wikiHow to Solve Problems Using Mind Maps

If you want to solve a problem, it's a good idea to combine

  • mind mapping and
  • problem solving tools (like brainstorming, asking questions, drawing a diagram...).

This way, you can profit from the benefits of each approach.

(If you are not yet familiar with mind mapping, have a look at the wikiHow article
How to Make a Mind Map)

Steps

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    Start your mind map with the topic of your problem.
    • Avoid a description of your problem that is too narrow.
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    Use the IDEAL strategy for problem solving.
    • IDEAL stands for
      • I = identify problems and opportunities
      • D = define alternative goals
      • E = explore possible strategies
      • A = anticipate and act
      • L = look and learn.
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    Make the IDEAL stages the main branches of your map.
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    Develop your ideas on each stage.
    • Develop your ideas in subbranches.
    • Use problem solving tools for each stage.
    • You find a collection of problem solving tools in the "Tips" section below.
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    Nest the IDEAL stages if it suits your problem.
    • See the video below for an example.

Tips

  • Organize your favourite problem solving tools in a tool map.
    • For each of the IDEAL stages, you can assemble a number of useful tools.
  • Try alternatives to the IDEAL strategy. An example is George Polya's strategy from "How to Solve It":

Things You'll Need

Sources and Citations

  • Bransford, J.D.; Stein, B.S.: The IDEAL Problem Solver. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York 1993 (Source for the IDEAL strategy)

Article Info

Categories: College and University Study Techniques | Homework Skills