back to article Getting your head around mainstream mind mapping

If you haven't heard the term ‘mind mapping’ before, you could be forgiven for thinking it was something sinister from 1984, or perhaps some high tech secret service interrogation technique. It is, in fact, a diagramming technique that's been used for many years for capturing, analyzing, and expressing thoughts and ideas in a …


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  1. Shingo Tamai

    Doesn't work for me...

    I need to write something on paper in order to have access to visual memory and remember it.

    Drawing balloons or lines just creates a mess that cannot be re-organized.

    Some time ago my manager was thrilled by the idea of having a document expressed through mind maps. The result was the usual: doubled effort compiling the actual document AND extrapolating a mind map for him to be happy.

    So, not for me.

    1. Chris Donald
      Thumb Up

      Works well-with fineliners..

      Done this since I was 14-preferred nice coloured fineliners and interesting paper of all sizes though. Buzan's Mindmap book describes this process nicely-cheap enough second hand on Amazon. Disagree 100% with the "messy" notion. Just means you organise your brainstorming some.

      Software has a place, I found it good for outlining essays/reports or any length of work beyond a short page.

      For notetaking, it's nice to have mindmaps/quasi mind maps and old fashioned bullets to hand. More tools.

  2. JeffyPooh

    My brain doesn't work that way

    I read about human brain neural nets many years ago, probably about the time that they were discovered (or at least mentioned in popular science rags). I immediately began to structure my learning into the same natural undrstanding-based format. By doing so it makes learning relatively easy, and (as a bonus) allows one to instantly leap across different fields and apply what you know in one field to a completely separate field. That latter outcome is actually frightening sometimes.

    Structured 'mind mapping' is diametrically-opposed.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Free Your Mind

    *cough* FreeMind *cough*

    1. Captain TickTock

      Still a ways to go

      Freemind is still quite linear and clunky compared to iMindMap, (can't speak for MindManager), but even those fall short of the freedom of pencil & paper for creating mind maps.

      Obviously software has the advantage in editing, but if you're editing as you go, you're probably not thinking freely enough. Better to get it all on paper, and then edit as a post-process. For that way of working, pencil & paper is fastest.

      Scanning the result in would save some time. Using a tablet would be an intermediate step, but still tempting to self-edit as you go.

  4. shrdlu
    Thumb Up

    Mind Maps

    I've used mind-maps for many years and I've found them to be perfect for building structured documents and lesson-plans for training sessions. I set out the mind-map on a large sheet of plain paper then, using a different colour, I draw a contiguous path through the topics. Where the path goes through a topic more than once it is a logical place to recap on it, and this gives added weighting to more important concepts.

    I have never found any computer software that is remotely helpful in doing this. By far the best technology is paper. If you really need this in electronic format buy a Smartboard.

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