Learning a language can be a tricky and fickle process for both the learner and the teacher. There can be many reasons that leads to the slow transfer of knowledge between a language teacher and language learner. That being said. Learning a language is a two-way street (relationship) between the learner and the teacher. The amount of knowledge gained per lesson by the language learner hinges on his/her preferential learning method in tandem with the teaching style of the language teacher.


For some teachers who have honed their professional skills after years of practice, these instructors find ingenious ways that are unique and have been researched to help students learn in a better way. But not all students are quick to grasp the new and foreign concepts and grapple with their studies. So, what are these hapless pupils to do if they wish to be on par with others in this competitive world?


Recently, there has been a reemergence of the technique commonly called as ‘mind mapping’. This method can help learners and educationalists to better organize their thoughts thus improve the overall learning process.


This article will take you through the many advantages of mind mapping, and how it can be effectively used and created as a tool to mastering difficult language concepts. As well, this article will explain how mind mapping can make the overall learning experience easier.



Origins of Mind Map


The notion of mind mapping has been in use for centuries, but it was in 1994 that Tony Buzan published all his research and findings on the subject in his book, ‘The Mind Map Book’. He enumerated the steps that can be followed to design a Mind Map, either through a software or by simply using pen and paper [4]. The online tools available in the domain have added benefits, particularly in today’s time where most everything is done over the Internet. It all depends on the comfort and ease of the user and whichever way they find more productive [1].



What is a Mind Map?


Put in simple words, a mind map is a diagram of sorts, inclusive of all the information one requires to learn, put together in one place in a branched and interconnected meshwork. It allows the learner to comprehend large quantities of information while also enhances the retentive power, so that the learner can recall all the important concepts without problem [2].


In essence, it is a way to navigate through one’s thoughts [5]. It is a depiction of the sorting mechanism employed by the brain, by linking together various ideas. At the center is the main idea, in the form of an image or word, and emanating from this are more associated words and information. Depending on the depth of the idea, supplementary notions can be attached to form a never-ending network [4].



Advantages of Mind Mapping



  • Stimulating the Brain


When we’re learning something, like a language, we’re diligent in note-taking. Although many of us will write such messy notes that finding any adequate piece of information can be a difficult chore. A mind map is one such innovative alternative that saves both time and the trouble it would take to skim across copious notes in search of relevant information. Especially during revision, instead of wading through the stack of notes, through the use of mind maps you can easily go through all the important ideas while also boosting the activity of your brain through this resourceful and imaginative way [2].


  • Participation Mind Mapping


Similarly, it is helpful during brainstorming sessions where members need only list their ideas and then connect them together to come up with a brilliant scheme [1]. Online mind maps are also gaining credence and popularity in building teamwork and collaboration among groups and even in classrooms. Such participative endeavors are a very interactive way of learning and exemplify the entire experience of e-learning. For language learners who rely on visual representation of information are very appreciative of such a display of knowledge as it is relatively easier for them to understand [3].


  • Organizational Pursuits


Language teachers can also utilize mind maps for various organizational purposes. Teachers can efficiently conduct and arrange lesson and syllabus plans as well as prepare exam layouts. Such a scheme assists us to think in a nonlinear manner by considering an idea from all sides, gaining precious insight and new dimensions. From assembling massive amount of information, to problem solving, or collaborations and management, the possibilities are endless [2].


The “bigger picture” is brought into perspective by using mind maps allowing for a quicker recall, simplified concepts, productive collaborations and enhanced creativity [6]. Similarly, the time needed to get a task done can be greatly reduced, by featuring information in a simple yet detailed manner [4].



Creating a Mind Map


There are two ways to create a mind map for whatever purpose; you can draw it or utilize online software tools. Either way, the central idea remains the same.


Highlight the central idea in a square or circle; this is the central node. Originating from this are the revolving ideas relating to the main topic, the headings if you will, and are to be represented through bold branches. Sub-branches (or known as sub-headings) would then arise, providing supplementary ideas. Images are generally incorporated to better illuminate an idea. Links between all the branches are encouraged so as to form a connected whole [2].


Make use of keywords that can be associated with the pictures you are using, but limit them to no more than seven, because research indicates that this is the amount our working memory can store. Similarly, colors can be utilized to make the entire process more creative as well as allowing you to lump together similar related concepts in the same hue [4].





One another advantage of mind mapping is that it can also be employed when learning a new language. It would make the entire ordeal less complicated while also helping the learner progress and pick up the language with great alacrity.


italki is one such platform that allow you to make the most of your language learning experience by assisting you through it. They introduce you to various tutors and experts that are very knowledgeable on the ways through which a person can increase their memory capabilities and utilize methods such as mind maps to facilitate the user. Reach out to italki and make the most of your learning journey.





[1]. 4 Benefits of Mind Mapping

[2]. Top Revision Tips: Using Mind-Maps

[3]. Top 5 Ways to Use Mind Maps for E-Learning

[4]. Everything you ever wanted to know about Mind Mapping

[5]. Mind mapping and its benefits

[6]. The 7 Benefits of Mind Mapping


Hero image by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash