Lloyd, D, Boyd, WE & Den Exter, KA 2010, 'Engaging complex geographical issues: an evaluation of mind mapping as an interactive learning tool', Positioning Geography: Strategic Issues in Geographical Education, Hamilton, NZ, 19-22 January, Waikato Branch of the Geographical Society, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Conference paper available online at http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wfass/PositioningGeography/
Conventional Western education relies, largely, on linear approaches in communicating and interpreting issues. For students and communities to fully engage with complex geographical issues – such as those surrounding global climate change, deforestation and other socio-environmental interactions – they require tools to structure the requisite data and knowledge and to differentiate between cause and effect. This paper critiques the use of mind mapping as one such tool in geographical education. We present case studies from both undergraduate and cross-cultural educational settings to demonstrate the use of mind mapping in communication, analysis and problem solving. In critiquing this educational tool, we conclude that mind mapping is particularly effective in working with learning communities whose cultures are strong on visual communication but weaker on written communication, and in cross-cultural situations where command and use of written English would disadvantage learners.