Over the last number of weeks, DigiKnow have been looking at Learning Apps such as:

The Learning App we chose this week covers Mind Mapping. In this blog post, we will cover what is mind mapping? Where mind mapping is used. Advantages and Apps that can be used.

Let’s get started!

What is mind mapping?

This can be considered as a visual representation of ideas around a central theme (or hub). Mind maps typically have a hierarchy and allow for ‘spokes’ to connect to outlying ideas/concepts or themes.

If you have ever heard of stream of consciousness, train of thought, inner monologue, word painting, etc. These are all different terms for Mind Mapping.

Where is mind mapping used?

Through using Mind Maps, creativity and productivity can both be increased. By mapping out themes, this generates further ideas to be investigated and relationships between themes can be identified.

Maps can be hand drawn or digitally assisted for the capture of themes which spring from the initial concept. These are considered non-linear and they are a visual aid in the capturing of notes / planning and ideas.

From the initial concept, secondary and tertiary levels of concepts can be identified. These form a connected nodal structure.

The use of Mind Maps can be in conjunction with brain storming, problem solving, thinking through complex problems, note-taking, summarizing information or project planning. The application of Mind Mapping is broad.

It’s not just text in Mind Maps. You can insert icons and other visuals to better convey ideas and/or capture notes. The use of Mind Maps are a good form of non-linear note-taking and can act as a study/revision aid to students.

The YouTube video below demonstrates the use of Mind Maps in class.

Advantages of Mind Mapping

One of the biggest advantages of Mind Mapping is the adaptability of mapping, i.e., planning, notes, lists, etc.

Once a central theme is noted, ideas can be generated. This is a good team exercise and is an efficient way of capturing and exploring ideas. Albeit, it is a snapshot of time, the simple mind map can be a way of focusing thoughts and keeping information concise.

On the flip side, disadvantages include the text limitations and it can be time consuming and it’s not easy to have everyone in the same space and time to mind map.

If you’re a logical/linear thinker, reading mind maps may not come naturally.

Mind mapping Apps

As with anything digital, there is more than one available tool. Here, we have listed a few Mind Map Apps which can be considered:

  • Miro Mind Map
  • MindMaps
  • MindMeister

These Apps all perform similar functions, i.e., they allow for expansion and listing of ideas around a central theme. Branches of the ideas can be colour coded and further defined.

Miro and MindMeister allow for collaboration with other users. All the above options have a level of free usage and sharing. Do check the Terms and Conditions but it’s typically three free diagrams.

Miro Mind Map

As an App, Miro Mind Map has a free option for the creation and use of up to three diagrams/boards. It does allow for 1+ team members to view / collaborate in real-time with the added security feature of authentication via Google / Office 365 and Slack.

If you need more usability, the basic pricing is $8 per month (Team package) but has a wealth of features, i.e., more people can collaborate in real-time. Other features include:

  • Allows for comments and viewing in real-time (versus just viewing)
  • Allows for Video chat and private board sharing
  • Voting
  • Custom template sharing

This is a free to use, open source, multi-platform online tool with colour coding for branching/themes. The MindMaps App doesn’t appear to allow for online collaboration but will allow for Mind Maps to be saved and/or exported to PNG format (Portable Network Document), however, it is Ad Free.

The other benefits it boasts are saving the Map to your device or to the cloud (Google Drive and/or Dropbox and more).


MindMeister’s free account allows for the creation, collaboration and sharing of three Mind Maps. If you need to create more than three, pricing starts at £4.99 per month but allows for unlimited mapping, file and image attachments, exporting to PDF, etc.

This works across multiple devices and platforms (iOS, Windows, Android, etc.).


There are a wealth of digital tools available for ideas generation and capture. It would be impossible to mention them all here but a few others you can look into include (both for online and devices):

  • Coggle
  • Bubbl.us
  • Ayoa
  • SimpleMind
  • XMind

Do have a look around the Internet and Apple/Google stores for Mind Mapping tools. You will find something to suit your needs.


As this blog has pointed out, there’s more than one tool for the job of Mind Mapping. There are many free Mind Map tools out there and many offer collaboration with others across multiple platforms and devices.

Whether you are the sole author or part of team collaborating on Mind Maps, there are tools solutions (free and paid) that you can consider. Ultimately, mind maps allow you to organise your content (possibly into lists). This in itself allows for exploration along individual themes whilst maintaining collated information for future viewing.

Next week

Our blog post next Monday will be look at Padlet as a teaching/learning aid. Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are now released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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