Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Charting your way to new knowledge

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Star Trek. So it hits the spot to compare knowledge processing to surveying a new planet!
Which is all a long-winded way of getting to what it says on that page:
In problem-based learning, each student group is like a party of explorers entering new territory. As a group they decide what neighboring areas they should reconnoiter, the individual members scout these areas and return to describe things they discovered that are relevant to the party’s interests. It is important in this process that the scouts know what they are looking for (have well-defined learning issues). In this effort, each member learns different things that get integrated and used to make decisions. Not all of the information will be transmitted to the others. When the expedition is over and the party needs to summarize their explorations, they draw a map that captures the important features of the territory. This would correspond to a PBL group constructing a concept map. The instructor or tutor serves as a native guide in this analogy.
This is from the University of Delaware's Chemistry department, and I found it after doing a Wikipedia search on "Mind Mapping".

What got me started?

I don't often visit Creating Passionate Users, one of the blogs on my blogroll, but when I do, it's usually for a long time!

This time it was for some research into working spaces for an article I'm writing, but as sometimes happens, something else caught my eye.

That article was quite interesting, but what interested me more was this:
"We don't use the concept of a conventional "outline" for our books--mind maps take us from initial brainstorming to final storyboards."
This is one of those things that is so obvious, yet I don't put it into practice. I've been frustrated with the limitations of outlines for a long time, but never put the time in to discover how to get the best out of mind maps.

So further down in the article I found a link to some free mind-mapping software, and then a quick Wikipedia search on the term "mind-mapping" and its cousin "concept mapping" ... and the rest is history.

Happy mapping!

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