Limits of Mind Maps

I’ve spent the last few posts gushing about mind maps. I love them, and I’m not going to stop using them….however, now that I’ve got you hooked on them too I feel it’s only fair to tell you about some of the limitations of using mind maps.

When using mind maps for your presentations, be aware of their greatest strength: providing a overview of many topics. They are difficult to use for “deep dive” presentations. (Not impossible! But it’s easier to use them to create an overview.)

Olivia does a great job of explaining when you should, and should not use mind maps for your presentations. The tips she highlights are equally valid for lecturers in the classroom. But it also made me a little bit defensive of my lovely mind maps and got me thinking about how else mind maps could be used in the classroom. Here are a few ideas:

  • Encourage students to use mind maps to take notes (fewer words required; focuses on key terms and their relationships).
  • Challenge students to create a mind map of related concepts and defend (to the class) the connections they’ve made between topics.
  • Use a mind map as your hand out (the diagram itself).
  • Use a mind map to draft your hand out headings (as I discussed in a previous blog post).

Have you used mind maps in your classroom effectively? (Or can you think of new ways that you want to try incorporating them into your teaching?)