Retained mind mapping skills and learning outcomes in medical students: a mixed methods study

Tharin Phenwan (Lead / Corresponding author), Weeratian Tawanwongsri

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Background: Mind maps (MM), is a learning method assisting learners in the visualisation of relationships betweentheoretical concepts. Studies also showed enhancement of data retention, overall comprehension, and creativity inMM users. Thus, MM has been implemented in many medical schools to facilitate medical students’ learningexperiences. Nevertheless, retained mind mapping skills and its effect on the learning outcomes in long-term followupremain unknown. 

Methods: A concurrent mixed-methods design with convenient sampling method. All (48) second-year medicalstudents joined a three-day MM workshop. One year later, we surveyed the students who still use MM and thosewho did not. Mind Map Assessment Rubric (MMAR) and Grade Point Average (GPA) were compared between twogroups. Content analysis with data triangulation method was used to explore their preferences and MM skills.

Results: We achieved a 100% response rate. 39 (81.2%) of participants were female. The mean age of participantswas 20.6 years (SD = 0.5). 37 students still use MM (77.1%). With MMAR, participants in MM group scored 28.9higher than participants in MM-free group significantly (p = 0.01). There were no differences in the median GPAs toboth groups. However, there was a significant correlation between using MM in learning and the second trimester(year1) (r=0.29, p<0.05). Majority of participants in MM groups stated the advantages of using MM as a toolhelping those organising data and their thought process. On the contrary, students in MM-free group declared thedisadvantages of MM as a time-consuming and missing data from lectures. 

Conclusions: Without revision in MM, participants’ skills deteriorated immensely. There was a non-statisticallysignificant trend toward increased learning outcomes with MM group. Further studies to examine whether morefrequent MM use or workshop revision can boost their learning outcomes or not is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • mind map
  • Medical Education
  • Preclinical
  • Medical students
  • Assessment
  • Mixed methods


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