Online collaboration has become very popular in both education and business. We now have the ability to easily and freely share all file types using different cloud-based platforms. People working collectively on a project or assignment no longer need to be in the same room or even in the same country for that matter.
Collaborative platforms have enabled educators to create online learning environments where students can benefit from sharing ideas and communicating with each other, their mentors and external organizations.
Mind Mapping and Online Collaboration
Mind maps are an excellent method for individuals to graphically represent and structure ideas or thoughts. It is a very valuable tool which can be used for project management, creating to-do lists, idea generation, planning articles or papers.
When used as an online collaboration tool, mind mapping also gives students a platform to work simultaneously on an idea, and a facility for learning together. Introducing mind mapping to students is a great way to encourage group participation and when managed properly, will generate great results.
Benefits of Collaborative Tools in the Classroom
- Improved communication between students, lecturers, and research groups
- Facilitates visual thinking, promotes critical thinking
- Supports collaborative group projects
- Prepares for team work in a business environment
- Maps and files can easily be accessed from school and from home
Collaborative Mind Mapping Uses
Using mind mapping for collaboration presents students with the opportunity to share ideas with peers and to think creatively through social inspiration. Here are just some of the situations where mind mapping can be used as a solution for online collaboration:
- Managing group projects
- Class assignments
- Sharing lecture notes
- Brainstorming sessions
- Study sessions
- Group presentations
The video below is an example of how multiple users can collaborate on one map – they’re creating an IKEA shopping list for their office. All changes to the mind map can be seen in real-time by all collaborators
Mind Mapping Example: Project Management
Next time you are conducting group projects in your classroom, encourage students to use a mind map from the beginning. To get started, students can follow these easy steps:
- Create a mind map with the title of the project
- Invite all teams members to be collaborators
- Have a brainstorming session with all collaborators
At this point, they should have a map with many topics, ideas, and tasks to be completed. The next step is to appoint a team leader who can:
- Sort and structure all of the information in the map
- Delegate tasks, create deadlines and set reminders for each member
Once this has been completed students will have very quickly created a project plan and a great starting point for the project.
Online mind mapping software such as MindMeister also supports smartphones and tablets, meaning that students can access and work on their maps anywhere, anytime.
Online collaboration is becoming ever more important and is being used by businesses all over the world to increase productivity and creativity. Following the principle that two brains are better than one, many companies are taking advantage of new software being made available to them. Collaborating online has many benefits in education but it is also very important that students are prepared for such working environments after their studies.
New online collaborative tools are emerging every day with numerous platforms for saving and sharing files, conducting meetings and managing projects. What sets online mind mapping apart from other such tools is its visual aspect. Not only can files be stored and shared on the cloud but you can also see and watch how the whole thought process evolves and how a conclusion is formed. And because each collaborator can add to a mind map simultaneously, no one person can dominate the direction or outcome!