Mind maps (often referred to as a spider gram) is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It uses the visualisation part of the brain to retain information in such away that it can be quickly recovered when required. Tony Buzan, is recognised as the inventor of mind maps in the 1960’s.
Mind maps are best used for a single topic, such as learning a language, the technique is used to identify all the components necessary to achieve this and possibly the order in which they should be carried out. This part is an essential aspect of revision; the fact that you have abstracted that which is required will imbed the information into the brain and enable threads of connectivity to be established simplifying recall in the future.
The mind map should start in the centre of a blank page turned sideways. The blank page, does not restrict the brain to one dimension, as with lined paper, thus enabling the brain to work in a two dimensional way and to spread out in all directions.
Connect the main branches to the centre start, point avoid straight lines, use lines which are curved this increases the brains attention. The brain works best by association so that when the lines are connected to the second and third level branches you will understand and remember a lot more easily.
Use images or sketches and colours throughout to make this more interesting for you and increase the brains stimulation and retention.
Use one key word per line; single key words give your Mind Map more power and flexibility.
An example of an approach to learning a foreign language is illustrated in figure 1
Figure 1: Learning a language mind map. Source: Tony Buzan
An example of mind mapping applied to health and safety is given below:
Figure 2: Health and safety mind map. Source: ACT
Many people find it useful to then condense, on a separate card, the key ‘leg’ titles and this in itself is often sufficient to recall the detail created previously on the original mind map sheet.