How to Mind Map:
1. Introduction How to Mind Map: The Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic engagement:
In the last article, we had described the concept of mental learning through the program of ‘Learn How to Learn‘ and in this article, we would be dealing with the theme of ‘learning to learn’ (L2L) of Tony Buzan.
Buzan is credited with further development of what is described as Mind Mapping to the application of learning. With an objective to retain what is learnt. There are at least two theories to which the development of his concept could be traced to.
The first one relates to the experiments conducted by Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus through a scientific experiment conducted between 1879 and 1885 had demonstrated that the process of ‘forgetting’ could be plotted in a graph. Such experimentations proved that ‘memory’ is short-lived, in that, less than 20% information learnt is retained after 31 days. His theory subsequently came to be known as ‘Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting’ is quoted in Colin Rose’s book on ‘Accelerated Learning’ (1988).
The Second one relates to the original research conducted by David Paul Ausubel – in his work Learning theory and classroom practice. Ausubel’s approach was to transform experiences into concepts and giving them meaning they no longer remain separate entities but arrange themselves into groups, or “maps”, this approach mirrors the way our brains learn.
The practical experiment of it [Mind Mapping] in the educational learning context took place with the Campion School undertaking a Project captioned ‘Learn to Learn’. The rationale behind its applicability to education is described by the Educational Kinesiology UK Foundation, as an ‘educational movement based programme which uses simple movements to integrate the whole brain, senses, and body. Through this, the learners are prepared with the physical skills they need to learn effectively that can be used to improve a wide range of learning, attention and behaviour skills’.
Having dealt with some of the theoretical foundations, we would consider in the next section as to how it could be connected to Accelerated Learning Techniques and its methodology.
2. The connection between Accelerated Learning Techniques and Mind Mapping:
Accelerated Learning Techniques and the Multiple Intelligence Theory advance the learning through Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (VAC) methods for imparting effective knowledge to the learners depending upon their aptitude for learning. Tony Buzan (2003) mainly concentrated on the likely beneficial outputs the visual techniques can bring upon the learners and postulated using ‘Mind Maps’ as an effective way of getting the learners involved into learning purposefully.
Mind Mapping then, as postulated by Tony Buzan, is a particular type of ‘pattern diagram’. It resembles in certain ways to a spider diagram but with adjustments which help the learners to stimulate creativity and learning. By connecting the VAK with the graphical and colour representation and physical movements through the Brain Gym®, his program is aimed at the:
- The process of organising the learning materials in graphical forms which helps the brain to recognise objects faster and even more enables the information to be retained.
- The colour-coding of the learning materials enables the brain in making sense of the information
- Linking learning to music and musical rhythm can further aid in the retention of what is being learnt.
2.1: The Methodology:
It consists of four inter-dependent techniques.
- A central image crystallises the subject of attention.
- The main themes of the subjects are pictured as branches having their origin from the central theme.
- The branches contain either a keyword associated with a line or key image. Topics considered to be of a lesser value are sub-plotted as an attachment to the main branches.
- Such branches form a connected nodal structure.
To sum up, the author concluded that “all knowledge is a giant map of associative networks, containing billions of sub-maps of associative networks, containing billions of sub-maps each emanating from its own special-subject centre”.. (http://www.mind-map.com [link goes to original site]) and hence the connection of brain mapping to Accelerated Learning Techniques should be found in similarities in the application of the keywords, associations, connections, network etc. in imparting knowledge/skills to the learners.
2.2.: Application and Evidence of benefits:
Contrary to the earlier articles, it needs to be stressed here that there is not much of scientific evidence regarding the accrual of benefits in the application of this theory in learning and or training programs and in fact, there are controversies about its unqualified benefits. It is not the objective of this article to go into them. In spite of such doubts, it can be said that it may well be having its utility in helping the learners (to what extent is unknown) to organise information recall. In regard to its association with AL, some studies have attested to their positive connections. Pica and Short, (1999) had supported the positive association and benefit of this method, by holding to the views, that practicing smooth and controlled voluntary cross lateral movement, similar to the ones performed by musicians leads to a difference in inter-hemispheric communication as both sides of the brain are compelled to connect which produces a range of benefits to the learners. In the’ Learn to Learn’ (L2L) Project quoted earlier in this article, it was found that BrainGym® session had positive outcomes in mood controlling outcomes.
