Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MINDMAPPING - DESCRIPTION & TOOLS

What is MindMapping?

Stated simply, mindmapping is a technique that uses graphics and text tied together in an effort to increase improve your retention and idea generating capabilities.  I know – it sounds like a really “big ask” but bizarrely enough it works!

Brainstorming & Studies

An extremely useful tool from a brainstorming perspective, having a mind map on the board and multiple parties “throwing” ideas to link to/from that map makes for a very interactive and useful exercise.
Having a simple picture with all the different links to and from it makes it really easy to see some relationships that you wouldn’t have guessed at also to see some extra links that can take you in many different directions.
While the research is still out on its actual impact with regards to study notes, there have been studies that demonstrate a significant impact on memory recall.  As with most forms of studying, the act of writing things down improves retention vs. just listening.  If you follow all of the mindmapping guidelines and use images to represent ideas with colour also, this is only further enhanced.

History

While ancient in scope and concept (Aristotle for example used them!) they were reinvented in their modern form by British psychology auther – Tony Buzan.

Format

A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added.  Linked to this are other tasks or items that are related to the previous item in a hierarchical fashion.  By arranging the elements intuitively according to their relative importance it is easy to quickly branch out from the initial (main) point into lots of previously unexplored and unexpected avenues.

Tools

Visio (owned by Microsoft) has a good mind mapping module built in.
MindManager by Mindjet is another commercial application that is extremely powerful.
FreeMind is a free downloadable Mind Mapping Software program. As the name implies this is a free application and one that is extremely user friendly and intuitive.
Bubbl.us - If your company restricts access to downloadable applications, I would suggest you try a program called bubbl.us – available for use and access online, it is not as pretty as FreeMind, however the fact that you can access it anywhere you can access the Internet is a plus in itself. Currently in beta it is also a free program. You can access it here.


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