Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 105 - April 2014 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 3 minutes (average reader) - less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 717 To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us or read my book Brilliant Speed Reading.

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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.

In this edition of the newsletter we have an article on Mind Mapping for remembering what you have forgotten, plus our regular features of quote of the month and What I’m up to.


April's Quote of the Month

"Did you ever stop to think,
and forget to start again?

~ A. A. Milne

More quotes here


What's Phil Up To?

I attended the Italian and Welsh Open memory Championships in my capacity as Chief Arbiter of the World Memory Sports Council. Both events were well run and an enjoyable experience.

In the run up to Easter I will be concentrating on writing projects and new course design. More details next month.


Happy Birthday To Us!

Learning Technologies was incorporated on 23rd April 1999 so we will be celebrating one and a half decades in business this month. With 1 in 3 startup businesses failing in their first three years we are proud of our first 15 years. Thank your for your continuing support.


What Has The Search For Flight MH370 Got To Do With Mind Mapping and Memory?

Recently the news has been dominated by the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared on 8th March. My heart goes out to the relatives of the 293 passengers on the flight. It is truly tragic.

Channel 4 News in the UK reports, “There has been plenty of talk in Australia over the last few weeks of needles and haystacks – how the search for missing flight MH370 is principally about finding the right haystack, never mind the needle.” The key to discovering the whereabouts of the plane, finding wreckage, and crucially the black box flight recorder, is to narrow the search area.

This set me thinking. When you recall a memory, your brain searches though the billions of pieces of data you have accumulated in your life and instantaneously locates the correct fact, almost effortlessly. Occasionally it fails and you have a missing memory. That illusive information is lost in the vast ocean of your mind. How can you narrow the search area?

Mind Mapping can help you piece together the clues in your search for the memory. Start with a blank space in the centre that represents that thing you are searching for. It can be any lost data but let’s assume it is someone’s name.

One of the key factors at the start of the plane investigation was identifying its location when contact was lost. When was the last time you saw this person? The brain is particularly good at remembering ‘last’ or ‘most recent’ things – called the ‘recency effect’. Add this information on a main branch.

Another important factor is where the plane was heading on take off. Your memory is especially strong for ‘firsts’ - Your first love affair, your first car, etc. When was the first time you met this person? Add this to your Mind Map too.

The investigators of the missing plane have also tried to collect other information such as satellite images. Add branches with any further information about your ‘forgotten’ person. For example, age, gender, appearance, voice, hobbies, family, profession, achievements, likes and dislikes. Memory is an associative process and thus the more associations you can generate the greater the likelihood of triggering recall.

If you find it too time consuming or inconvenient to go through the process of creating a physical Mind Map you can visualise the same structure in your mind’s eye on an imaginary screen.

I don’t know if the Australian or Malaysian authorities are using Mind Maps to coordinate their search efforts but in both large and small scale challenges they can make a major difference.

Mind Map to Rememner a Name


That's all for this month. Look out for the next edition in May.

Best Wishes