FreeSpirit
*** NOTE: After going trough more chapters (3) the brain setup went trough some reorganizing. New set up, examples and explanation can be found from post 8 link onwards. ***

Hello everyone, I would like to share with you my setup for using PersonalBrain (6.0 Free) for helping me to learn electrical engineering. A little background information: I am taking a home/on-line course in say information wise the first year of electrical engineering. I was already halfway through the course at chapter 12, when I realized I could use personal brain to make proper connections between all the elements. Instead of following the linear education you get from books. In a way, I am guessing that these connections should be made in my head while learning... which I am doing also

On with the brain! Its in Dutch but since its engineering most of the stuff will be recognizable even for English speaking people. For the overall setup I choose to do everything in Dutch since my exam will also be in Dutch.

Chapters usually focus on a specific subject so I make a pin for the main subject of the chapter I am currently working on.

I choose to divide between a couple of main branches and whenever I am linking to something in another branch I do this by a jump thought.

Icons I grabbed from iconarchive.com and iconfinder.com It is a bit of a hassle to use icons in the free brain version but its still doable.


Main thought and first branches

The main thought is the course name "Elektriciteitsleer" which translates as "Electrical engineering". From their I make thoughts of the main areas I encounter during the course. These are:
  • Definities (Definitions, explanations of ..)
  • Formules (Equations / specific calculations)
  • Mensen (People, like Volta, Tesla with a little history information)
  • Schakelingen (Circuit diagrams)
  • Grootheden - Eenheden en symbolen (Units and symbols)
  • Best practices, this is where I note how to configure and structure the thoughts in this brain.
  • Realisaties (Realisations) I make notes here when I realise something that could or could not be done with the information I pick up in this course (future planning).

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FreeSpirit

Tags

Since I am working out of a single textbook I have made tags that go along with anything from a certain chapter. Currently I have worked on chapter 12 so mostly all of the notes I stored in the brain relate to chapter 12. Later when going through my brain while having more chapters I could easily reference a certain item to a chapter in the book. For more information I then know where to look this up. I have made the tags a grayish colour so they don't pop out to much. H stands for Hoofdstuk which means Chapter in English.



Thought types

The thought types I use are the following:

  • Definitie (definition)
  • Eigenschap (property)
  • Extra info (additional nice information) From the textbook or what I found online.
  • Ezelsbruggetje (exact translation: Donkey bridge, proper translation: Mnemonic)
  • Soort / Variant / Type / Ras (Species / Variant / Type / Race) for different types of something.
  • Werking (how it works information)

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FreeSpirit
Branch specific, equations

I make equations thoughts (the name) and below that the actual equation. Naturally equations can be constructed in different ways to calculate a certain variable. I add all different possibilities in here. The name of the variable I will calculate is linked to a definition.



When selecting a certain equation this is jump linked to all the variables it contains in the unit branch. For easy reference those have a Wikipedia page as attachment.


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FreeSpirit
Branch specific, units

The units and symbol branch has a jump thought to derived unites (milli / nano / pico) and to constants, for other things it contains see below.


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FreeSpirit

Branch specific, definitions

The definitions branch is rather large, importantly it holds the summary of what something is. Its workings, its properties, its diagram symbol, a picture if its an object. A Condensator is a Capacitor in English.



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FreeSpirit
The idea is to have the main thought as the focus and then by hovering over the other thoughts its connected to seeing the information in the notes area. For example when hovering over "werking" (how it works) I see the following:

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FreeSpirit

Experiences of using the brain for studying this way.

Currently I have done only one chapter, so the long term effects cant be measured yet. What I have noticed is:

  • It actually took me less time to go trough this chapter then what I had with other chapters. This time it took me about 4 hours (2 evenings), this even includes the creation and setting up of the brain.
  • I found myself in a flow state where I studied from about 7 to 9:30 without even noticing the lapse in time.
  • I was even looking up additional information on the web concerning my course, something I rarely do.
  • Mini breaks in the form of looking up a nice looking icon for a certain thought was rather nice...
  • More thoroughly thinking about the subject matter, how it is structured (how I wanted it structured in my brain) and how it relates (what thought can I link this thought to in other parts of my brain?)

