The Art and Science of Learning Craft  

  Mind Maps


Pictorial methods for recording knowledge and modelling systems have been used for centuries in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Some of the earliest examples of such graphical records were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle. Philosopher Ramon Llull (1235–1315) also used such techniques.

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.


Allan Urho Paivio, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of  Western Ontario, postulated Dual - coding theory (DCT). According to it, Both visual and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels, with the human mind creating separate representations for information processed in each channel.


Both visual and verbal codes for representing information are used to organize incoming information into knowledge,that can be acted upon, stored, and retrieved for subsequent use.Thus a concept is better memorized, if is presented both verbally and visually.

Relying on this concept, Tony Buzan devised the technique of ‘Mind Mapping’.

In his books on Mind Maps, author Tony Buzan suggests using the following guidelines for creating Mind Maps:

1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.

2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.


3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.

4. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.

5. The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and thinner as they radiate out from the centre.

6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.

7. Use multiple colors throughout the Mind Map, for visual stimulation and also to  encode or group.

8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.

9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.

10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

This list is itself more concise than a prose version of the same information and the Mind Map of these guidelines is itself intended to be more memorable and quicker to scan than either the prose or the list.

Like many other systems, though is theoretically very sound, this technique too, is not practically useful.

Look at the examples of mind maps below(First 10 of google image search results).


Even when a software is used, it takes hours to draw a map. 

And if we are have one mind map for one chapter in a text book (subject), a student will have scores of mind maps to memorize.

It would be, as formidable a task to memorize the mind map set, as that of memorizing an ATLAS.

                                                                                         Right Brain-Left Brain