Graphic Organizers-Mind Maps

Succeeding at distance learning, especially at one of the many accredited online schools, is different than succeeding in a standard classroom environment. When attending school online, you must be self-motivated. You must know and understand how to study. You do not have as much support from a peer group when attending online colleges, so you must use your own resources to determine what material your professor is most likely to emphasize on an exam.

There are several different methods of approaching the organization of material when taking a distance learning course. Creating a mind map, or a graphic organizer, is one key way of organizing all of the material you are learning for courses you are required to take to earn your online degrees.

The definition of a mind map encompasses several different methods of organizing ideas. The idea and methodology behind all of these different methods of mind mapping is the same: to represent ideas visually in order to understand how they flow together.

Most mind maps can be categorized into one of seven different types of mind maps:

A spider concept map resembles a spider web, with the main idea as the center of the web and all subsequent ideas flowing out from this center to create the threads. This type of map is helpful for distance learning classes that emphasize the relationships between different ideas. Using a spider concept map, you can quickly determine what the main theme of your online course is, and then work from there to understand the other concepts covered in your course. For those getting online college degrees in English or humanities, a spider concept map can also help you write papers since you can use the map to generate ideas that support your thesis. Here are some examples:

A cloud map, or a cluster map as it is sometimes called, is another very useful tool for distance learning. Students earning online degrees in English or humanities will find cloud maps especially useful, since cloud maps allow you to have many different ideas branching off of your central "cloud" or cluster. Here are some examples:

A fishbone map is used to understand cause and effect. This type of concept map is especially useful for distance learning classes that focus on history, or science. You can organize information about how one event triggered a whole series of other events, or about multiple causes and effects. Here are some examples of fishbone maps:

A flow chart is a helpful study aid for those taking distance learning classes that focus on sequences of events. A flow chart helps you keep track of how ideas move and expand from one to the other. LIke fishbone maps, flow charts are useful for those earning online degrees in history, science, and humanities. Here are some examples:

A continuum map or chain of events map demonstrates how events or consequences flow in a sequence or a continuum. This can be useful for distance learning classes that require you to understand the progression of time, or the steps of a process. Those earning online degrees in technical fields, history or humanities may find these especially useful. Here are some examples:

A graph is a method of representing data in visual form. Graphs are useful for almost all distance learning classes focusing on mathematics, statistics, or accounting. Those earning online degrees in science and mathematics will find graphs to be an valuable tool for organizing large amounts of data. Here are some examples:

Venn Diagrams are useful for distance learning courses that require you to understand how information is grouped. Venn Diagrams show the similarities and differences between different ideas and concepts. They are useful for people earning online degrees in science, humanities, legal studies, or any other field where complex information relates and overlaps.

Each of these different methods of mind mapping can help you to organize the large amounts of information provided in your distance learning classes.

Published: 2010-01-20