A natural doubt may arise in the minds of the readers as to how this technique is connected to Dr.Lozanov’s ‘Suggestopedia’. The answer could lie in the fact that this method utilises the mental rehearsal and imitation capabilities of human beings. It is an application of suggestion when the learners imagine themselves of doing something or engaged in visioning, it activates the neural pathways involved in actually doing the imagined activity. In other words, both imagining and doing functions are functions are carried by the same area in the brain. Thus, its name Brain Gym® gets justified when one considers the fact that the above theory is the one widely used in sports psychology in preparing them to imagine themselves as winners.
3. Conclusions: What is the utility of this theory to the HRM/ HRD Practitioners?[a]
It was already pointed out that direct evidence are hard to forthcome, but we hold to the opinion that does not mean that the concept does not have any implicational validity for HRM/ HRD. Such shreds of evidence could be found through looking for indirect ways it works and accordingly conclusions are drawn based on this principle.
Organisational Behaviour Theories and HRM/HRD experts have tended more and more towards the beliefs that getting people to change requires both information and the right motivation. This is an activity of the brain and to accomplish this brain needs coaches and coaching in turn work on brains as changing an attitude of a person is hard and requires inputs of additional resources.
In addition to the author quoted as the basis for drawing writing the concluding sections, there is enough evidence available in the pioneering works of Neurasthenics of Dr.Jeffrey M.Schwartz. Dr.Jeffrey Schwartz is a worldwide recognised expert in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders without administration of drugs by applying the concept of brain imaging and scientifically demonstrated that choices change the functioning of the brain moment to moment and this exactly brain mapping aims to accomplish in HRM.
The brain needs coaching through HRM by bestowing ongoing attention and efforts in developing the will power in the individuals so trained. It has been effectively proved that through ‘Attention, Reflection, Insight, and Action (ARIA) coaching can positively impact the brain. Though not all of these can be traced to brain mapping alone, yet there are certain elements of it which can successfully adopted in any coaching program, because mental maps play a role in influencing perceptions that can impact the goal accomplishment.
Bibliography – How to Mind Map: Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic engagement
Ausubel, D. (1963). The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning. New York: Grune & Stratton.
Ausubel, D. (1978). In defense of advance organizers: A reply to the critics. Review of Educational Research, 48, 251-257.
Ausubel, D., Novak, J., & Hanesian, H. (1978). Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View (2nd Ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston
Buzan, T. (2003), Mind Maps for Kids: the Shortcut to Success at School, Harper Collins.
Dennison, P., and Dennison, G. (1994): Brain Gym: Teacher’s Edition Revised. Ventura, CA: Edu-Kinesthetics, Inc
Pica, R. and Short, K. (1999): Moving and leaning across the curriculum, Teaching Elementary Physical Education, 10(1) 5-7. Quoted in Jehue, D. and Carlisle, C. (2000), Movement Integration; The Key to Optimal Development, Teaching Elementary Physical Education, January 2000.
Rose, C & Nicholl, M.J. (1977): Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: the six-step plan to unlock your MASTER-mind, Dell Publishing, New York
[a] The concluding paragraph is based on the article written by David Rock entitled A Brain-based Approach to Coaching, which itself is based on his interview with Jeffery M. Schwartz, M.D. and originally published in the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations, 2006, 4(2) pp32-43. For details please visit [PDF] Rock: A Brain-based Approach to Coaching
Reviewed March 2019 – broken links repaired & new subheadings added – MM