Mind Mapping is the use of surface mental models or a stream of conscious approaches to explore ideas, stimulate creativity, ease the flow of communication, jump start a group discussion, improve memory, and enhance note taking.The model works by creating a mind map, a diagram that represents keywords and images representing ideas, tasks, or other concepts, arranged around and linked to a central key word or idea.
The strength of the mind mapping approach lies in its radial and non-linear style. This allows for easy cross-reference, which in turn, helps remembrance and review. A completed mind map resembles a tree diagram or a multi-armed octopus-like an alien. This project management tool is best understood by utilizing some mind mapping games.
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Developed in the late 1960s by Tony Buzan to help students make notes, the ability of mind maps to facilitate brainstorming accounts for its widespread use in project management and other management areas to generate and classify ideas, study and organize information, solve problems and plan strategies, develop processes, and make decisions in an intuitive way.
There are many commercial and free softwares programs that facilitate using mind maps and learning mind mapping techniques for project managers. One alternative way for project managers and other management staff to develop their mind mapping skills is through mind mapping games. The advantage of this approach is the fun and casual mode of learning that develops the person's generic critical thinking and logical skills while enabling them to gain competency in mind mapping at the same time.
Rules for Mind Maping Games
Most mind mapping games follow the basic rules, with minor variations:
- Step 1 – Identification of the central theme based on the given keyword and image. This is a critical area and most people will have varying intuitions.
- Step 2 – Brainstorming the associated keywords for five to ten minutes.
- Step 3 – Organizing the generated keywords from general to specific categories.
- Step 4 – Mapping the keyword by drawing lines out of the central theme, with each line representing a different aspect of the problem or issue.
- Step 5 – Expanding the map through branch lines emancipating from the main line to denote sub-issues. Each line and branch line requires labeling with the keywords, and optional images.
If all group members do individual mind maps on the same topic, asking each group member to predict the number of keywords common to all maps of the group and the number of unique keywords, makes for an interesting diversion.Other diversions of the game format includes selecting a theme and adding random keywords to the game board followed by throwing a dice on the board and following up on the keyword where the dice lands.
The criteria of success in mind map games depends on how fast the participant identifies the relevant keywords, classifies the same, and expands the map. Success depends on clear and logical thinking.
Most ready-made gaming boards have blank spaces with paper cards and labels that allow adding keywords. Mind map games can be played well enough with blank sheets of long paper and several colored pencils, to assign a unique color for each theme or branch.
Mind mapping games provide a fun, imaginative and creative way to utilize the concept of a mind map to develop critical thinking skills.
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