Mind mapping: A tool to facilitate learning; why not give it a try?

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Schools of nursing continuously strive to facilitate learning through student engagement and teaching strategies that encourage active learning. This paper reports on the successful use of mind mapping, an underutilised and underdeveloped strategy, to enhance teaching and learning in undergraduate nurse education (Spencer et al., 2013). Mind mapping or concept mapping has been defined in the literature as a visual representation of one’s thoughts and ideas (Abel and Freeze, 2006). It is characterised by colour, images and text in a graphical, nonlinear style. Mind maps promote the linking of concepts and capitalise on the brain’s natural aptitude for visual recognition to enhance learning and memory recall (Buzan, 2006). Traditional teaching strategies depend on linear processes, which in comparison lack engagement, associations and creativity (Spencer et al., 2013). Mind mapping was introduced to nursing students undertaking modules in ‘Dimensions of Care’ and ‘Care Delivery’ on year two of the nursing degree programme in Queen’s University Belfast. The aim of introducing mind mapping was to help students make the critical link between the pathophysiology of conditions studied and the provision of informed, safe and effective patient care, which had challenged previous student cohorts. Initially maps were instructor-made as described by Boley (2008), as a template for note taking during class and as a study aid. However, students rapidly embraced the strategy and started creating their own mind maps. Meaningful learning occurs when students engage with concepts and organise them independently in a way significant to them (Buzan, 2006). Students reported high levels of satisfaction to this teaching approach. This paper will present examples of the mind maps produced and explore how mind mapping can be further utilised within the undergraduate nursing curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sep 2014
EventNET 2014, 25th International Networking for Healthcare Education Conference - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 02 Sep 201404 Dec 2014


ConferenceNET 2014, 25th International Networking for Healthcare Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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