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How to Use Mind Mapping in Your Everyday Life

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How to Use Mind Mapping in Your Everyday Life

Your brain retains a lot of information. All of this information is inter-connected to make sense. Without these links, the information would be jumbled and confused.

In other words, your mind creates maps that function just like geographical maps — one location leads to another. There may be multiple routes to the same destination as well.

The technique of mind mapping can be used for effective learning from birth to death! Find out more about mind mapping, its remarkable advantages, and how to implement it in your day to day learning in this article.

What Is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a simple concept whereby you create a map or flowchart to better process information. It is the implementation of how the brain processes information to encourage creativity.[1]

Mind maps don’t necessarily have to be physically written or drawn. Sometimes, a mind map can be imaginary, too. The latter is more convenient for compact ideas and will be more suitable once you get the hang of creating mind maps.

To understand the concept of mind mapping, you should picture this scenario:

Many times, you have so much information at hand that is so closely connected that it seems almost impossible to comprehend.

For example, you’re at a music class. The instrumental chords of a guitar and piano are so similar yet completely different at the same time. How can you possibly organize this information as a beginner?

The best way is to create a mind map.

All the elements of a mind map will help you connect the information in a way that will make it easier to absorb.

5 Elements of a Mind Map

You can personalize your preferred mind mapping technique according to what suits you best.

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However, a mind map usually has 5 main elements.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but an effective mind map is usually based on the following 5 parts:

  1. A central image
  2. Branches or relationship arrows
  3. Keywords or images
  4. Sub-themes
  5. Nodal structure

Some people like to further categorize the themes and topics to create up to 10 components. It is an extension of the sub-themes. But once again, how you choose to mind map is totally your personal preference.

What the Elements Represent

Each element is important as part of the whole. Here is an explanation of each of the parts.

A Central Image

The central image is the main theme or topic. Therefore, the central image is whatever the information is ultimately connected to.

It can be as broad or narrow as you like. Carrying on with the example of learning a musical instrument, the theme is instruments or music.

Branches

The next component is branches. Each idea you write down must have some sort of connection with at least one other part of the mind map. You cannot include any idea that doesn’t link up. Therefore, all the ideas in the mind map must be connected with branches or relationship arrows.

Keywords or Images

There are keywords or images. Certain ideas and information include a lot of detail. You cannot write it all down in a mind map.

Mind mapping has to be compact and precise in order to lead to effective results.[2]

If the idea is too elaborate to be expressed in a couple of words, you can either use an image or multiple connective keywords in its place.

In the case of digital mind maps, images work very well.

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Sub-Themes

The sub-themes are the narrower topics that fall under the bigger umbrella theme. For the same example of musical instruments, the sub-themes include guitar, piano, specific chords, etc. There are usually numerous sub-themes in a mind map.

Nodal Structure

Mind mapping is based on a nodal structure where sub-themes are explained and everything is linked. Certain ideas are broad and cover other compact concepts as well. The whole idea of mind mapping is incomplete without this structure.

Benefits of Mind Mapping

Now you know what mind mapping is and are probably convinced that it is an excellent approach to learning. But what is in it for you to use this method?

Well, the benefits of mind mapping are tremendous. Here’s a quick rundown:

Easy Organization

Right off the bat, there is no better way to organize information than with a mind map. No matter how confused you feel, a mind map will put everything in its right place.

Organized information is easier to remember. The visual representation of every connection imprints on your mind.

No matter how stressed you are, once you begin to organize all the ideas in a mind map, everything starts to make sense. Once that happens, there’s nothing left to worry about!

Brainstorming

Mind maps are a process. From one keyword to the other, from one image to the next, the connections trigger the brain to bring other related links to the surface, too.

This technique will help you brainstorm like no other.

Mind mapping is a very engaging learning process. Therefore, the brain is fully involved and focused. This encourages new ideas and concepts so that the learning process goes beyond the information at hand.

The magic in mind mapping is that all sorts of complex information also seem easy to understand. With brainstorming, these ideas are further built upon.

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Here’s an example to give you a clearer picture:

You’re learning a foreign language. In your mind map, you can link the foreign words with images or keywords of the language you know. Within this map, you can brainstorm to figure out certain common elements that will help you remember the foreign words easily.

These elements may be prefixes or suffixes. Or, there may be a specific trick that you can put your finger on once all similar words are linked up. While it is extremely easy to do in a mind map, it is almost impossible to identify these things in other learning methods.

The bottom line is that with mind mapping, the learning process becomes a continuous cycle of learning progress.

Guaranteed Results

As mentioned previously, mind mapping is the implementation of the process of the way that the brain actually works. Using the creation of links like that in a map, the brain can remember knowledge for the long-term.

Since mind mapping supports this mental process, there is no chance that you won’t successfully learn what you want to.

Basically, you will understand and remember whatever you want. There is literally nothing in the world that you won’t be able to excel at once you become a master of mind mapping!

Saving Time

This method is not time-saving in the sense that you’re probably thinking of. Creating a mind map, organizing all the information, and then fitting in new ideas may take up a decent chunk of your time.

However, since the learning is guaranteed in one go, you won’t have to spend time on the same theme again and again.

How to Use Mind Mapping to Learn New Skills

Mind maps are a tool that can be used every day. Use them to create an extensive to-do list or let the technique help you learn new skills.

For example, let’s assume you’re a social media content creator. You want to create more engaging content. Start creating a mind map that is centered on themes for your posts. You can include topics that you’ve already covered as well as ones you plan on posting about.

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Then, include the feedback that you received on your previous posts. Link it up to suggested improvements or continued strategies so that the new posts can perform better.

There is no rocket science in using a mind map effectively. You can categorize the process in 3 steps of mind mapping. Once you begin, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

Helpful Tools

Mind maps can be made in numerous ways.

Some people find it way easier to work with a pen and paper, whereas others prefer a digitized version.

Each method has its pros and cons. Digital mind maps can be edited and altered very easily. It’s more convenient to add images. Also, the digital mind maps are more organized and neat.

On the other hand, using a pen and paper lets the individual’s brain go in a flow. Scribbling the thoughts on a paper encourages the brain to find more relevant connections.

The best way to get use out of both methods is to create a rough version on a paper and then shift it to a digital platform. Or, you can use a software or mind mapping application from the get-go.

Some of the best mind mapping tools available for free are:

  • MS Word
  • Canva
  • MindMup
  • Free Mind

You can find more options here.

Final Thoughts

You don’t ever have to feel stuck again. Going through a creative block or failing to learn new things in life? Mind mapping is the ultimate solution to get your brain back on track!

More Tips on Mind Mapping

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

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23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

1. Coursera

Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

2. Khan Academy

Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

3. Open Culture Online Courses

If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

4. Udemy 

Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

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Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

6. Academic Earth

Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

7. edX

Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

8. Alison

Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

9. iTunesU Free Courses

A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

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Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

10. Stanford Online

Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

11. Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

12. UC Berkeley Class Central

Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

13. MIT OpenCourseWare

Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

15. Codecademy

Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

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The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

16. Code

Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

17. University of Oxford Podcasts

The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

18. BBC Podcasts

For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

19. TED-Ed

Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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20. LessonPaths

LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

21. Memrise

Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

22. National Geographic Kids

The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

23. Fun Brain

Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

The Bottom Line

With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

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Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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