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Mind Map Case Study: Mind Mapping for Student Pilots

In this mind map case study we hear from Biggerplate member, Andrew Wells about his work helping businesses to incorporate mind mapping into their everyday workflow, and as a study aid for student pilots!

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi, my name is Andrew Wells, and I'm the founder of Clavis training Ltd. I help businesses incorporate mind mapping into their day-to-day operations with special emphasis on start ups.

I also run the website:, and also conduct “The mind mapping experienceTM” workshops, as an introduction to what the world of mind mapping has to offer.

Before I founded Clavis training, I had a career in the Merchant Navy as a chief officer on fast ferries. A few years later I felt the need for a change, and trained as a commercial airline pilot, and also qualified as a flight instructor.

Mind mapping has been part of my life for over 20 years, and has helped me achieve great things over that time. I used it extensively in my merchant Navy training and brought me great success when I was training to be a pilot.

It was an incredibly useful technique to help me manage the sheer volume of coursework that was required, and was a great help in simplifying and bringing clarity to the complex theoretical subjects that had to be learnt.

That clarity enabled me to get first-time passes in the written and practical exams saving time and money on my training.

As a flight instructor, I used the mind mapping technique to help my students understand the difficult and challenging parts of the course to enable them to enjoy a higher success rate.

I also use it for goal setting and accomplishment in my personal and business life.
And have developed my own goal setting system that uses mind mapping at its core. Plans for the future are to continue with my personal and business development, writing a book and public speaking about my experience using mind mapping to improve my life.

How and when were you first introduced to mind mapping?

I was first introduced to mind mapping back in 1995 by a friend who was at university. She was using the technique to help with her studies. I was fascinated by the concept and wanted to find out more. She lent me her copy of, “Use Your Head", by Tony Buzan.

After reading it, I felt a sense of relief and excitement as I believed that this could be a turning point in my life as I'd always struggled with learning the linear way. I loved drawing and doodling and was always looking to connect ideas, so mind mapping seemed a natural fit.

As soon as I could, I started to map out what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to achieve it. As soon as I applied the technique, I immediately benefited from having increased focus and clarity; something I had struggled with in previous years. It wasn't long before I also benefited from an improving memory and increased reading speed.

I found the technique was working very well for me, and allowed me to achieve more than I'd ever been able to achieve before, so without any hesitation I embraced the technique and adopted it and with constant application it's helped me to achieve my ambitions and goals.

What role do mind maps play in your day to day work?

I can be found using mind maps pretty much every day. Clavis training was founded and is operated using mind mapping.

The technique is used extensively for note taking, project planning, marketing strategies, content creation, development of a training and products, to-do lists and networking contact information.

I also use mind maps for company documents including an overview of the business plan, banking, taxation, operations manual, e-learning content. as well as outlining video scripts, presentations and creating presentations using mind mapping software.

Outside of the business I use mapping for life planning, learning and goal accomplishment.

Below is the mind map that Andrew used to plan this case study!

What do you find are the greatest benefits of their use?

The greatest benefits I found of using mind mapping is the clarity and focus they bring to the subject I am are working on; and this in turn has the benefit of my increasing productivity.

I also find that when I'm doing a presentation, the visual representation of the subject I'm talking about, makes my audience more engaged and willing to participate in any further discussions.

I find that audience have better retention of what was being said, and enjoy that fact that it’s not powerpoint.

The technique is incredibly effective at helping to control information overload, and this has the benefit of reducing stress and frustration.

One of the greatest benefits that I always promote is, that it is a great help in increasing confidence, especially with people that re-training or adjusting to a career change later in life, when the prospect of learning and exams can be pretty daunting.

What do think is the biggest barrier to wider adoption of mind mapping?

I think the greatest barrier/barriers to adoption of the mind mapping technique is the reluctance to try something new. We've been taught mostly in a linear way from our earliest days at school, that we used for our learning and careers, that have given us a degree of achievement and success. As the saying goes: “If it is working ok, why change?”.

But now, with the world is changing at such a rapid rate, we are going to have adapt, learn and take action on ideas faster than before or be left behind. So perhaps we are approaching the crossover point and mind mapping will come of age.

I think there's also a degree of misunderstanding about the technique. and how it can be used to improve life. The lack of mainstream publicity and wider adoption in education, training and business doesn't help, but with the help of social media and our own marketing efforts we all have the opportunity to inform and educate about the benefits of mind mapping.

Would you like to add anything else?

I like to market mind mapping as enhancement to the way you think and work, and not necessarily replacement. I’m a great fan of the 80/20 way of working, and think mind mapping compliments this very well.

It's best to have options. If you're struggling with one-way, you can always try another, or combine the two to achieve the desired result.

Happy Mapping!

Thanks to Andrew for sharing his experiences with us! If you have a mind mapping use story that you'd like to share with the mind map community, please get in touch by commenting below, or via Twitter!

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
London, UK Website