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A mindmap, also written mind map, is a diagram used to represent words and ideas linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.

Mindmaps are often used with brainstorming activities to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas. In other words, what crops up during the brainstorming session is put down on paper in real time as a mindmap.

In this way they function as an aid in study, organization, problem solving and decision making. They are, in reality, similar to concept maps in that they are graphical tools for organizing and representing relationships among concepts.

Mindmaps are useful for pre-teaching words in the context of words students already know, and revising newly-learnt words.

Shorter versions are ideal for warmers or coolers.

As they link ideas, mindmaps are better suited to learning new words and/or revising old ones than the traditional list format and students should be encouraged to make their own ones for homework, etc.

Suggested Mindmapping 'laws'


1. Start with a coloured image in the centre. An image is often worth a thousand words and encourages creative thought while significantly increasing memory.

2. Images throughout your Mindmap. As No. 1 and to stimulate all cortical processes.

3. Words should be printed. For reading-back purposes a printed map gives a more photographic, more immediate, and more comprehensive feed-back. The little extra time that it takes to print is amply made up for in the time saved when reading back.

4. The printed words should be on lines, and each line should be connected to other line. This is to guarantee that the Mindmap has basic structure.

5. Words should be in ‘units’, i.e. one word per line. This leaves each word more free hooks and gives note taking more freedom and flexibility.

6. Use colours throughout the Mindmap as they enhance memory, delight the eye and stimulate the right cortical process.

7. In creative efforts of this nature the mind should be left as ‘free’ as possible. Any ‘thinking’ about where things should go or whether they should be included will simply slow down the process. The idea is to recall everything your mind thinks of around the central idea. As your mind will generate ideas faster than you can write, there should be almost no pause — if you do pause you will probably notice your pen or pencil dithering over the page. The moment you notice this get it back down and carry on. Do not worry about order or organisation as this will in many cases take care of itself. If it does not, a final ordering can be completed al the end of the exercise.

See also

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