5 Reasons Why Mind Mapping Should Be Implemented in the Educational Process in Universities
Mind mapping is a process that can help you plan out and visualize ideas. It's used in workplaces and even some classrooms. As a classroom tool, however, this method isn't reaching its full potential. There are a number of reasons that more professors and students should use this tool in university-level education.
What Is Mind Mapping?
To understand why mind mapping should be used in university-level education, it’s first important to understand what it is.
Simple mind map created with iMindQ
Put simply, it is a method of brainstorming. It allows ideas to be broken down and planned out. At the center of the map is the subject that is being focused on and branching off of that are ideas and off of those ideas, sub-ideas. This allows you to create a diagram of ideas and thoughts without having to worry about order or monotony.
Why Is Mind Mapping Important to Universities?
So, knowing what this technique is, the question of why it matters comes up.
Well, there are a variety of reasons that students at universities can benefit from the use of this technique.
1. Encourages Creativity
There are a lot of direct problems and answers in a student’s academic life. If a question on a test asks what year the American Revolutionary War started, there’s only one answer.
If a student needs to know what the best paper writing website is, a few seconds of research will tell them that this website is what they’re looking for.
Once they get to university, students are more and more often encouraged to think creatively. This is largely due to the fact that in a world that is quickly changing, it’s important to teach students how to recognize and generate innovation. Now, instead of the linear questions and answers they are used to, students have to come up with multiple solutions and ideas to a problem presented to them.
A mind map allows students to focus on a central problem and write down ideas as they come to them. They can follow one path and brainstorm that point and then come back to the main point and work on another idea.
2. Aids in Non-Linear Thinking
A big factor in education and everyday thought is the use of linear and non-linear thinking. Each student is capable of both types even though they may favor one over the other. Mind mapping can help encourage and organize the non-linear style.
Linear or vertical thinking is exactly what it sounds like - thought that goes from point A to point B in a step-by-step fashion. Non-linear thinking, on the other hand, tends tackle problems in a non-traditional process that doesn’t have a particular order.
Image source: University of Baltimore
Linear thinking is usually more logical and it does carry benefits. Those who think in a linear fashion or usually great at objectivity and work well on subjects that have rigid rules, such as mathematics and accounting.
Non-linear or lateral thinking is valued for its often innovative results. It is often associated innovation and forward movement.
The biggest downside of non-linear thinking is that it is hard to keep on track. Especially for individuals with problems such as ADHD, it can be hard to track all the thoughts that are running through their head. This can be very frustrating. After all, they don’t lack ideas but rather a way to write them down.
This type of mapping allows students to work on one concept and detail that and then jump to another on a dime.
When they have something to add to the previous point they were on, they can simply shift back to it as they please. This technique is helpful in this setting because it documents thoughts with no order.
3. Identify Relationships Between Thoughts
When a student is starting an essay, they might have several suggestions for the prompt. At the same time, they might not know how to link all these thoughts together into a coherent and well-written paper.
When they sit down and map out these notions, they start to see connections. One branch’s sub-idea links to another branch in a way that they didn’t think of when the thought first occurred to them.
These connections are helped by the fact that mind mapping can help someone visually see what they’re thinking. The connections that might not have tied together in their head become clear when these viewpoints are explained side by side.
This technique also helps them to keep track of these relationships while they write. Students often think of a link between ideas but by the time they reach that point in their task, the details of the link are forgotten. Through a mind map, they can keep track of these thoughts better than through memorization or vague notes they took down on scrap paper.
4. Better Memorization of Course Material
Many professors ban the use of laptops in their lecture halls. This is because studies have shown that taking notes by hand forces someone to process what they're seeing more than typing does.
When typing notes, it isn’t as necessary to read them in-depth because the process becomes somewhat automatic. Alternatively, writing by hand forces you to choose what’s important to write down in the time you have during the lecture. A lot of students also find that practices such as highlighting important parts of their notes or textbook help them remember important tidbits as well.
Further reader: How mind mapping help in memorizing
Mind mapping can aid studying in much the same way. By connecting concepts, it forces them to think critically about how their coursework overlaps. The additions of aspects such as images and color coding can further this.
5. The Connection of Right and Left Brain
There are two halves of the brain - the left and right. Roger W. Sperry was the first to note that these halves serve different functions. The right brain is more in tune with;
- Creative tasks
- Emotional responses
On the other hand, the left brain is often described as;
These two halves can work together, though. Sperry’s research even included the information that when the brain worked together as a whole, intellectual performance was heightened.
Mind mapping can help tie these sides of the brain together. While it follows the more creative, non-linear thinking of the right brain as discussed earlier, it also integrates the left side. It takes the creative suggestions of the right brain and maps them out in the analytical style the left brain loves.
Mind mapping is a powerful tool. It can help students to organize their thoughts, promote creativity, identify relationships, remember content, and even employ both sides of the brain. It can be an extremely helpful tool while you are in university trying to balance learning and your individual thought patterns.
Jilian Woods is a freelance journalist and a contributing writer having more than two years of writing experience. As a writer, she sees her purpose in producing and sharing relevant content with people who are willing to learn something new. Apart from her day job, you may find Jilian engaged in volunteering or doing yoga. Get in touch with Jilian on Facebook.