A little girl who holds balloons strings in her hand, but books with flying letters are attached to those strings

MOOC Dys: a questionnaire to better understand parents and teachers with “dys” children

The “MOOC Dys” project is on its way.  Today, we propose a questionnaire to better understand your needs and expectations as parents or teachers of children with specific learning disorders.

The “MOOC Dys” : a collaborative and participative open online course

Previously, I have written an article about this project of MOOC on specific learning disorders.

A little girl who holds balloons strings in her hand, but books with flying letters are attached to those strings
An artist view of the specific learning disabilities

This MOOC aims to be a participative and collaborative open course.  And, above all, we aim to meet your training needs and expectations.  Therefore, we want your opinion and participation on each step of this course design.

Two questionnaires to understand you better

We have created two questionnaires in order to understand you and the children you are taking care of :

  • a questionnaire for the parents
  • a questionnaire for the teachers

The results derived from the questionnaires will help us design an online training course that will match your needs and expectations.  We are going to draw a profile of the parents and teachers. Using that profile, we will then design the structure of an open online course.

Of course, we will also consult you on the course structure : which will then be our next step.

A 100 % participative online course

The MOOC will officially be released in mid-October 2018.  We have chosen the Course Networking platform to place that course on line.  The Course Networking is a global learning solution, comprising a learning social network, a LMS (Learning Management System), a lifelong learning ePortfolio and is entirely gamified : you receive badges, points and certification that you can exhibit as evidences of your academic achievement.

Nonetheless, we have chosen that solution specifically for its collaborative functionalities: each participant is able to write his/her own blog posts, able to like and comment other participants’ blog posts, can create his/her polls events either online or offline.  A solution that matches all our expectations for a really open and collaborative online course.

How to access the questionnaires?

For the Parents

Are you the parent of one or several children with specific learning disabilities like:

  • dyslexia
  • dyspraxia
  • dyscalculia
  • dysphasia
  • etc.

Then click here to access the parents’ questionnaire.

MOOC Dys: questionnaire for the parents of children with specific learning disabilities

For the Teachers

If you are a teacher and have children with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, etc.

Then you can access the Teachers’ questionnaire.

Mooc dys : questionnaire for the teachers who are dealing with children with specific learning disorders


And what if you are both parent AND teacher of children with specific learning disabilities?  Feel free to fill in both questionnaires !

What are we going to do with your answers?

As soon as we gather all your answers, we’ll then apply them to elaborate the free and open online course Mooc Dys.

I’ll inform you what those results be in my next article.  Thenceforth, we’ll propose a course structure that takes all your expectations into account.

You can register on our Facebook Page for all current updates regarding our activities.

And if you haven’t done it yet, you can also register at our newsletter which constitutes a pre-subscription to our free and open online course.

Thank you all for your support and endless collaboration 😉

Erasmus+ program Logo : the cofounder of our Dys MOOC project

The project is funded with the support of the European Commission.

This publication is the sole responsibility of the author and the Commission is not responsible for any information contained therein.

Social learning is the missing link in most learning management system : the Course Networking has it all !

The Course Networking,

Allie Willington, from the Course Networking, interviewed me about e-learning and social learning today.

Here is an excerpt of this interview on their blog.


I wasn’t actively searching for another solution yet, but one evening, a new follower on my Twitter account attracted my attention. The handle was @coursenetwork and it claimed to be “changing the way the world learns”. That was a kind of a bold statement!

Social learning is the missing link in most learning management system : the Course Networking has it all !
Social Learning with social media ?

I stumbled on the Course Networking by chance. I was very unsatisfied with the e-learning solution I was using just a couple of months ago. The LMS itself was fine, but, as a few glitches occurred, I had the unfortunate opportunity to test the reactivity of the customer service – it was a full-blown disaster.


However, since I am naturally curious, I clicked on the provided link. And I found something new, something I have long sought after. Not a simple LMS, but a full and complete solution. A “real virtual learning environment”, as weird as that oxymoron may sound.

