Metacognition is thinking about thinking. The technique of mind mapping can be utilized to make metacognition more functional by providing a way of organizing thinking.
Mind mapping was invented by Tony Buzan (2010) and is based on a graphic representation of information we would like to have available to us. That our sense of vision triumphs over all other senses for humans has been well-established (Medina, 2008). If we take a topic and represent it as a series of related facts we can gain a mental image of how the information is interrelated. We can explain and understand a large amount of information if it is properly organized. If information is properly organized then metacognition will be enhanced.
Mind Maps can be used for note-taking, studying, assessing information, research, and prioritizing what we want to work on (Sweet, et. al., 2017)
Historically, gold and diamonds were very valuable. Partly because of their scarcity but also because of their unique properties; gold is very slow to oxidize and gives up electrons freely, and diamonds are very hard. Today, based on physical space, information is the most valuable commodity on the planet. Nicholas Negroponte, in the book Being Digital (1995), points out that we can put the collective intelligence of all mankind on a single CD. This CD would be very valuable, more than gold or diamonds. However, in our busy world we often feel overloaded by information and mind mapping makes us the manager of knowledge giving us a tool to manage how the brain works by organizing the information effectively.
Mind mapping takes advantage of images and associations between information. We need to gain awareness and control of our thinking, remembering, attention, perception, and learning. The basic idea of a mind map is to start with an image in the center which is the main idea. Then, radiate out with curved lines main ideas much like chapter ideas. We would connect to these second-level ideas and single words or pictures. The process continues to third and fourth levels or more adding related associative information.
Consider that a Scientist is, by definition, one who follows an experimental method to work on what-if questions. The problem would be at the center of a mind map and the associated steps are the tools and the data that would follow at various levels.
How memory works has long been a concern and area of research (Lashley, 1937). The Moser scientists won a Nobel Prize (2014) for being the first to hypothesized that animals have an abstract map of space inside their brain. Grid cells have been identified to show that this is true. Mind Maps area the organizational tool for the human map in our brain. Mind Mapping with metacognitive reflections would enhance memory and learning.
Buzan T.,(2010). The Mind Mao Book. Harlow, United Kingdom.
Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Sweet, C., Blythe, H., & Carpenter, R. (2017). Mind mapping: A technique for metacognition. Teaching with Metacognition, 1-4.
Negroponte N. (1995). Being Digital. Alfred A. Knopf Publisher.
Lashley K., (1937).Functional Determinants of Cerebral Localization. Arch Neurpsych.38(2):371–387.
Moser M. and Moser E. (2014). Nature, Vol. 514, Pages: 154–157.