If you haven’t ever tried mind mapping tools, you may be surprised at how valuable they are in helping people learn.

My first introduction to the technique was over 20 years ago at a presentation by David Thornburg, author of Unlocking Personal Creativity: A Course in Idea Mapping. In those days we used paper and color pencils to be creative.

One of the exercises I currently use in teaching Effective Time Management for Library Staff online for Infopeople involves mind mapping. The goal of the exercise is to create a life map, i.e. a visual recap of the roles one plays in life. Below is my most recent life map. I designed it using Inspiration software. There is a free 30 day trial download available for both Macintosh and Window users.


Here’s another mind map I also did using Inspiration for one of my courses; I loved having such a wide variety of shapes, colors and graphics. This map recaps a concept from Many Moons by James Thurber—that each of us has a unique perception of what exists. If you missed the book when you were young, be sure to look for it at your local library.


If this quick look didn’t give you enough of a flavor of the technique, I suggest you look at the Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps tutorial by Joyce Wycoff, author of Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving.

And for those of you willing to try a free web 2.o mind mapping tool, there is Bubbl. Below is a simple example I did as a very simple introduction to Bubbl for my time management course participants.