Mind Maps – The ID of a Celebrity
You’ve heard about them! You may have even seen them! But you had no idea about all the advantages they give! The StudySmarter Magazine is proud to present a scoop on the advantages of mind-mapping methods! And just so you wouldn’t say we’re biased (although we absolutely are), we will spill the tea on mind maps’ dirty laundry, too!
But first things first:
Name: mind maps
Date of birth: late 1960s
Family: Tony Buzan (father); other relatives unknown
Place of origin: Oxford, England (big shocker there)
Active since: 1960s – present – future – forever
OK, just to clear the air, mind maps were not really created by Tony Buzan; he just took the credit for creating the term and identifying its purpose of organising and revising materials more efficiently and satisfactorily.
Simply put, mind maps, as a visual tool, employ colours, images, and the hierarchical organisation of information to boost memorisation and creativity when studying.
Mind maps are based on a simple idea: you place a keyword at the centre of the paper and create sub-branches connected to the key concept.
This visual representation allows for a quick generation of ideas because you don’t have to think about where exactly you’ll put them and how they’ll fit the final notion – you just pick a spot, jot the ideas down, and connect them to the principal, overarching idea.
You can use multiple colours to give your memory an extra boost, as well as pictures, sticky notes, doodles, or anything that you associate with the concept you’re mapping.
The Many Advantages of Using the Mind Mapping Method
Mind maps are usually popular in three distinct settings:
- personal development
The basic idea is the same: the central theme sits in the middle of the page while the others are scattered, connected by colourful lines, arrows, or dots. For example, if you’re in a meeting and can’t manage to take detailed minutes, you can start jotting down key ideas and organising hierarchies among them.
The whole point of a mind map is that when you get back to it, you are able to remember all the details. Efficient and far less tedious than simple note-taking, mind maps are a fantastic way to learn.
Advantages of Mind-Mapping for Students
The popularised image of mind maps with central and tributary ideas on paper was initially created and promoted as the best learning tool, and we, here, are quite convinced by it (although the StudySmarter app is probably the best learning tool these days 😉). Some of the most convincing arguments in favour of mind mapping include:
- Boosting creative thinking. If you need to develop an idea for a term paper or a project, mind maps are a great way to get there. The visual organisation of knowledge promotes your creative faculties and helps you generate ideas faster.
- Help retaining information better. When you put effort into creating a mind map out of the materials you are studying from, you actively engage with them, which, in turn, helps you remember things better.
- Increased productivity. Organising your thoughts into a colourful, insightful diagram inspires further learning as you can see the product of your efforts almost instantly.
- Time-effective revision. Need to revise hundreds of pages before an exam? Mind maps will save you a lot of time because they are so easily digestible and focused on visible keywords instead of blocks of text.
- Breaking down complex concepts. Mind maps are an excellent way to analyse more complicated matters because you can split these matters into related chunks and explore the relationship among them using colours, images, and sub-branches of the hierarchy.
And another bonus advantage: You don’t need anything fancy to create a mindmap – just some good old paper and coloured pens/highlighters will do the trick. But because we no longer live in the 1990s, you do, of course, have the option to create online mind maps with some seriously cool apps.
Prefer the Screen? The Advantages of Using Computer Mind Maps
If you don’t have enough colouring pens at hand, but you’ve got your phone or notebook with you (I mean, OF COURSE, you’ll have your phone😉), you can benefit greatly from computer-powered mind maps. Here are some of the pros of using mind map software:
- You can always add more information. Any mind map software usually allows you to add more information or collapsible menus where you can specify your ideas without worrying about space.
- Adding pictures or documents is a breeze. You don’t have to be da Vinci to doodle on your paper mind maps, but making one on a computer opens up a world of possibilities in terms of visual content. The internet is full of memes, charts, and pictures covering any topics to help you remember things.
- There are no space limits. Apps for mind maps don’t have the tiny A3/A4 layout where you have to worry about what fits and what doesn’t. You can simply create and let your maps grow as much as they need to.
- Say goodbye to bad handwriting. Sometimes you’ll be in a rush and scribble ideas down only to be left wondering what in the name of god you’d wanted to say. Apps will take care of the legibility of your notes for you instead.
- They are easy to rearrange. Changed your mind? No problem, just drag your sub-hierarchy elsewhere or even erase it at will. That’s a feature paper, and pen cannot compete with!
We Mentioned Mind Map Advantages and Disadvantages
… and we are an honest crowd here, so I will let you in on a secret. There are some cons to the traditional mind map method.
- It can get messy. If you’re a prolific mind-mapper or an absolute beginner, your maps might get messy quickly. You either have too many ideas that don’t fit the page anymore, or your initial organisational method no longer works, which means you have to make another one.
- Time-consuming. Especially if you have to redo them. Mind maps can take a lot of time to organise and plan out when you’re dealing with more complicated concepts. On the other hand, they can become distracting if you get inspired to doodle, sketch, or draw around your concepts or spend a lot of time looking for and/or printing specific pictures.
- Not informational enough. Sometimes information gets lost in a mind map. You have no space, your sticky notes decide to unstick themselves, or you can’t read your handwriting. But let’s face it, this happens with any note-taking, too.
- They require lots of work. To get the most out of mind mapping, you should put some work into it. Simple brainstorming maps are fine and doable, but if you wish to use the mind map for revising a hefty textbook, you must give it more time. This includes planning how you will organise information, determining colour-coding, and remembering what each sub-branch, sketch, or symbol means.
However, there are simple solutions to most of those issues: practice makes perfect, and with time, your maps will be more orderly and efficient.
That’s NOT All, Folks! Advantages of Mind Mapping as a Planning Tool in Meetings
If time constraints are a big foe of yours, mind maps can help you there too. Whether you’re working in a team or planning a project on your own, the chances are that you’ll get faster results with mind maps than with simple pen and paper.
Mind maps as a planning tool (for online and offline meetings) offer much greater flexibility and adaptability. You don’t need to squeeze things in anymore – you just need another branch for another part of the plan.
Mind maps also promote cooperation as mind-mapping in a group invites more freedom in providing input. With mind mapping, you don’t have to weigh each contribution before placing it somewhere or dismissing it; instead, you can just add another layer to the hierarchy. Mind maps are also more transparent as everyone knows exactly what is happening.
Once the brainstorming session is over, all branches are visible, and it’s easier to organise them into a concrete plan. Lastly, using mind maps as a planning tool also makes it easier for all participants to copy and have their own version.
Finding Your Own Mind Map Success
Mind maps can be super versatile – you can literally do anything from simple notes connected to the central idea to 3D maps with notes, origami, and figurines sticking out of them. If you’re considering starting your own mind mapping journey, remember that mind maps are
- highly flexible,
- great for boosting creativity and productivity,
- an amazing tool for better memorisation, and
- useful for planning sessions.
So, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to get your mind mapping on right away!😊