Mind Mapping Resources

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What are mind maps?

Central idea

Mind maps are constructed from radial branches stemming from central theme. The focus is on the connections to the central theme. Mindmaps may be defined as organic. In fact, may representations mimic basic patterns found in nature (branches, clouds, etc).



It is possible that the earliest form of mindmapping dates back to the 3rd century B.C. with Porphyrius' classifications of Arisotle's categories including the classification of substance: referred to as the Prophyrian Tree. Later work on Sematic Networks (computer science) and Idea Sunbursts (education) have contributed to the development of mind mapping techniques in use today.

mind-mapping.org offers a basic introduction. Note the blog comments debating the history of the mind map.

Tony Buzan Seems to have copyrighted the term "mindmap". Some say: he's the father of the modern mind map; others say he's a marketing genius.

Uses and Benefits

A mind map tends to have a single main concept, while a concept map may have several related and interconnecting ideas, themes or topics. Mind maps tend to develop as a brainstorm on a theme, while concept maps tend to develop in order to answer a central question with a series of related propositions.

Mind maps are useful for:

  • documenting a stream of consciousness
  • brainstorming
  • summarizing/notetaking
  • documenting existing knowledge on a topic (which can be built on/added to/changed as learning progresses)
  • identifying gaps in knowledge/ questions that need to be answered
  • consolidating resources/information from a variety of sources.

Benefits to learning:

  • maps are developed by an individual or group and organized in a way that makes sense to them - promoting a sense of ownership - important to motivation.
  • connects prior knowledge to new learning and highlights gaps in knowledge - making it easier for learners to know what they don't know and need to know.
  • allow focus on details while retaining "big picture"

Which tool suits what purpose?

This is a work in progress, please help us with a few examples.

Mind Mapping Tools Graphic Organizer Tools C-Map Example good tool choice(s) because...
Brainstorming yes may be too slow yes, for collaboration Brainstorming/resource planning in Bubbl.us Bubbl.us is a good tool for brainstorming. C-Map allows for real time collaboration.
Investigation/Diagnosis yes yes yes Diagnosing a Headache in Chinese medicine with Freemind mapping tools that allow for decision trees are useful here.
Linking concepts/ ideas yes yes yes Course outline using C-Map C-map is useful for drawing out propositions associated with themes/ideas
Notetaking yes no yes Graphical Note Taking on an iPad. Tools need to have very low tech threshold for note-taking without barriers.
Mapping a process not really yes yes simple process map using Open Office tools Process Documentation: Essay Writing using Freemind in progress
Linking concepts across courses yes no yes in progress in progress
Generating ideas yes yes yes in progress in progress
Identifying existing knowledge yes yes yes in progress in progress
Problem Solving yes yes yes process example Bubbl.us best for ease of use. Others allow for more complexity to be added.

Tools for mapping

Free Concept Mapping and Mind Mapping Software

30+ Mind Mapping Tools

99 Mind Mapping Resources - including video, books, articles, etc.

Tools demo-ed in workshops


Workshop Outline using Novamind 300px

Associated Handout: Maps for Learning


Ausubel, David P. Learning Theory and Classroom Practice. Bulletin No. 1. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1967.

Ekhaml, Leticia. "Graphic Organizers: Outlets for Your Thoughts." School Library Media Activities Monthly 14, no. 5 (January 1998): 29-33.

Novak, J; Canas,A. The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola Fl, 32502

Sowa, John F. Semantic Networks

International Conference on Concept Mapping: 2008 Papers and Proceedings

Tips for Success with Digital Mind Mapping

Select Bibliography

Template:Refworks Folder Box

  • Chiou, C. (2008). The effect of concept mapping on students' learning achievements and interests. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45(4), 375-387. Template:UBC eLink
  • Davies, M. (2011). Concept mapping, mind mapping and argument mapping: What are the differences and do they matter? Higher Education, 62(3), 279-301. 15px Permalink
  • Budd, J. W. (2004). Mind maps as classroom exercises. Journal of Economic Education, 35(1), 35. Template:UBC eLink
  • Francis, R. W. (2006). Using concept maps as assessment tools: Defining understanding. College Quarterly, 9(3). Template:UBC eLink

See Also

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