We explain what a mind map is, what it is for and what its structure is like. In addition, its characteristics and elaboration steps.
What is a mental map?
A mind map is a diagram that explains a concept , idea, or topic. This diagram uses words, colors, pictures, and lines to represent the various aspects of the main topic and their relationship to each other.
A mind map is hierarchical , that is, it orders ideas from the most central and general to the most secondary and specific.
These diagrams make complex topics easier to understand : they can be used to persuade an audience of an idea by explaining the logical reasons behind that idea.
A good mind map must be visually attractive , orderly and clear to facilitate the transmission of information.
What is a mind map for?
A mind map can be designed with one or more objectives :
- Retain large amounts of information compressed into few words and symbols.
- Explain in a simple way and in a small visual space a complex topic.
- Facilitate memory expansion .
- Structure complex facts, reasoning and thoughts .
- Facilitate the process of learning, memorization and even creation.
Structure of a mind map
The structure of a mind map is always concentric : it goes from the most general to the most particular.
At the center of a mind map is the concept that will unfold on the map. From this center , branches extend towards the key notions or main characteristics of the central concept.
Subbranches containing more specific information can be extended from each of these branches .
Images are a fast and efficient way to fix information in memory and associate it with other concepts.
A mind map always has at least one central image that illustrates or represents the main concept. In addition, each of the main branches can have a specific image.
The lines should clearly show the logical relationships between the main concept, secondary ideas, and tertiary ideas.
It is important to avoid crossing the lines to maintain the clarity of the mind map. The importance of a topic can be illustrated by the thickness or color of the line that connects it to the main concept.
Colors have three functions. On the one hand, they can be used to make the mind map more visually appealing .
On the other hand, in a mind map where there is not much variety of colors used, they can only be used to highlight specific words or phrases and mark their importance.
Finally, colors can be used as a code : all phrases or words that have the same color are conceptually related to each other.
In mind maps, specific words are preferable before complete sentences . A mind map can be explained orally, but the information present there must be summarized and concise.
Keywords should be chosen for their clarity and accuracy with respect to the concept or characteristic they represent – they should not lead to confusion.
In a long text, the same idea can be explained in different ways . On the contrary, the structure of a mind map allows you to select concepts or keywords and neither can be synonymous with another.
In this way, when studying or explaining a topic, you avoid wasting time with different versions of the same concept.
Steps to make it
- Choose a specific topic to develop, which is broad but with precise limits.
- Place the subject in the center of the paper or screen and choose an image or symbol to represent it.
- Choose a limited number of aspects or characteristics of the main theme. Sort them by importance. Write down each one of the aspects or characteristics around the center, starting with the most important, following the movement of the hands of the clock. Each of these characteristics must be identified by a keyword and / or image.
- Join each of them to the central word with a line.
- If necessary, write down more specific data for secondary ideas through branches.
Style and creativity
In addition to the logical order of the elements of a mind map, each map can have its own style . The use of colors and different types of lines will be chosen depending on the seriousness of the topic and the personality of the presenter.
Secondary keywords can be written in a variety of fonts , circled or squared to make them stand out, and more. The style chosen should take into account the impression you want to make on a receiver and the specific use to which the map will be put.
Uses of a mind map
Mind maps can be used in various contexts:
- Study. Students use mind maps to summarize a topic and facilitate study and memorization. Since in this case the mind map is used by the same person who designs it, it will take into account the elements that favor its own learning, such as images, color or mnemonic rules.
- Labor presentations. In work environments, mind maps must convey clear ideas to recipients. The style should be formal but attractive, to attract the attention of colleagues.
- Pedagogy . The teachers can also use mind maps to explain a subject to his students. In these cases, it is advisable to use humor and attractive images to retain the students’ attention and, at the same time, select easy-to-memorize words to facilitate learning.
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