Read the full article.

Dys MOOC: our project selected by Erasmus +

We submitted a project of MOOC about learning disabilities to the Erasmus+ agency in Brussels.  And our project has been selected.  So we are going to create a “Dys MOOC” about dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc.  An international and multilingual MOOC with 5 partners from all Europe.  And beyond 😉

We have introduced a project to the Erasmus + Agency Brussels alongside 5 partners from different countries of the European Union. The Dys MOOC  is co-funded by the Erasmus Plus European Program, and today, I am officially announcing the big news: our project has been selected by the Belgian National Agency! 

Therefore, this project will be partly financed by the European funds. Nonetheless, this funding will not cover for all the costs incurred, but will provide a sufficient basis to kick start the project.

Hence, we have launched our first project activity: a meeting with our international partners.

First kick off meeting of the Dys Mooc project in Chalkis - gathering international partners around learning disabilities
The European Team in chalkis, Greece

One project, 6 partners for an international and multilingual MOOC

As soon as Brussels confirmed and signed the contracts, we immediately organised our first meeting with all project partners involved. Our representatives were warmly welcomed in Chalkis, Greece.

These participating partners are:

  • Logopsycom: Mons, Belgium. Logopsycom is a company that unites speech therapists, doctors and psychologists. Logopsycom is responsible for the overall management of the European project. Moreover, it was Bérenger Dupont who suggested that we should present our MOOC to the European authorities and benefited from his years of experiences in handling Erasmus projects.
  • KEDDY: Chalkis, Greece. KEDDY is a departmental service from the Ministry of National Education that supports students with learning disabilities. KEDDY hosted the first meeting with the international partners. KEDDY is also in charge of the project’s quality plan.
  • CIVIFORM: Cividale del Friuli, Italy. Civiform is a regional training centre that offers training for both adults and teenagers. Civiform is fully in charge of the syllabus for the MOOC Dys project, which pertains the content and its structuring.
  • REDE DLBC: Lisbon, Portugal. A dome association that brings together 153 public, associative and private institutions. The REDE DLBC is responsible for the operation of the project. In the European jargon, this means that it will ensure the results derived from MOOC are transferrable to both the European institutions and those who would like to utilize the information for their optimization.
  • University of Pitesti, Romania. The university’s faculty of psychology will ensure the educational quality of the resources, in which will be created in the framework of this MOOC. The faculty will also work on the possibilities of getting certification for the MOOC.
  • Formation 3.0: Paris, France. Our training organization will administer both the communication and online MOOC. A new website and resource sharing platform are also on the agenda 😉 Formation 3.0 will also create a Facebook page and a Twitter account to feed conversations with parents and teachers.
Facebook cover of our Dys MOOC, an open course about learning disabilities
Cover of our new Faceebook page

The MOOC will be designed  and animated, simultaneously, in 6 languages, in mid-October 2018:

• French

• English

• Italian

• Portuguese

• Greek

• Romanian

A free MOOC and free resources under Creative Commons licenses

Unlike some rumors that are already circulating on the Web, access to the MOOC will obviously be 100% free.

All educational resources designed by the partners of this MOOC will be available and reusable under the Creative Commons License.

This means that parents, teachers, professionals or young people with « dys » disorders will be able to reuse all the materials for their own projects, lectures, classroom activities, blog posts, etc.

A 100% participative and collaborative MOOC

This MOOC will be participative and collaborative.

At the beginning of 2018, we will ask for your collaboration to form user committees. These committees will help us create a relevant program. To evaluate the quality of the resources. To feed the contents of this MOOC using their testimonies, which is simultaneously useful and needed to give a true reflection of everyday reality.

This MOOC will also be collaborative because we will use a platform that will allow you to participate actively in the creation of the content either by your written testimonials, filmed (using your smartphones!) or recordings. Or any other mode of expression that you deem useful.

I will talk to you soon about this platform and the open educational possibilities it offers to a team as diverse and international as ours.

