Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 11 - April 2006 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 3 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 651. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the April issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month, as well as our regular quote of the month and Mind Mapping tip, we share some ideas on how to extract the main points from a number of books in the shortest possible time.

Quote of the Month

"Books are the carriers of civilization.
Without books, history is silent,
literature dumb, science crippled,
thought and speculation at a standstill."

Henry David Thoreau
(1817 - 1862)

For many more quotes click here.

Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

Link related ideas in different parts of your Mind Map using simple symbols, like stars, triangles, squares or circles. Simply put the star (or whatever) next to each occurrence of the idea or word. This has the benefit that you can show links on opposite sides of the Mind Map without having to draw long arrows

For another 100 tips on Mind Mapping see "101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps" by Phil Chambers, available from our online shop, click here.

The Book Blitz:
How to rapidly Mind Map the contents of a number of books.

This technique is very powerful, especially if you are studying and have a large reading list but little time to get through it. I remember at university, before I learned this technique, spending weeks of the summer vacation reading about intermolecular forces - Not the most enjoyable use of my time!

The process follows a number of simple steps:

•  With a group of friends or colleagues divide up the reading list - One book each. Everyone tackles their book simultaneously and then reports back to the group thereby multiplying the number of books that you can learn about in any given time. The power of Mind Maps to summarise information makes this possible.

•  With your book look at the cover and decide on your central image.

•  Open the book and look at the contents list. Usually textbooks are quite well put together. They have sections divided into chapters and sometimes summaries. Before you even start to read the text you can add main branches (i.e. section headings) and second level branches (i.e. titles of chapters) to your Mind Map.

•  Next spend some time going though the book looking for headings within the text. If there are graphs, main points in boxes or summaries these can be reduced to key words and added to the Mind Map.

•  You can then speed-read the beginnings and end of paragraphs where the majority of information is concentrated. Add any additional detail to the Mind Map

You will find that within two or three hours you will have a one-page summary of about 80% of the book. This is far more than the average student will remember from reading every word.

The final step is to photocopy your Mind Map (and those of all your friends who have been doing the same thing with their books). Each person spends about 15 minutes explaining their Mind Map to the group while everyone else adds colour and notes to the photocopy thereby personalising and understanding it.

If there are six of you in the group you will cover six books in four and a half hours! Even allowing for breaks and an hour for lunch this can easily be accomplished in a day.


That's all for this month. If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me.