I will be continuing to study this way (for now) and report on this thread on any progress concerning thebrain usage.

Hope someone will find this as useful as I have. Since I am using the free version of Personalbrain I can't add a brainzip.

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FreeSpirit
*** NOTE: 2nd brain iteration is from this point onward ***

Since I have created this topic the learning continued. I noticed that this topic had a ~150 views since I posted the last message. Obviously some people are checking it out.

Developments since the first set up:
  • Started using the currently in beta TheBrain 7.
    • Since its a pro version the icons were easier to implement
    • the curved lines are very smooth
    • the link highlight is useful when tracking links.
  • More thought types
  • Some added branches from the start
  • Strict 'best practice' rules that have to be obeyed throughout my mind map to keep the structure solid and workable.
  • More reference material for the study but also mind mapping. I want through Tony Buzan's The Mind map book and had some interesting insights.
    • Single word thoughts prove valuable
    • Its very normal to go trough some iterations of mind map design
    • Pictures are good, so all thoughts have icons.
  • After doing 2 more chapters (total of 3) more thoughts and more relations have appeared. 
  • More learning, naturally.
I will call this the second iteration or brain evolution for the sake of this thread.
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FreeSpirit
Main thought and first branches

The main thought is the course name "Elektriciteitsleer" which translates as "Electrical engineering".

From their I make child thoughts of the main areas I encounter during the course. These are:
  • Begrippen (Definitions, explanations of ..)
  • Formules (Equations / specific calculations)
  • Componenten ( Components, like a transistor, resistor, battery.
  • Mensen (People, like Volta, Tesla with a little history information)
  • Schakelingen (Circuit diagrams)
  • Grootheden - Eenheden en symbolen (Units and symbols)

Jump thoughts

  • Best practices, this is where I note how to configure and structure the thoughts in this brain. This has also become a default pin so I can check it quickly.
  • Realisaties (Realisations) I make notes here when I realise something that could or could not be done with the information I pick up in this course (future planning).
  • References (This is where I store interesting websites I encounter during my subject research on the web)

Parent thoughts

  • Thoughts on what do to, homework related or planning wise.
Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-mainthought.png, Views: 379, Size: 42.79 KB
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FreeSpirit

Tags

The previous set up is still valid with the following remarks:

Everything is tagged, something unrelated to a chapter has a dot . as a tag in blue so it is not that visible against the background. This is to help me find any untagged thoughts that I might have let slip.

In addition it is interesting to note that after doing three chapters the amount of thoughts per chapter is around the ~65.


Thought types

The thought types I use are currently the following:

  • Afbeelding (image) Images of something, images are then put in the notes area.
  • Begrip, previously definition (definition)
  • Component (component), things like transistors, battery etc
  • Eigenschap (property)
  • Extra info (additional nice information) From the textbook or what I found online.
  • Ezelsbruggetje (exact translation: Donkey bridge, proper translation: Mnemonic)
  • Formule (Equation) To easily provide all equations with a icon I made a type for this.
  • Gedrag (Behavior) certain components or definitions have a certain behavior
  • Reminder (reminder) for schedule related homework things.
  • Schakeling (circuit diagram) for easy icons to all circuit diagrams
  • Soort / Variant / Type / Ras (Species / Variant / Type / Race) for different types of something.
  • Toepassing (application / practical related things)
  • Variabelen (variables) For in equations
  • Verder uitwerken (Needs more work ie edit later)
  • Vraag (question) For questions to my instructor. that I want to ask.
  • Werking (how it works information)
Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-tags.png, Views: 380, Size: 2.58 KB Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-types.png, Views: 378, Size: 15.66 KB
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FreeSpirit
Branch specific, equations

I make equations thoughts (the name) and below that the actual equation. Naturally equations can be constructed in different ways to calculate a certain variable. I add all different possibilities in here. The name of the variable I will calculate is linked to a definition. The equation name thought is connected trough jump links with any definitions or circuit diagrams that illustrate the child equations.

