Various programs help you map concepts, design flowcharts and plan our writing. Mind mapping (or concept mapping) involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas which radiate out from the center. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.
A particular type of mind map is a flow chart that organizes material in a logical sequence.
Mind mapping tools are available for free or for purchase. For example Inspiration is one of the best on the market and they do allow a free 30 day trial before purchase. You will also find other applications that are free to use.
An number of advantages of mind maps have been identified:
- Mind maps work the way the brain works — which is not in nice neat lines.
- Memory is naturally associative, not linear. Any idea probably has thousands of links in your mind. Mind maps allow associations and links to be recorded and reinforced.
- The mind remembers key words and images, not sentences — try recalling just one sentence from memory! Mind maps use just key words and key images, allowing a lot more information to be put on a page.
- Because mind maps are more visual and depict associations between key words, they are much easier to recall than linear notes. (For example, although you may not have studied it in depth, see how much of the Home Mind Map of this site you can recall in your mind’s eye.)
- Starting from the center of the page rather than top-left corner allows you to work out in all directions.
- The organization of a mind map reflects the way your own brain organizes ideas.
- Mind maps are easy to review. Regular review reinforces memory. Best is to try reviewing in your imagination first, then go back and check on those areas that were hazy.
Source: Peter Russel