Some interesting thoughts on how mindmaps can work in the context of case-based learning.
I’ll admit to long-term biases in favor of case-based learning properly
done. I come by these biases having worked all sides of the experience;
case method student, case writer, and case-based discussion leader.
Doing it well can be exceptionally powerful. Doing it poorly is also
much more immediately evident than doing other forms of teaching poorly.
One of the keys to success in case learning is active engagement with
the material and active engagement in the discussion process.
Developing a path of inquiry and analysis that leads to an action plan
is the goal, not finding the hidden “right answer.” This can be
immensely frustrating to students indoctrinated to believe in right
answers, but ultimately is hugely useful in a real world that
rarely contains right answers.
I certainly would have loved to have something like MindManager back in
my b-school days. I did use them from time to time as study tools, but
the process of generating them by hand didn’t lend itself well to the
time constraints of three cases a night. More recently I did make
extensive use of MindManager and mindmaps as a tool to organize case
discussion and review when I was teaching knowledge management at
Kellogg. As a case discusssion leader I found mindmaps more useful than
powerpoint. This was because a dynamic mindmap let me more easily adapt
to the flow of the actual discussion. If I can find any in my archives
that look interesting I will post them here later.
MindManager maps can make the life of business school students much easier.
Harvard Business School first opened its doors in 1908, the “case
method” was just an idea of the School’s first Dean, Edwin F. Gay.
Today, the “case method” is the heart and soul of how business is
taught at HBS and has been widely adopted by many other leading
business schools in the world.
“It’s action learning,”
says HBS senior lecturer Michael J. Roberts, executive director of case
development. “As professors, we have to distill the realities of
complex business issues and bring that into the classroom. Students, in
turn, want to extrapolate from that narrow experience to the world at
large. So, we have to pick good examples and maintain the relevance of
them.” Roberts believes that the case method continues to be the most
effective teaching technique because of its applicability to real
management situations. “Those who practice business are in the real
world making decisions that have real consequences,” he says. “The case
method is intellectually engaging for students because they acquire the
knowledge, skills, and tools to deal with the kind of problems they’ll
encounter in their careers. Because they go through this inductive
reasoning process to arrive at answers, the learning process is more
amplifies the benefits of this “action-learning” model and follows the
exact same logic that case studies do: capture, organize, and then
share information. With MindManager, learning groups can distill
complex issues into manageable “business topics,” chunks of information
that can be easily re-arranged and interconnected in the way they make
most sense to the students.
Have you ever used MindManager for case studies? Send us your maps and we will exhibit them in our map library.
Tim Leberecht, Senior Corporate Communications Manager