The mind map as a learning aid

A word in the middle of the sheet makes the beginning. From there, several lines branch out and connect further concepts combined with pictures, symbols and colors to form a tree-like structure.

Finally a picture is created, which is similar to a Map a map of the thoughts that are still buzzing around in your head. Or, as its inventor Tony Buzan called it at the end of the 1960s: a mindmap.

This is what you will learn in this article

Learning with the mind map

Mindmaps have long been a supplement at schools to the Spectrum of teaching techniques. Similar to brainstorming, terms are searched for that are associated with a main topic or. associated with it. While these terms are only collected during brainstorming, the creation of a mind map is also about the Structure of the found words. In this way, the students can create a Overview provide and recognize connections.

How to create a mind map from unsorted thoughts

No matter for which purpose the mindmap is created, the rules of the game are pretty much the same.

In general: A mind map does not necessarily have to be beautiful. It also does not follow a fixed, uniform scheme. Everyone is allowed to develop their own mind map style. The following points should therefore be seen more as recommendations.

1. Writing pad

The best way is an unlined, white or colored sheet of paper (colorful documents are supposed to stimulate creativity) in DIN A4 or larger suitable, which the "mindmappers" in the Landscape format in front of you.

If you want the students to present the results to the class later, it is best to provide them with large posters or transparencies for the overhead projector. If the whole class works on the mind map together, the blackboard is of course also a suitable medium.

In the meantime there are also Programs for making mind maps on the computer. Whether paper or computer is a matter of taste. Paper has the advantage that there are no technical restrictions on creativity and that we can remember handwritten and drawn material a little better. On the site of the University of Potsdam there is a great overview about the different mindmapping tools.

2. Labeling

When noting down the thoughts, the writing pad becomes the not rotated – this makes it easier to read later. Many label the mind map in the Clockwise, starting at 12.

3. design

Any available means may be used for the design. Colors are explicitly desired: You can use z. B. related or opposing terms or branches are marked or important things are emphasized. The colors should also appeal to our brain and facilitate remembering.

    • Highlighting: By the strength of the branches, underlining or frames the meaning of the terms can be shown. For a better clarity it makes sense to write the categories in capital letters.
    • Images and symbols: If terms are linked with pictures, it is easier for us to remember the content of the mind map. They make well-filled mindmaps clearer, because a picture or symbol draws the eye and makes it immediately clear what is meant.
    • Insertions: Arrows can also make connections or conclusions visible later on. In the same way, numbering the branches makes it possible to show their order, if it was not possible to estimate it when making the mind map.

    4. Central topic

    For example in the Center of the sheet the topic is noted, around which the thoughts are to turn now. In any case it should catch the eye immediately.
    Frames, thick font or a drawn representation of the term make it stand out.

    5. Branches

    From the main topic, there are now branches with terms that the students associate with the main topic and assign to it. Directly adjacent to the main topic are the branches with the most important Key terms The key words are the main categories, so to speak, which are noted in writing or pictures.

    The branches are always as long as the word written on them. The main lines are thicker, side branches thinner. From there, the mind map branches out further and more terms are assigned to the categories, etc. The lines are usually read from the center (sometimes the opposite way also makes sense), connecting arrows also show connections.

    mindmapping as a learning aid

    Mindmaps are particularly popular z. B.

      • when working on new topics,
      • the Preparation of presentations and Presentations,
      • the Project work or
      • the Structuring complex texts.

      In the spirit of the inventor Tony Buzan, mind maps can also be used wonderfully as a Learning aid be used! Book and notebook entries still have to be learned, of course, but the transfer of knowledge into a mind map brings convincing advantages:

        • Gaining an overview: When creating a mind map, students are forced to figure out how to bring structure to the material they are learning. To do this, they must always first get an overview of the entire learning topic. This in turn helps to understand the topic better.
        • individual learning: In his mindmap, each student can present the learning topic in the way that makes the most sense to him.
          Not only does he learn by rote, but he also has to think about how aspects of the topic can be broken down to one word, how to place and shape it in the overall context of his mind map. This means that students have to recognize what is important and how to name it correctly.
        • notice gaps and recognize connections: Another advantage of structuring is that students notice knowledge gaps and also connections between different aspects of the topic more easily. Because many things only become obvious when you have the entire topic in view.
        • Visualizing complex and interconnected topics: Mindmapping can show its strengths especially with complex, unclear topics and texts. On the map everything superfluous must be omitted, complex things are reduced to the essentials. By hierarchizing, grouping and showing connections, the content becomes more catchy.
        • Easier to remember: And finally, it is easy to remember terms and contexts noted on a mind map.
          Whether this is due to the fact that learning with the mind map is more "brain-friendly", since both brain hemispheres are addressed by writing, colors and picture, as a hypothesis of Tony Buzan states, or whether the more intensive occupation and the fun with the creative, colorful, associative design of the map is to blame (or both), remains unanswered and is basically also not so important – the main thing is that it works :)

        It certainly requires some Exercise, until students can quickly create mind maps that depict the learning material well. An important prerequisite for this is also good text comprehension and reading strategies. But if this is given, your students have a tool at hand with the mind map that enables them to get an overview of complex topics and texts quickly, to structure the contents and to work through them clearly.

        Frequently asked questions about mind maps

        What is a mind map?

        A mind map is a graphical representation of thoughts on a central topic. By arranging topics into main categories and subcategories, which are connected by lines, students can structure and clearly arrange topics. Connections become easier to recognize.

        How do I create a mind map??

        Mindmaps can be written down by hand on a pad or created with the help of computer programs. In the middle is the central theme. From this, the most important related keywords are written on lines. Further lines with subordinate terms can branch off from these, so that the representation becomes more and more ramified. With the help of colors and markers, the mind map can be made clearer.

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