Mind Mapping Techniques

Engineering Area
Ideation & Conceptual design
Group or Individual
Amount of People
Up to 15, 15-25, 25+
Type of Class
Duration of Activity
Half an hour or less, Between half an hour and one hour
Type of Activity
Collaborative team setting, On-line Classroom activity


What is this technique about

The Mind Mapping Method takes its name from the activity itself: participants are expected to write down components that belong to an idea or a theme, structure them in a map, and use it as a starting point to think creatively and come up with new and combined ideas. The mind mapping is an effective technique that is beneficial in facilitating the flow, mapping and sharing of information . Although there are several variants of it, the method aims to create a structure in which information is organized with links, in a simple, easy-to-understand line radiating from a central point.

Where does it come from 

The work of Gordon Howe and his friends from Exeter University constitutes the basis of the mind mapping technique. It aims to enable the technical individual to use visuals effectively by embedding information in figures and visuals (Polat and Turanlı, 281).

For which purposes it is used (why in your engineering teaching)

The mind mapping technique enables people to develop their creative thinking skills, to establish stronger connections between concepts and to visualize information, making learning experiences more meaningful and creative.

It is effective in solving design problems in the field of engineering, it is also effective in creating processes and solving other types of problems.

How to use it

As the first step of this technique, you can ask your participants to have a blank white paper ready in advance that they can use online. For this, they may prefer Microsoft Teams or another tool. Ask them to use blank white paper as sideways because that way they will have more space and can think more freely. Ask participants to use an image for the main idea. This way it will be easier for them to focus. Ask them to use different colors and drawings on their way to ideas to push their creativity and freedom to the limit. Identify your key concepts and write them in the available dots with links according to the level of relevance. It will be useful to follow the clockwise direction while doing this. Draw more curved lines instead of straight lines. Thanks to your lines with different slopes, your brain will not get bored of looking at the page.

How to implement this techniques online

Using the mind mapping method in an online setting will be a very easy and enjoyable experience for users. To use this method in an online setting, you will first need to install a mind mapping tool such as Mindmeister or Mindup, orPower Point.

Preparation, what do before the session

    1. Get a video conferencing tool with which your document sharing will be easy, and make sure all other participants also have it installed. If you want to use a shared document (e.g., a PowerPoint to draw in), make sure that you upload it and that everybody has access to it.
    2. Inform participants in advance of what they will be doing. Thus, you will use time more effectively in the application process of the technique.
    3. Assign participants to groups and inform then in which group they will be. For each group, select a group leader who can keep track of the ideas. The group leader should also be informed beforehand about how to use the relevant tool.
    4. Prepare a presentation introducing mind mapping to the participants. This presentation should include the purpose of the technique and the way it is applied. Thus, while applying the technique, the participants will have no difficulty in establishing relationships between concepts and reconciling them.
    5. Identify key concepts your specific lesson plan covers in advance, and turn them into a Word document.

During application, i.e., while giving the session

    1. Share the documents containing the concepts with the participants. Make sure that all participants can access them.
    2. Give participants five minutes to think about concepts. In this way, you will ensure that something comes to life in their minds about the concepts they are unfamiliar with and that their ideas sprout in the first place.
    3. Assign your grouped participants to the breakout rooms.
    4. Give participants 15-20 minutes to generate ideas and come up with a pattern.
    5. Encourage the participants to use whatever colors, objects and lines on the chosen tool are closest to them regarding the concepts. In this way, they will both feel free to associate different ideas with each other and increase their creativity.
    6. At the end of the time, discuss the concepts and the way they are formed into a pattern collectively. Thus, you will ensure that more ideas come up and that the participants will be a source of inspiration to each other.

Follow-up, about what to do after the session

    1. After applying the mind mapping method and drawing conclusions, pay attention to how your students evaluate the concepts and visualize them. Create a short discussion with them on this issue.

Examples and/or testimonials

There are many examples and cases on the use of MIND MAPPING TECHNIQUES, but we have not yet found one where this technique is issued in a virtual environment. 

If you have used this technique in an online or virtual setting, or know about a case please let us know.

Tools needed

To apply this technique in an online setting, the following tools are required.
    • A mind mapping tool
      • Mindmeister
      • Mindup
      • These mind mapping tools offer their users an enjoyable mind mapping process thanks to their functional toolsets. Alternatively, use a PowerPoint that Is accessible to all participants
    • An online video conference tool- such as Zoom and Teams to communicate and include participants and have breakout rooms.
    • A word processing software or application
      • Word
      • Evernote



The Pennsylvania State University. (n. D.). Concept Mapping. Pedagogical Approaches with Canvas. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://sites.psu.edu/pedagogicalpractices/concept-mapping/

diagrams.net – Flowchart Maker Online Diagram Software: https://www.diagrams.net/

canva.com – Free Mind Map Maker & editable mind map examples: https://www.canva.com/graphs/mind-maps/

mindmeister.com – MindMeister: Create Your Mind Maps Online On Any Device: https://www.mindmeister.com/


TEDxTalks. (2012, December 18). The power of a mind to map: Tony Buzan at tedxsquaremile. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMZCghZ1hB4

TEDxTalks. (2017, December 13). Want to learn better? start mind mapping | hazel wagner | tedxnaperville. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nTuScU70As

Teachings in Education. (2017, November 21). Mind mapping | teaching strategies #3. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCyjFipytRE


Keller, T., & Tergan, S. O. (2005). Visualizing knowledge and information: An introduction. In: Knowledge and information visualization (pp. 1-23). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Polat, S., & Turanlı, N. (n. D.). Beyin Haritalarinin Matematik Konularina Uygulamalarinin Matematiksel İfadelerin Hatirlanmasina Katkisinin Araştirilmasi“. Proceedings Book, 280.

Zampetakis, L.A., Tsironis, L. and Moustakis, V. (2007). Creativity development in engineering education: the case of mind mapping. In: Journal of Management Development. 26(4). 370-380. Retrieved October 12, 2022 from https://doi.org/10.1108/02621710710740110.

Joao, I. & Silva, J. (n. D.). Concept Mapping and Mind Mapping to Lift the Thinking Skills of Chemical Engineering Students. In: International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 4(5), 42-48. Retrieved October 12, 2022 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/207343/.

Mento, A. J., Martinelli, P., & Jones, R. M. (1999). Mind mapping in executive education: applications and outcomes. In: Journal of Management Development.

Buran, A., & Filyukov, A. (2015). Mind mapping technique in language learning. In: Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 206, 215-218.

Parikh, N. D. (2016). Effectiveness of teaching through mind mapping technique. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(3), 148-156.


Banwell, A. (2016). Mind Maps for Civil Engineering Students: Geotechnical. Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30370280-mind-maps-for-civil-engineering-students

Buzan, T. (2006). Mind mapping. Pearson Education.