British Columbia
Ministry of Forests
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Mind mapping


Mind mapping is a hierarchical system that is like a road map. Like road maps, mapping does not contain all the details but does indicate how all ideas are connected. These connections indicate their relationship to ideas (large centers with smaller centers).

It is also like a spider web.

See mind mapping schematic.

See also sample of mind mapping in use.

spider web graphic

This strategy enables users to record abstract ideas in a visual form. This process helps them to see connections and existing relationships.

Mind mapping can be used for planning, outlining, studying, and reviewing. It can stretch thinking, organize, and show relationships.

Mind mapping is a quick way to recall known information and develop a picture of the whole.

Anything that can be broken down into relative components or parts can make use of this process. It is an informal process.

Everyone can immediately see the ideas and his or her connections and relationships. Unlike listed ideas, mind mapping allows new information and ideas to be added randomly as they are thought of. Mind mapping accesses the right side of the brain.

There is no right or wrong way to map. The creator or creators figure out the mapping picture. Mind mapping shows how the information is understood and related, and it shows if these relationships are correct or incorrect.

One very powerful learning tool is for the user to return to the mind map once new learning is finished. The user can add, adjust, modify, or change ideas using a different color of pen (first round use a black pen and change it to red on the second round).


Mind-mapping instructions


The center idea is written in the central oval.

Major ideas (smaller ovals) are connected to central idea.

Minor ideas are connected to the major ideas. They can be written in smaller ovals or left on straight lines.

Ideas can be presented as words, pictures, branches, mnemonic devices, or symbols. There is no need for verbs, capital letters (except for proper nouns), or punctuation.

Emphasis can be indicated with bubbles, arrows, or wavy lines.

If there is a relationship linking one idea (in blue) to other ideas (in red), choose a third color and draw a line from the one to the other. This line could be dotted, wavy or your design.

If color is used, this becomes a very powerful learning tool for users.

For example, all ideas colored blue are related. The further the idea is from the first blue oval, the lesser is the idea (as in an outline).

Alternatively, all related ideas are written in one color

On the other hand, a colored line is drawn around related ideas and another color is used to circle another group of related ideas.

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