What is a Mind Map? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Mind Map
  • 2:07 Examples of Mind Mapping
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Fenner

Susan has an MBA in Management from the University of North Alabama. She teaches online and campus-based Business courses.

This lesson explores one of the most versatile types of graphical organizers, the mind map. Let's take a closer look at some of the practical applications of mind maps and how they can help you understand and organize your ideas.

Mind Map

Brian scratched his head. It was his first day on the job as an apprentice software developer, and he wanted to make a good impression. But when his boss told him to create a mind map to organize the notes from the brainstorming session he had to admit to himself that he was totally lost. 'Mind map? What's that?' he wondered. He got through the meeting just smiling and nodding his head a lot, but when he got back to his office he was determined to research mind maps and get up to speed as soon as possible. Let's take a look at what he learned.

Brian discovered that a mind map is a type of graphic organizer that places a central idea or concept at the center of the diagram and then adds associated ideas around the main idea. The associated ideas might be in the form of words, phrases, or even images. Mind maps can be hand drawn or designed on a computer. Computer generated mind maps may be created from a template, or they can be designed from scratch. Here is an example of a simple hand drawn mind map. This represents the most basic type of mind map, with the main idea in the center and related ideas branching out from it in a radial fashion.

Hand Drawn Mind Map

Mind maps can be fairly simple or highly complex, depending on the topic and the amount of detail included. They use visualization to help you focus and organize your thoughts. Color coding is frequently used to group ideas together, like in this example:

Mind Map Example Color Coding

Another popular form of a mind map uses the idea of a tree with the trunk being the main idea. The branches and twigs are the supporting ideas and details in descending order as they move further from the trunk.

Mind map graphic organizer example

Regardless of which form you use, the basic premise is the same: using graphic visualization as an organizational tool. When a mind map is used in a business context , it can be an effective tool for project management, helping team members to break down and organize the necessary tasks in order to meet their objective. Mind mapping helps workers visualize and prioritize their assignments and stay focused on completing them. It's useful for collaboration and problem solving, and can help people see the bigger picture.

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