Mind Maps as a New Teaching Strategy for Medical Students
Ghada A Abdel Hamid
MOJ Anatomy & Physiology
Theories Active learning methods, as problem-based learning, casebased teaching, didactic learning and web-based teaching are recognized strategies to stimulate student's critical thinking  . These strategies aid students to learn and eventually integrate information  . These learning strategies differ in efficiency and applicability, but they are in the same conceptual framework which is the constructivist theory of learning. This learning theory states that learning with understanding,
... appens when learners integrate new information with their current knowledge. Constructivism underlies mind mapping and concept mapping as learning strategies which are promising approaches in the setting of medical education  . Students are expected to master large amounts of information. There are restricted learning strategies accessible to these students to memorize and recall essential information to succeed in their medical colleges. When medical students received very large amount of information, passive learning will result  . Passive learning is a learning strategy that focus on memorization without an effort to understand and connect information. Passive learners lack cognitive motivation through the learning process, and do not connect between information units. In contrast, active learning involves the learner in activities that encourage meaningful learning . Mind maps and concept maps are active learning approaches that involve the learner in the learning process, and permit the learner to integrate information actively on a metacognitive level . Students remember facts rather than understanding and applying concepts. We must prepare students for self-directed learning through creating learning tools which will allow students to think and establish ideas. A learning approach is a thinking tool which enables the student to use and acquire information actively. Several learning approaches have been used as traditional note taking, mind maps, concept maps and flow charts [9,10]. Mind Mapping Versus Concept Mapping The concept of mapping strategy, was established by Joseph Novak which has a hierarchical order that allows one to relate the linking of words or concepts together. It showed the relation between concepts in a top-down diagram which contain cross connections between concepts  . Although concept maps widely used in classrooms were efficient in student learning for numerous topics, they have disadvantages, that include: A. They are not suitable for developing practical skills, B. They present difficulties in presenting large number of items because of the arrows and boxes formatting; C. They are a slow visualization technique; and D. There is no template for a concept map, so it represent the student's own understanding of ideas, which may be incorrect. Beside the concept map strategy, there is the mind map, which helps the student to visualize, interpret and understand information. A mind map is a diagram which represents words, concepts, ideas, or other items related to the topic. Although the mind map, as a learning strategy, has not been extensively used in medical education, the latest research recommends using mind mapping in learning as it increases medical students longterm memory. Moreover, mind mapping is a multi-sensory tool which uses visual orientation to assimilate information and, subsequently, help students to recall information in an organized manner  . Mind maps as a teaching tool have been used to encourage critical thinking by inspiring students to assimilate information and understand relations between the clinical and basic sciences  . In the application of the mind map, addition of colors and pictures facilitate memory  , and enables the student to have linear -and visual -oriented learning styles. A mind map is a Mini Review Learning strategies in traditional medical education are lectures, tutorials and practical techniques. A learning strategy is a thinking method that a student uses to acquire actively information as charts, and maps . Diverse learning strategies in medical education, have been applied over the years. Casestudies are used to improve student's integration skills , while problem-based learning are used to teach students to be selfdirected learners  . Learning strategies in medical education are based on a theoretical learning theory which is the constructivist theory where, learners integrate new information within their current frameworks. The learner in the constructivist theory will assimilate the information into an individual Kevin framework so it will be reserved and lead to meaningful learning  .