The secret to memorising large volumes of information is categories and hierarchies. Tony Buzan, the inventor of the Mind Map, calls it Basic Ordering Ideas in 'The Mind Map Book'.
Most subjects can be distilled into a few guiding principles, yet there are always volumes and volumes written on the subject.
Both are correct - and both are required.
You need the principles to organise and order your thoughts and you need the details for completeness and an in-depth understanding of the subject.
I will discuss this principle using our Learning Management Program as an example.
There are literally thousands of books written on the subject of learning. People spend their whole life learning Pedagogics, Andragogics, Didactics, Educational Psychology, Education Philosophy, Learning Theory, etc., etc.
Yet we have developed a simple 10 module Learning Management Program. How is this possible?
The secret lies in Basic Ordering Ideas, Principles, Categories and Hierarchies.
In our latest version, which will be published at the end of the month, we reduce the number of branches on the main Mind Map even further to four main branches.
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This goes against the principles of more is better. Many authors believe that the thicker the book, the more authority it will have.
You may have come to believe this as well. What if I told you that less is more? Would you believe me?
Let's explore how this is possible.
To understand this, you have to go into the basic principles of memory.
According to Tony Buzan, Categories and Hierarchies are the secret to a good memory. The categories should be the Key Concepts into which your Key Ideas can be organised. This in turn allows you to organise another set of ideas.
In a Mind Map, this naturally forms a hierarchy that is categorised. In our Learning Management Program Mind Map, each of the four main branches has one, or more, Mind Maps attached to it.
By using this hierarchical structure, organised into categories, you are best able to remember the principles that we are trying to put across.
This is what separates us from the thousands of academics and books on the subject.
If you learn how to be more effective with our program, you will end up with a few principles that guide you. Even if you apply only one principle effectively, you will be more successful.
Does this discredit all the academic literature on the subject? I don't think so.
We had to read volumes on the subject, try different learning methods, test it in the classroom, use it in the workplace and test it for self-study before we could crystalise it into these few modules.
This is the secret of knowledge management in today's Internet driven Information Age. You can Google just about any subject and get thousands, or even millions, of pages as a result, but how useful is this information?
The best way to make sense of all this, is to organise your thoughts into Categories and Hierarchies, or Basic Ordering Ideas.
Let's explore the principles of Basic Ordering Ideas even further.
In 'The Mind Map Book', Tony Buzan describes a case study done by Bower, Clark, Lesgold and Wimzenz in 1969, which demonstrated the importance of Categories and Hierarchies as an aid to memory.
In the experiment, the subjects were divided into two groups. Each group was shown four cards, with 28 words written on each card. They were later tested on their ability to recall the words.
Tony Buzan also describes another experiment in his landmark work, 'Use your Head'. Subjects were once again divided into two groups and told that they will be tested on the contents of a book.
The main reason for the different results, was that Group 2 was looking for Basic Ordering Ideas, while Group 1 was trying to remember everything.
Let's get back to our practical example, our Learning Management Program. The Learning Management Program has been organised into a few Basic Ordering Ideas that can be memorised in one sitting. By memorising the basic principles, you have a framework for the details.
This framework provides 'mental hooks' for your brain as you read through the details. By creating your own overview Mind Map and a Mind Map for the details, you will be able to learn, understand and remember the principles quickly and easily.
We provide you with an overview Mind Map of each module, or chapter, as well as the details, in our affordable Ebook.
But, as I've been saying for the past few weeks, we are also developing an interactive MindMapTutor, which has the Basic Ordering Ideas as branches in the Mind Map. But we are going even further; we are providing the details in the Mind Map as well, using text notes.
We are able to deliver this to you with the aid of XMind. You are able to use the OpenSource version to open our MindMapTutor and interactively explore our Learning Management Program.
More importantly, you able to expand on it and add your own thoughts and ideas to the subject, making it your own. By doing this, you will make yourself the centre of the learning process and therefore get maximum benefit from the program.
Basic Ordering Ideas provide the Key to creating good Mind Maps and the key to a good memory. Yet, it is not very easy for many to do. Taking a vast subject and reducing it to a few Key Concepts can be quite scary for you. You may fear that you will be missing too much if you only have a Mind Map of the Basic Ordering Ideas.
It is with this in mind that we are developing our series of MindMapTutors that can give you a head start. We will be producing MindMapTutors on many subjects that we know will interest you, based on the feedback that we are getting to articles on our websites.
These MindMapTutors will allow you to interact with the subject using Mind Maps and also allow you to add your own thoughts. In this way, you will learn to work with Basic Ordering Ideas and also become an expert Mind Mapper.
(By the way, you will also master the subject in the process.)