The following is a guest post from Philip Ellis of Examtime.
The aim of Examtime is simple; they want to improve how students learn. They feel there are ways they can help students engage fully with their subjects, understand more and enhance the learning experience! The blog by Philip Ellis from Examtime is about how mind mapping is used to help organize thoughts and study more effectively. Click for other learning and study tools.
The ‘Laws of Mind Mapping’ were originally devised by Tony Buzan when he codified the use of imagery, colour and association and coined the phrase ‘Mind Mapping’. In the intervening 30 plus years, there have been many variations on the original ‘Mind Map ‘ and the widespread usage of mapping software of various sorts, has dramatically changed what is possible.
The summary below is based on Buzan’s structure (a ‘Mind Mapping, how to’ – details available in his many books) but we believe that whilst this structure is great for establishing well structured maps that can be used in many different ways, variations on these rules or ‘laws’ are often sensible and appropriate – as long as they are based on an understanding of why the laws exist and what they are trying to help the mind mapper to achieve.
The Mind Map above was produced using iMindMap.
|1. Take a blank piece of paper, A4 or larger.||Blank paper allows 360º of freedom to express the full range of your cortical skills, whereas pre-drawn lines restrict the natural flow of your thoughts.|
|2. Use the paper in landscape orientation.||Words and images have more space in the direction we write, so they don’t bump into margins as quickly.|
|3. Start in the centre.||Thoughts start in the centre of our mental world. The Mind Map page reflects this!|
|4. Make a central image that represents the topic about which you are writing/thinking:
||A picture is worth a thousand words. It opens up associations, focuses the thoughts, is
fun and results in better recall:
|5. The main themes around the central image are like the chapter headings of a book:
||The main themes, connected to the central image on the main branches, allow their relative importance to be seen. These are the Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) and aggregate and focus the rest of the Mind Map:
|6. Start to add a second level of thought. These words or images are linked to the main branch that triggered them. Remember:
||Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on:
|7. Add a third or fourth level of data as thoughts come to you:
||Your brain is like a multi-handed thought-ball catcher. The Mind Map allows you to catch and keep whatever ‘thought ball’ is thrown by your brain.|
|8. Add a new dimension to your Mind Map. Boxes add depth around the word or image.||To make some important points stand out.|
|9. Sometimes enclose branches of a Mind Map with outlines in colour:
||The outlines will create unique shapes as you find in clouds and will aid your memory:
|10. Make each Mind Map a little more:
||Your eyes and brain will be attracted to your Mind Map:
|11. Have fun!Add a little humour, exaggeration or absurdity wherever you can.||Your brain will delight in getting the maximum use and enjoyment from this process and will therefore learn faster, recall more effectively and think more clearly.|