A good cognitive map – gentle flowers show what mind maps look like
FIRST OF all, take the time to visualise a flower turned towards the sunlight – a flower with its calyx and petals around it. There you have it -.
A mind map may be much similar, very similar, for there are many flower forms. The drawing we talk of, consists of a central word or concept; around that central word you draw for example four to twelve main ideas that branch out as they relate to the centre and its high-packed information (imagery and/or words). You then take each of those petal wings (or child words) and associate (think up) fine-looking ideas that tie in with those words somehow.
In this way a very large amount of nearly related or well related ideas can be produced fast and effectively – with very little mental effort. The concept of ‘writers block’ is hard to understand once you have managed to use mental map-work well.
What can you do with a mind map
THE BASIC mental map can be very good for simple note taking, excellent for gist to memorise, and have few or no drawbacks in the learning process, as far as science knows. And it may make more traditional ways of note-taking look antedated, superfluous and not good enough, really. Yet, one has to follow suit and adapt to the ruling systems and their modes and ways, eventually. Still, there is freedom to use good cognitive maps for one’s personal use, also on exams, used for drafts. Good students have been reported to get better grades from using it. [Tony Buzan: Use your head]
As a means of note taking mindmaps have some inherent, solid advantages over other systems, and can also complement the best of them:
- You can get a basis for brand new ideas that you fit in, maybe depending on just how you present your items.
- It helps you to learn by systemic approach.
- The resultant map can be ‘seen’ (visualised) by the eye and memorized by your visual memory, which has been shown to be almost perfect, in fact. There is research on the subject that verifies that well.
In short, mental maps assist learning and faster learning – hopefully better memory work too. Much depends on you. If you want to learn how to draw cognitive maps, or mind-mapping, there are public courses at the start of each term, and these courses use a method developed and explored by Tony Buzan. And the “Buzan approach” to studies through certain mental maps, has been recommended by the University of Stockholm, and is quite easy to learn. [Cf. Mum; Bhb; Tor]
Mind-mapping (and its “organic study work) may work very well along with another favourable study method that is called PQRST and SP3R and more. You may also find the variant SP4R – [Ams, appendix; John Anderson]