Key Question

How do thinking/graphical organisers or mind mapping tools fit with Learning styles and Bloom's Revised taxonomy.
The key element to a thinking or graphical organiser is, in my opinion, the key or focusing question. No matter how complex or developing the model or organiser you are using, if the focusing question or topic is weak the end result will be poor.

Blooms Revised taxonomy.

Bloom's arranges various activities in terms of increasing complexity going from Low Order Thinking skills to Higher Order Thinking skills. They represent the learning process, to understand one must remember, to apply a concept you must understand it etc

Remembering and understanding

Simple mind maps and concept diagrams are a brilliant tool for enabling students to remember and understand.
This model can be applied to Term and definition, simple action and effect or simply brain storming related ideas and concepts to a topic

Key Words

Interpreting Exemplifying Summarising Inferring Paraphrasing Classifying Comparing Explaining Recognising Listing Describing Identifying Retrieving Naming Locating/Finding


Simple Flowchart

This is a simple concept linking to next concept. The process part is optional but does enhance the chart

Simple Concept map


Applying and Analysing

Here the focusing question or topic becomes crucial in using a thinking/graphical organiser for analysis.


Comparing Organising Deconstructing Attributing Outlining Structuring Integrating Implementing Carrying out Using Executing Doing
Comparing two or more concepts using Venn diagrams. This model allows us to see similarities and differences.

Two way Venn Diagram


Three Way Venn Diagram


6 Focusing questions

This is a simple map that is designed to ask the six key questions - What, When, Where, Who, Why and How. Again the topic or concept is crucial. A poor topic will lead to poor results.

Evaluating and Creating


Checking Hypothesising Critiquing Experimenting Judging Testing Detecting Monitoring Designing Constructing Planning Producing Inventing Devising Making Building


The Gantt Chart

The gantt chart is a visual planning tool that is brilliant for visual learners. At a glance, you can use this model to see what you are doing and when.

Cause and Effect Fishbone

This Model allows the user to analyse and evaluate cause and effect. On the outside of the fishbone is the cause and on the "bone" are descriptions and explanations. The end result of the causes is the effect - influenced by the different contributing elements.

Simple cause and effect Table

The fishbone model is complex and takes time to implement - A simpler table model allows us to quickly do cause and effect.

Programming Flowchart

This is a structured flowchart that is often used in computer programming and process but has other applications. This by the nature of decisions and processes is a higher level activity.

IPO or Input-Processing-Output Diagram

This is another graphical organiser that is used to look at input into a system, the processing that occurs on that input and what the outputs from this processing are. While it is primarily used for computer systems it can also be used for analysing the data flow into and out of a organisation.

Graphical Organiser as presentation tools.

Many of the graphical organiser also have a presentation feature and function. Users can create slide shows, embed media and material, notes and information that is available at the click of an icon. The trees within the presentation can be expanded and contracted as required. These are useful extensions but can easily be confusing, remember the 5 p rule - proper planning prevents poor performance - make sure you rehearse.
example: C-Map, Mind mapper etc

Learning styles and Graphical Organisers

No matter which aspect of Bloom's you are using your thinking/graphical organisers for Thinking or graphical organisers lend themselves to certain learning styles. If we use Flemming's VARK, the research and supporting data indicated that certain sensory learning styles are more adapt at using these tools.

Dr Niel Flemming developed a simple but effective model for sensory learning styles known as VARK
  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Read/Write
  • Kineasthetic
  • Multimodal

This model is simple and effective

It is important to note that:
  • learning style changes with tasks
  • Learning style variety from subject to subject
  • While a student may have a preferred learning style they should also develop the others as well.
  • A student who is working learning using their preferred style, will be better engaged, motivated and learn more effectively

Testing for learning style

Copyright free for Schools, University etc but not for business or Government
  • 16 questions
  • Indicates learning style/s

The Visual Learner

These learners like....
  • Seeing teachers body language and facial expressions
  • Pictures, Posters, Cartoons, Collages, Slide shows TV Shows, Films and Videos
  • Flowcharts, diagrams, illustrations, colouring books
  • Graphs, charts, maps
  • Flash cards
  • Underlining and highlighting

for example - this is a concept map about digital natives and their exposure to different media before they leave college. This is based on work from Mark prensky In digital natives and digital immigrants

Read Write Learners

These learners like
  • Lists, headings, notes, essays
  • Definitions, Dictionaries and glossaries
  • Textbooks and manuals
  • handouts and readings
  • Articulate teachers

Resources: - C-Map Concept mapping software
FreeMind - Open Source Mind Mapping Software