What is a mental map?

We explain what a mind map is and the types of mind maps there are. In addition, its features and programs to do it.

  1. What is a mental map?

A type of diagram that allows to represent different concepts, words, ideas, readings or tasks , graphically arranged in different ways around a key word or central concept, is known as a mental map . It is a useful method to extract and organize information, as well as a versatile mechanism to associate and express ideas on a specific topic.

In general, mind maps  are sets of words, ideas and drawings connected and arranged visually based on a theme or keyword, which serves as a trigger and connection point for everything represented. In that sense, it is a form of  radial thinking .

These types of tools aim to represent information in a more dynamic and diverse way , compared to mere written text , and therefore aspire to facilitate learning and communication , incorporating a novel perspective. Its name comes from there: they are illustrations that reflect the dynamics of thought .

The process of developing a mental map is simple: just find the key word or phrase, that is, the core of the map, and then derive related ideas and concepts, organizing them around as a subtitle, like a ring of ideas.

Each of these derived ideas will in turn trigger new subconcepts and so on successively, to the desired level of detail. Each concept or idea can be represented by words, letters, symbols or illustrations.

  1. Types of mind maps

Mind Map
Tree maps have the key theme at the top and subsequent ideas are declining.

Based on their appearance, mind maps can be of the following types:

  • Circular maps . Those who arrange their information in concentric rings around the keyword, in the manner of a circuit or a starfish.
  • Arboreal maps . Those who resemble a jellyfish: the key or main theme is at the top and subsequent ideas are declining.
  • Rainbow maps . Those with a diaphragm shape, which have the key theme at one end and subsequent ideas are displayed in each arc.
  • Honeycomb maps . It is structured based on four small six-sided cells in the center and eight around it, resembling a honeycomb. It is ideal for classifying information and ordering it from the inside out.
  1. Characteristics of mind maps

Mind maps are a versatile and dynamic tool that combines abstract and free thinking with the rigors of association . In that sense, it is an ideal practice for the exercise of memory and for academic learning, since it allows the student to organize knowledge in their own way.

On the other hand, in the elaboration of a mental map, different expressive mechanisms can be used: drawings, colors, signs, words, etc. This makes the mind map, at the same time, a sample of the way of thinking of the person who elaborates it, similar to the maps of the cities .

  1. Programs to make mind maps

Some online applications to build mind maps are:

  • MindMeister . Equipped with a premium version (4 U $ D) and a free version, it allows functionalities such as adding notes, collaborative work in real time, saving past versions, etc.
  • Mindomo . Also provided with a free and commercial version (6 U $ D), this online application allows you to create, edit and share mind maps with social network contacts .
  • Litpen . This web application is used to create honeycomb mind maps, it was launched in 2013 quickly and creatively.
  • WiseMapping . This free site combines vector technology (SVG and VLM) with the dynamism features of Web 2.0 .
  • Mind42 . An online mind mapping tool that has a very friendly interface, which allows you to incorporate images into the work by taking them from a local source, and allows you to preview web links that are part of the scheme.
  • . This page operates based on the technique of  brainstorming  ( brainstorming ) and has important features such as exporting mind maps in image format and incorporating them into any web page or blog.

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