by shapes the user chooses, and related ideas are expressed through boundaries, relationships, and call-outs.
Every mind map will look different—the colors, shapes, icons, and information all depends on the user’s objective. Data and links can be neatly embedded into topic points for quick access. As mind maps grow, they become a platform for reviewing, gathering, and making sense of information.
It’s easy to see why MindManager is a perfect tool for education. Between its ability to gather information quickly, organize it into easy-to-understand visual diagrams, and continuously build upon and manipulate information, MindManager is ideal for students as they learn complex topics.
MindManager helps to emphasize the overarching idea that you want to communicate without sacrificing the small ideas along the way. It lets you take the wheel and guide your information in a way that is easier for you or your audience to comprehend. The conventional way of researching and teaching will seem almost archaic once you have experienced the benefits of mind mapping in education first hand.
Because of these possibilities, mind mapping software is gaining traction in schools and businesses around the globe for both personal and professional use. Students who use mind maps to gather, process, and present information during their school careers are more likely to continue this trend into the workplace.
About the Author: Grace is an intern with Corel Corporation, and a college senior currently working towards completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She has a strong passion for writing and market research, and has joined the Corel team on a part-time basis to contribute to the MindManager Blog.