When selecting a certain equation this is jump linked to all the variables it contains in the unit branch. For easy reference those have a Wikipedia page as attachment. Any interesting theory that is mentioned in the textbook is attached as a child thought. Sometimes certain generic graphs illustrate an equation very nicely. These are added in the notes section.

Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-calculationname.png, Views: 385, Size: 51.63 KB Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-calculation.png, Views: 375, Size: 26.48 KB
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FreeSpirit
Branch specific, units

The units and symbol branch has a jump thought to derived unites (milli / nano / pico) and to constants, for other things it contains see below.

Some  redoing was in order since I used the Pi symbol for my variables.. Pi is a constant as you all know Note that the variables still link to wikipedia pages, the X symbol icon overwrites the W.
Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-symbols.png, Views: 379, Size: 64.93 KB
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FreeSpirit
Branch specific, definitions and components

The definitions and component branches are rather large, importantly they hold the summary of what something is. Its workings, its properties, its diagram symbol, a picture if its an object. A Condensator is a Capacitor in English.

The idea is to have the main thought as the focus and then by hovering over the other thoughts its connected to seeing the information in the notes area. For example when I hover over capacitief gedrag (capacitive behavior) I see the following:
Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-begrippen.png, Views: 377, Size: 72.61 KB Click image for larger version - Name: 20111227-component.png, Views: 373, Size: 104.44 KB
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FreeSpirit

Experiences of using the brain for studying this way.

Previously I wrote:

Quote:

Currently I have done only one chapter, so the long term effects cant be measured yet. What I have noticed is:

  • It actually took me less time to go trough this chapter then what I had with other chapters. This time it took me about 4 hours (2 evenings), this even includes the creation and setting up of the brain.
  • I found myself in a flow state where I studied from about 7 to 9:30 without even noticing the lapse in time.
  • I was even looking up additional information on the web concerning my course, something I rarely do.
  • Mini breaks in the form of looking up a nice looking icon for a certain thought was rather nice...
  • More thoroughly thinking about the subject matter, how it is structured (how I wanted it structured in my brain) and how it relates (what thought can I link this thought to in other parts of my brain?)

I will be continuing to study this way (for now) and report on this thread on any progress concerning thebrain usage.

Hope someone will find this as useful as I have. Since I am using the free version of Personalbrain I can't add a brainzip.



In addition after doing now in total 3 chapters and some more research on mindmapping in general I have concluded the following.
  • Some organizing iterations are always in order, as the brain expands and more thoughts are added you want to keep some form of overview.
  • I have experimented somewhat with the one direction links in thebrain 7 but have not found a use form them.
  • There is a lot of information on mind mapping for study purposes. Link: Howtostudy.org - Visual Organization
  • Tony Buzans mind mapping book was very informative and provides some insights. The visual aspact of a normal mind map versus TheBrain's information management is noticably different however I keep in mind that Personalbrain is not a mind map tool.
  • All previously stated experiences are still in valid.

That was it for now, feel free to ask questions or add remarks to this topic.

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zenrain
Wow, good post, thanks for sharing!
I'm not sure one-way links would be useful for a learning type brain, at least I can't think of any. I've found them useful when I only want to see the items linked when on a specific topic, and when from the context of viewing the thoughts themselves the child/jump thoughts would just clutter it up.
For example, I have a thought that shows all Access databases that I use. However, the databases themselves are linked to other areas, and I only need to see the list of Access databases when on that specific thought, not when I'm accessing the database thought from it's usual location. (I hope this makes a bit of sense ).

In practice, I've found it a bit hit or miss whether it actually displays the linked thought or not when on the one way linked thought, which is a bit annoying. Hopefully they are still working on ironing it out a bit.
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
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