How To Use Mind Mapping Tools in eLearning
Mind maps are invaluable tools for eLearning professionals who want to incorporate high impact visual elements into their deliverables, as well as for online facilitators who are looking for ways to offer more interactive and effective eLearning experiences. Thanks to the variety of free mind mapping tools available online today, virtually anyone, even those who may not have previous design experience, can benefit from the many advantages that these tools can offer.
- Utilize mind mapping tools to develop your eLearning strategy.
Mind maps can be used in the development process, to help you better develop your eLearning course curriculum. Mind maps can be an invaluable brainstorming and planning tool, given that they enable you to carefully consider every aspect of your strategy and pick-and-choose which elements should be integrated into your eLearning course. They can also help you to determine the flow of your deliverable, which will provide you with structure moving forward. As a result, using mind maps in the development stage of your eLearning course can save you time and money, because you will be able to design the eLearning course more quickly and cost efficiently.
- Integrate mind maps into your eLearning course to give a general overview to your learners.
Why not use mind maps to let your learners know exactly where the eLearning course is headed and what will be covered in each lesson or module? Mind maps are not linear, so they aren't necessarily ideal for course progression displays. However, if you want to give your learners the opportunity to explore certain branched topics or to get a general overview of the skills or ideas that will be covered in the eLearning course, then mind maps are a great option.
- Keep mind map entries clear and succinct.
Every entry in your mind map should be concise and clear. Preferably, you'll want to keep the entries very brief and to-the-point. The learners will be able to click on the word or sentence itself in order to access a more in depth explanation, so the mind map should only serve as a guide or summary of where each section of the eLearning course will lead them.
- Boost learner interaction by encouraging mind map modification during the eLearning course.
One of the most significant benefits of using mind maps in online education is that they can be modified by your learners. So, you can encourage each of your learners to modify the mind map if they feel as though they can offer insight into the topic, or even ask questions about its contents. If you do so, you boost the interactivity of the eLearning course and make learners feel that they are active participants within the learning experience. If you are looking for more ways to boost learner interactivity, you can find invaluable tips in the article 7 Tips To Develop a Successful Interactive eLearning Strategy.
- Ask learners to share mind maps and offer feedback.
Mind mapping tools not only give you the opportunity to share mind maps with learners, but also allow learners to share their mind map projects with their peers. Peers, in fact, can offer invaluable feedback which can enable learners to revise or add to their mind maps, making it a more effective learning tool. This can also facilitate group interaction and discussion, which is always welcomed in online learning environments.
- Assess learners by creating mind-map based exams and quizzes.
Create assessments that are centered around mind maps in order to determine whether or not your learners have fully absorbed information. For example, you can develop a mind map that is partially blank, so that learners will have to recall prior knowledge to complete it. You can also use this particular mind mapping tip after live training events or virtual learning sessions.
- Include informative resource links in clickable attachments.
You can direct learners to helpful articles, online resource guides, and websites by including links in the mind map. In fact, rather than creating clickable pages that can be accessed via the mind map, you can simply direct them to other sites through the entries themselves. However, if it is necessary to create pages that can be reached through the mind map entries, you can add resource links to these in order to make them even more informative and engaging.
- Ensure that your mind map is accessible on mobile platforms.
When you use mind mapping tools, you should verify that your mind map can be viewed and/or edited on a variety of platforms, especially mobile devices. Given that many learners may be learning on-the-go, it's always best to offer them the convenience of being able to access learning materials on their phones or tablets.
- Keep your design cohesive throughout all elements of the mind map.
Be sure to keep the same font, theme, and design layout consistent throughout the map. This also applies to the pages the learners will be accessing through the main entries of the mind map itself. Each and every aspect of the mind map should effectively convey your brand image and message.
- Make mind maps the focus of online discussions and training events.
If you hold regular virtual training events or online discussions (such as through Google Hangout or online forums), mind maps can become the center of the conversation. Upload the mind map in advance, and then use the map as a guide during the discussion. Ask the learners questions based upon the map's entries, and then encourage them to talk about it amongst themselves. This boosts both learner engagement and peer collaboration. In the article 5 Tips To Boost Engagement in the Virtual Classroom you can find additional tips to boost learner engagement.
Using these simple and straightforward mind map tool tips can allow you to create mind maps that take your learners one step closer to their eLearning goals. Find the mind mapping tool that meets your needs and take the time to experiment with its functions and features, so that you can determine how mind maps will best fit into your eLearning strategy.
If you'd like to read more about mind mapping tools in eLearning, the article 5 Best Free Mind-Mapping Tools not only highlights the best free mind mapping tools, but also explains how to use them.