How Mind Maps Can Help Your Goals and Learning
I love mind maps. Not only do they give me a creative outlet, but they give me a better way to conceptualize ideas and study various topics.
This article won’t be a tutorial on mind maps. Rather, this article discusses how mind maps can help you with your goals and your learning. If you’re not sure of what mind mapping is, I would suggest visiting this site first before continuing: https://www.mindmapping.com.
What’s great about mind mapping is you don’t need software to create maps unless you want to use it. You can use good old-fashioned paper and colored writing instruments. When I’m brainstorming a work-related task such as planning out a business or understanding system relationships, I use a software tool called XMind (https://www.xmind.net). When I’m studying, I’ll use paper and markers, which helps me get a better grasp of the topic.
Most people write their goals in a list. Lists are useful if you need to keep track of what you’re going to do today, but for the long term, like a career or life goal, seeing the goals in a vibrant illustration can help inspire you to achieve those goals. If you’re on social media, you see people post different quotes all the time. Which ones get the most reaction – the person who just writes the quote in their status, or the person who posts an image or illustration that contains the quote? More often than not, it’s the person who posted the image. The same concept works with goals. Which one is going to motivate you to achieve your career or life goal more – a written list, or an illustration?
Illustrating the goals in the mind map also inspires brainstorming versus a list. By seeing our goals in a map with pictures and words, it helps inspire more ideas versus just seeing the words.
You don’t have to limit using mind maps for personal goals. You can also use these for business goals. Whether you’re plotting out a brand new website navigation, or you’re trying to map out operational processes, mind maps help organize the information in a visual layout to help encourage brainstorming (for new projects) or ensure that nothing is missed (for processes).
Here’s an example of using a mind map: One of my passions is to provide nutritional and exercise information for people with limited mobility. I had a soft launch of a website and channel, and based on the launch, I know that I need to do more. Instead of trying to write everything in a list, I did a mind map using XMind. Note that I don’t have everything on this map, but I have enough to illustrate how it looks.
We take notes during lectures. We highlight passages in our book. We may even make flashcards to help us memorize topics and vocabulary. Mind maps take it a stage further. It utilizes our natural human ability to learn better through pictures over words. The combination of pictures and words helps improve learning and memory by 10-15% over conventional note taking and studying techniques.
Here’s an example: I’m working on increasing my fluency in Spanish. Knowing what tense to use and how to conjugate requires memorization. I like to use songs, but sometimes I need to see the text. Using paper and markers, I drew a mind map of the imperfect tense, a past tense to use when talking about things that one “used to do”. I needed to know when to use it, how to conjugate the verbs, and how to conjugate the verbs that don’t follow the regular pattern.
Numerous research projects prove that we learn better through pictures rather than words. The Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) did a study with patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, and they found that the patient recognizes topics and subjects better with a picture versus with a word or words.
If you’re interested in seeing the more scientific explanation of how humans remember better with pictures than with words, I referenced some of the studies in this post under Additional Materials.
Ready to learn more about the topic? Here are additional materials covering the topics in this article:
5 Ways to Achieve Your Goals Using Mind Mapping, by Simon Paterson https://www.business2community.com/strategy/5-ways-achieve-goals-using-mind-mapping-0624489
How to Mind Map for Study Success, By Dr. Jane Genovese https://learningfundamentals.com.au/blog/how-to-mind-map/
The Efficacy of the ‘Mind Map’ Study Technique, Paul Farrand, Fearzana Hussain, Enid Hennessy https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01205.x
Neural Correlates of the Episodic Encoding of Pictures and Words, Cheryl Grady, Anthony McIntosh, M. Natasha Rajah, Fergus Craik http://www.pnas.org/content/95/5/2703Follow Me on Social Media