Mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing”.
Mind maps have a long history, dating back to the third century. Great thinkers used graphic designs to diagram various concepts, words and ideas that related to a central thought. Mind maps are a visual method for recording thoughts and related ideas graphically. It works by using one central topic or idea and surrounding it with connected thoughts. The beauty of the mind map is that it is a very freestyle way to collect and organize information, without being restricted to a particular structure. Use of connecting lines, colors and symbols work together to boost visual perception of the physical map and to increase memory retention of the information.
It has been seen as long ago as the 3rd century, when Porphyry of Tyros graphically visualized concepts put forth by Aristotle. Over the ensuing centuries, many philosophers and thinkers freely used graphic recording of thoughts, concepts and knowledge for purposes of analysis, study and memorization. By the mid 1900's, the theory behind mind mapping was greatly refined and being taught in schools and in the business arena. One noted British psychologist, Tony Buzan, was credited with bringing the ideas of mind maps into the business realm to enhance creative thinking, during the 1960s.
Mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information and writing.
Mind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including notetaking, summarizing, as a mnemonic technique, or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in colour pen creativity sessions.
It is a known fact that working with mind maps helps students organize their ideas and understand concepts better. Since an outline is sequential, it can be difficult to work with, especially for students that struggle with the process. A study conducted by The National Reading Panel (NRP) in 2000 (Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction) showed that the use of visual organization tools was one of the 7 most effective ways to improve students retention.
The Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education (IARE) at AEL conducted a research study in 2003 entitled Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research. The study concluded that Graphic organizers:
"Organizing ideas and concepts into graphic patterns has been explored for years by cognitive educators. Mind Map builds a process structure or “map” over the content body of the material a person has gathered, thereby organizing it for development. Research has shown that developing mind maps increases thinking, memory and learning skills." - Johanna Brams, MSEdT, Lehigh University