Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 97 - August 2013 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 4 minutes (average reader) - less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 935 To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us or read my book Brillaint Speed Reading.

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Welcome to the August 2013 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 how to make best use of time when Mind Mapping plus our regular features of quote of the month and what I’m up to.


August's Quote of the Month

"Lost wealth may be replaced by industry,
lost knowledge by study,
lost health by temperance or medicine,
but lost time is gone forever."

~ Samuel Smiles (23 December 1812 – 16 April 1904)
Scottish author and reformer

More quotes here


What's Phil Up To?

How to Memorise Equaions & Formulea cover


The UK Open Memory Championships takes place at the London Science Museum on August 22nd and 23rd so I am working on preparations for that.

I will also be launching my next book, “How to Remember Equations and Formulae” (see picture on the left) on 22nd August. This will be an eBook. I’ll give you more details in the September Newsletter.

Mind Mapping Tips - Speed and Efficiency

I received the following question recently and thought that my answer may be of more general interest so have based my main article around it.

“Although I can touch type and have iMindMap, the main turn-off and inefficiency of mind mapping, for me, is the time needed to conceive them, work out how much of one's study material (especially if it is dense) should be mind-mapped rather than simply memorised (obviously, the more mind maps one feels one has to draw, the more time has to be expended) and re-editing or re-doing them.

Might you offer me some advice at some point on how to do mind maps as efficiently as possible, please?

One thing that would make them easier is of course becoming pretty skilful with iMindMap and quick at importing the images most memorable to oneself into the map from the Internet.”

There are two distinct issues regarding the time taken to Mind Map.

1) Effectiveness of your use of time.

I cannot deny that Mind Mapping takes longer than typing linear notes, especially if you are a skilled touch typist. However, you have to take into account how effective you are. Let’s consider a Mind Map that takes an hour to create but helps you to understand a subject and remember the main points. You may be able to make linear notes on the same subject in 30 minutes. However it will most likely be less clear, confusing and unmemorable.

To memorise either a Mind Map or Linear notes you need to review. Psychological studies indicate that 5 reviews are necessary to transfer information into long term memory. Reviewing your ‘one hour Mind Map’ takes between 1 and 2 minutes (let’s assume 90 seconds) whereas reviewing linear notes is likely to take at least 5 minutes. So over the course of the five reviews the Mind Map takes 7.5 minutes and the linear notes take 25 minutes. In total Mind Mapping takes 1 hour 7.5 minutes. Linear notes take 55 minutes so the difference is less than a quarter of an hour. Mind Mapping will aid your understanding, give you a strong framework to integrate new knowledge in context so additional learning will be easier. Thus the benefits outweigh the extra time by far.

2) Speed of Mind Mapping

You can reduce the ‘one hour’ Mind Map significantly using iMindMap. This is accomplished with simple keyboard shortcuts.

If you press ENTER a new branch is created at the same level. If you press TAB a child branch is created one level out. You can navigate around the Mind Map using the arrow keys.

Your Mind Map may not look quite as elegant as a carefully considered freehand Map but it still retains an organic and very pleasant layout.

Images enhance Mind Maps, make them more pleasing to the eye and greatly improve memory. Whilst iMindMap has a vast array of built in clipart, I like to use Google images to find appropriate imagery. (You need to take care not to infringe copyright, especially if you intend to share the Mind Map). It is a simple matter to type in a keyword, select IMAGES to see lots of possibilities.

google images screenshot

Then ‘right mouse click’ on something you like and select ‘Copy Image’ from the menu,

images menu

Jump back into iMind Map and press CONTROL-V (or COMMAND-V on a Mac) to paste the image on the currently selected branch. Once you have created the Mind Map you can do a little tidying up by moving branches and resizing images but this will be minimal.

Mind Map of MATTER

Remember when Mind Mapping that you should only use key words, one to a line. You should only be looking to have enough information to trigger the recollection of the content in your imagination. Trust yourself! Don’t aim to record everything in minute detail as this will be little different to linear notes.

I hope that you can appreciate that with skilled use of the software, careful selection of the information you add to the Mind Map and appropriate review, learning, studying and revising become much easier.

That’s it for this month. I’ll be back in touch with the next newsletter in early September.

Best Wishes