Cognitive Mind Mapping

April 30, 2011

in Articles

Howard Gardner, MacArthur fellow and Harvard University professor, challenged the traditional views on intelligence.

IQ tests were the traditional measure, but Gardner expanded the view of intelligence to include eight more areas. This is because "book" or "school" smarts don’t always translate well into the rest of society. Nerds and geeks often don’t do well in the business world. As for relationships…how many jokes are there about engineers or accountants with no personality?

Basically, Gardner showed that there are different types of intelligence. He uses a lot of big words so we’ve translated it for you.

  1. Visual Spatial: the ability to visualize relationships between objects or ideas in your mind
  2. Linguistic: the ability to use words and language. Writing or talking about something so people understand you
  3. Mathematical: recognising patterns and number systems.
  4. Body – Kinesthetic: athletics and gymnastics. This also combines elements of drama and dance
  5. Musical-Rhythmic: the ability to recognize audio patterns and sounds, as well as rhythms and beats.
  6. Interpersonal: the capacity for person-to-person communications and relationships.
  7. Intrapersonal: the spiritual, inner states of being, self-reflection, and awareness.
  8. Naturalist: understanding the natural world and using this ability (for example in hunting, farming or biological science).

Click to download this Mind Map document.

In terms of business and education, traditional schooling still prefers items 1, 2 and 3. However, Gardner suggests a school that incorporates the arts, self-awareness, communication and physical education is far more balanced. Systems such as Steiner and Montessori are an example of these more balanced ideas.

Gardner also said that school should appeal to these different intelligences. Some students learn better by role playing, musical performance, cooperative learning, reflection, visualization, story telling and so on. Not everyone learns best by reading a textbook and completing a test.

This is where Mind Mapping can make all the difference!

Look at the life-changing power of NovaMind Mind Mapping in this user testimonial:

"One of the most brilliant pieces of work I have ever seen"

Today I purchased NovaMind and it marks the beginning of a new life for me.

Your software has changed my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I downloaded the trial and I knew right away that this was "the one".

It is my opinion that your software design and concept ranks among the most brilliant pieces of work I have ever seen. The one suggestion I would offer is to have more tutorials like the one video you have about tasks and resources. For me, video instruction makes a big difference in my ability to quickly learn things. I would like to "master" your program quickly because it is so important for my work and life

Anyway…thanks for creating this product.

Tom C.

Putting Cognition and Multiple Intelligence Theory into Practice

Different people learn in different ways. Because mind maps are individual and personal, they bring the learning materials right into what is most comfortable for you. You can use color, icons, graphics and your own words to make sure you understand what’s going on. You can change the way it looks until it makes sense – even if the person next to you doesn’t like it!

For example, suppose we are working with a set of individuals who are more comfortable in areas 4, 5 and 6. This person is not going to respond well when confronted with massive amounts of text or when they hear a boring speech on a strange topic.

It’s much better to appeal to their strengths by creating mind maps that excite your sense of flow (lines that are fluid), wholeness (able to see things at a glance), and need for physicality (maps that can be printed out or flash cards that can be handled). Learning that emphasizes your unique preferences will be significantly more successful than learning that does not consider these preferences at all.

And so it goes with each of the intelligences Gardner has put forward. Mind maps that make use of our personal approaches will mean a far greater opportunity for individual success.

Using Learning Styles to Encourage Cognition

Another advancement in our understanding of cognition has come through acknowledging the preferences all people have in how they perceive and process information.

There have been four main learning styles observed and one style typically dominates in each person when learning something new.

They are:

  • Concrete Perceivers (right brain): This group absorbs information through practical experience like doing, acting, sensing and feeling.
  • Abstract Perceivers (left brain): This group takes in information through analysis, observation and thinking.
  • Active Processors (right brain): This group makes sense of an experience by immediately using the new information
  • Reflective Processors (left brain): This group makes sense of an experience by contemplating and thinking about it.

The Mind Map Advantage When Applying Learning Styles

As an educator, you would be aware that all students learn in different ways. Some are very different.

The new element here is how to apply them to Mind Mapping.

The opportunity and the power for educators lies in modifying your teaching to suit various styles quite naturally rather than limiting instruction to outdated concepts of "smart". An effective teacher will try to identify which learning technique is most appropriate for which students, and utilize tools like Mind Mapping to make sure they are appealing to the student’s particular strengths. Fortunately, Mind Mapping is a perfect tool because it appeals not only to the teacher’s strengths, but the student’s strengths as well.

The logical-minded person can rank ideas and link them together. The more socially-minded students can work together and share ideas. The artistic students can customise their mind maps with colors, graphics and make the information really come alive!

When you understand how many things can be mind-mapped, from field trips to research projects, for example, you will see how mind maps really do become powerful in the classroom.

Using the Mind Mapping Toolset to Best Advantage

Flexibility is the real advantage of using NovaMind. You can tailor it to suit every situation and gain a huge advantage in terms of learning and teaching.

The NovaMind toolset comes with a greatly expressive and varied graphic library, flexibility in layout, keywords that can be graphics as well as movement via NovaMind Presenter.

Every individual’s Mind Mapping of their experience will customise and amplify their understanding of things as well as their capacities for personal expression.

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