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A mindmap is a good tool for ideation and documenting associations. It is often used in group processes and set down on paper, but can be used as well in electronic form and serve as a powerful creativity tool.

Time 10-20 minutes

Material paper and pens

Group Size 2-20 people

Keywords moderation, creativity, association


Also intersting:

Handbook #4

N. Zimmermann, E. Leondieva, M. Gawinek-Dagargulia

Fourth Handbook for Facilitators: Read more


Mindmaps bring structure and order thoughts. The help learners to store knowledge and to understand the connections between certain aspects.


Ask learners to write a central topic or a leading question on a paper (here: Creativity).


Encourage them to write the subordinate aspects or associations close to the central word. Try to follow a structural logic and connect the aspects with lines or different kind of arrows, like in the illustration.

Mapping: Resources

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. He writes and works on the topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Coordinator of European projects, in example DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship, DARE network.

Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience.
Email: nils.zimmermann@dare-network.eu


Mindmaps might be used on posters in a group process or used as an electronical tool.

However, as mindmaps are a standard today, one could look for alternatives such as Problem Trees, Ishikara Diagrams,...


Applications for electronic mindmapping are especially effective, as everything can be rearranged or enlarged. The open source electronic tool FreePlane helps you to change, rearrange, add and connect ideas, words or phrases. Even complex knowledge can be arranged in such electronic maps.