I recently took an online course, using Zoom technology on my Mac. It was a lot of fun! The subject was ‘Mind Mapping’. What is mind mapping, you ask? It is a better way of note taking, for any topic, that is ‘organic’ in style, resembling the curved structure of the neurons in the brain, rather than the traditional horizontal ‘linear’ method of note taking, which is very rigid by comparison.
Briefly, mind mapping was invented by an Englishman, Tony Buzan, back in the late 1960’s. As he explains it in his book; “In my second year at university, I strode purposefully into the library, and asked the librarian where I could find a book on my brain and how to use it. She immediately directed me to the medical section of the library. When I explained that I did not wish to operate on my brain, but to use it, I was politely informed that there were no such books. I left the library in astonishment.”
He was trying to better understand the brain, and the thinking process, and was looking for a better way to ‘capture’ ideas when studying and taking notes. After much experimentation, he developed this style, which he called a ‘mind map’ because it consists of long, curved lines, organic in style, that resemble the neurons in the brain. It emphasizes the use of singular ‘key words’, to best capture an idea. It also emphasizes the use of colors and bold lines, which the brain remembers more easily than traditional, black writing on white paper, which is boring by comparison.
As Mr. Buzan explains in his book, The Mind Map Book; “Your brain does not think linearly or sequentially like a computer. It thinks multilaterally: radiantly. When you create a Mind Map, the branches grow outwards to form another level of sub-branches encouraging you to create ever more ideas out of each thought you add – just as your brain does. Also, because all the ideas on the Mind Map are linked to each other, it helps your brain, through association, to make great leaps of understanding and imagination.”
Almost 18 months ago I travelled to Wales, in the UK, to take Tony Buzan’s course in Mind Mapping. There was a small group of us, perhaps 12 in all. It was a three-day class. Very interesting. It was also an excuse for me to travel to the UK. Unfortunately, I did not do anything with mind mapping after I returned home. I was too distracted with many other things. However, I have kept in touch with the folks at Tony Buzan.
When this course was offered again, online, I jumped at the opportunity. This time, there were only four of us, including the instructor. The classes were two hours long, every other day. It was an excellent review of the process. And now, having completed the course, I have earned my certification as a Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor, or TBLI.
My plan for mind mapping is to apply it to aviation, as a way to help pilots learn, and remember, better. It’s another tool to use in the learning process. I see it as a better, more effective way of note taking in the learning process.
Below is an example of a mind map that I created during the course, of my career path so far. There is of course mind mapping software.
I have to explain that normally I would have used the Mind Mapping software to create this mind map, but there is a problem with the software right now, and with the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic in effect, the folks who normally are able to take care of this, are themselves at home under quarantine. So, I hand drew the map below. Hopefully it is legible.