When faced with a new challenge – writing an essay, putting a powerpoint together, presenting your new budget campaign, organizing a survey campaign – you might not know where to start. After all, there is so much to think about, so many ideas coming into your head or sent your way (if you are lucky)!
With a sheet of white paper sneering at you and your pen poised in mid-air, you are stuck.
Have you thought about drawing the entire process, your ideas as they come to you instead of trying to put everything in a linear succession of words and sentences? After all, drawing what we see has been part of human history from the very beginning of humanity: think about the Lascaux cave paintings…
We are not suggesting you go back to the Paleolithic Age, but that you tap into one of the most natural resources of your very own brain: spontaneous graphic thinking. The goal is to extract those ideas from your brain, jotting them down as shapes, images, doodles, lines, colors and slowly connecting these visuals to expose their logical influence on each other. This powerful and creative process can be defined as a graphic note-taking tool based on visuals instead of linear, more monotonous and restrictive lists or texts. We seem to remember images more easily since they resort to a series of skills that, when acting together, make for perfect triggers of association.
Think about the popular saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. A picture is a powerful quick tool to use whether you are a student or a professor. It is easy to memorize and recall, particularly useful for people who tend to learn visually and helps summarizing and structuring skills and ideas.
What are its applications? You can use it to brainstorm, to set-up strategy and decision-making processes, to organize project management sessions, storyboarding presentations, or to plan research and content optimization…
Knowing that “research has shown that developing mind maps increases thinking, memory and learning skills”(1), wouldn’t you like to give it a try? Have you used mind mapping already, as a student or as a professor? What were the benefits?
(1) Johanna Brams, MSEdT, Lehigh UniversityCredits: Horizons University