What is a mind map

Mind map

What is a mind map?

Mind mapping is the name of the process in which a mind map is developed. Behind the mind map is a cognitive-associative memory model. The mind map combines different memory skills:Pictorial, logical and linguistic thought processes are brought together. This makes it easier to understand and memorize.

Where does the mind map come from?

The English psychologist and mental trainer, Tony Buzan, developed the mind map in the 1970s. The starting point was his own bad grades as a student. He was looking for a technique to use his memory effectively. When he couldn't find anything suitable, he developed the method of mind mapping himself over time. Tony Buzan compares mind mapping with a windshield wiper that cleans the windshield and clears the view of the essentials.

Why mind mapping?

When we deal with content or topics, these are usually complex and multi-layered. They contain different sub-areas and are linked to other topics. This complexity often makes it difficult to grasp a topic in its entirety and to consider all associated aspects. The mind maphelps to structure topics and present them clearly. It is therefore also very suitable for developing and organizing learning material. A fundamental question in learning is often: “How should I remember all of this?” All the sub-items, references, bullet points and details! Simply learning everything by heart does not promote understanding of the material and is often beyond memory. The mind map helps you concentrate on the essentials. This is done using keywords. TheThe most important aspects of the subject matter are identified with concise key words and written down. This is the first learning step, dealing with the material and theSeparation of the important and the unimportant already done. The identified key words are finally arranged and visualized according to a hierarchical method that follows the logic of the topic. This memorable graphic representation makes it easier for the memory to memorize and reproduce what has been learned.

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What is the mind map suitable for?

A mind map can be used in many ways:

  • Develop, organize and learn learning material
  • Take notes and take notes in class or during lectures
  • Structure your own deliberations and thoughts
  • Find creative ideas and brainstorm
  • Prepare lectures, presentations or speeches
  • Structure discussions
  • Plan tasks and projects
  • Are there any rules for using the mind map?

    The starting point of a mind map is always the topic it is about. This is the focus, also figuratively. The topic is written in the middle of an empty sheet of paper that is as large as possible and, in a sensible way, horizontally. The topic can be highlighted in color or graphically or provided with a suitable picture.

    Based on the topic, different branches are now drawn on the sheet.Each branch represents a sub-area of ​​the topic. The individual branches should be laid out so that there is as much space as possible on the paper around them.These main branches are now labeled with concise keywords. They represent the various sub-aspects of the main topic and are, as it were, its second level in the hierarchy. Each partial aspect is represented with its own branch and each branch is labeled.

    Go from every single branch that emanates from the main themefurther smaller branches from. These can be drawn with less thickness than the main branches. They represent the next level andvisualize further partial aspects. They are also labeled with keywords. Even thinner branches can branch off from the smaller branches in order to sketch further partial aspects or questions.

    In this way, a mind map is created, starting from the main topic down to individual small sub-items in a clear "thought map".

    The hierarchical tree structure of the mind map is illustrated graphically with the decreasing line thickness of the individual branches. Main branches are thick, the more the structure branches out, the thinner the connections become. There are many other ways to structure the mind map even further. All graphic elements should be used for clarity and memorability.

  • The connecting lines within the mind map can also be represented differently with arrows, dashed lines or the like. Different meanings and weightings are identified in this way.
  • Branches that are related in terms of content can be marked in the same color to document that they belong together. In addition, partial branches can also be circled or highlighted with hatching.
  • Different, textual representations such as bold letters, capital letters or writing in color can provide additional structure.
  • Symbols or small graphics can increase the visuality.
  • In terms of text, it is advisable to work with individual key words in mind mapping. Sentences or long texts are not useful in the mind map. Upper and lower case of the keywords document the hierarchical structure.

    Mind map software and mind map freeware

    Mind maps can not only be created on paper, but also on the computer. There are programs that must first be installed on the computer, as well as programs that enable users to create mind maps online. Different providers offer free and compulsory programs. For example, the free software “Freemind” or “MindManager” is widespread.

    Media - tutoria recommends

    Mind map example:

    This file can be opened with the FreeMind software.

    Interview with Tony Buzan (in English)


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