A three-part MOOC befitting the users’ needs

Here, I can already provide you with an overview of the structure for this MOOC. We propose to create a MOOC in three big sections:

• a common body, intended for all: what is dys disorder? What are their differences with other associated disorders? Etc.

a specific module for parents: how to help my child succeed in school? How to facilitate his daily life? Where to find helpers and resources? Etc.

• a specific module for teachers and professionals: how to integrate children with learning disabilities into my classroom? Which resources to use? What are the reasonable accommodations I can gather? Etc.

As I write this blog post, more than 1,000 people have already subscribed to our newsletter. You too can register now to be informed, or better, to participate 😉

I subscribe to the Dys MOOC, an open course about learning disabilities

Erasmus+ program Logo : the cofounder of our Dys MOOC projectThe project was funded with the support of the European Commission.

This publication is the sole responsibility of the author and the Commission is not responsible for any information contained therein.


Study in New Zealand: a visa for employment

New Zealand is not only the enchanting setting where Peter Jackson chose to shoot the Lord of the Rings saga, but it is also a country that invests extensively in education. And it’s widely open to students from all backgrounds.

Lire cet article en français

Have you ever dreamt about the sublime landscapes of Lord of the Rings? Or intrigued by the Maori culture’s artifacts?

 With New Zealand, it is not just a string of sublime landscapes for vacation slideshows or traditions preserved for cultured tourists. New Zealand is also a country with a thriving economy that positions itself as a leading player especially in research and education.

Dynamic schools and universities

New Zealand schools and universities offer an amazing quality of staff and infrastructure, due to the huge investment in education by the national authorities
A high quality of infrastructure

New Zealand invests heavily in education and has reformed its education system to meet the highest standards. According to the PISA report, out of 25 or so top-performing countried compared, there are only 5 countries who have performed above the OECD average in all tests since PISA began in year 2000. New Zealand is listed as 1 of the 5 countries besides Finland, Korea, Canada and Australia. What is PISA?

Kiwi universities are best known for their excellence in research, particularly in the applied sciences and new technologies.

The quality of education is such that the research institute Legatum London did not hesitate to rate New Zealand at the forefront of the world ranking education system! For this reason, it’s no wonder that their educators are able to enquire employment in a snap not only at home but also abroad.

Varied and diverse education opportunities

In New Zealand, the educational system is well-diversified and not only focusing on producing educators/teachers, but also emphasising on producing professionals in all sectors, including the most dynamic sectors of Kiwi’s economy. Education sector offers many opportunities including schools, colleges and universities; but also  intership in companies,  that are directly related and blended into the Commonwealth and Asian markets.

 There are schools with multi-lingual students which offer a unique and intensive curriculum to master English. There  are “Hotel & Hospitality Management” programs that produce excellent graduates in the tourism industry. There are universities specializing in cutting-edge research offering masters, postgraduate courses and postgraduate studies.

Two young Japanese student in an University of New Zealand studying for a Hotel and Hospitality program much appreciated in the tourism industry
Students in Hotel & Hospitality Management

 Student visas that lead to employment

For a stay in New Zealand for more than three months, you will have to apply for a visa.

New Zealand offers extremely interesting visas for students. You can combine your stay with working part-time (which is allowed): it is a good way to co-finance your studies, develop your command of the language and integrate with the locals and lifestyle.

But there is even better option! If you have completed a course of study in New Zealand, the country offers two types of visas for employment:

  • a 12-month visa – Open Graduate Job Search – which enable you to stay to find a job that matches your new qualification;
  • a 24-month visa with employment.

New Zealand employers are looking for qualified profiles. Being able to produce a degree acquired in the country itself significantly enhances your chances of getting employed at the end of your studies …

And with an employment visa after your studies in your hands, you are able to obtain a permanent resident visa if you wish to settle permanently or long term in New Zealand.

 A warm welcome and quality infrastructure

There are specialized professionals that will guide you from your first idea to migrate to arrival and beyond.

We have partnered with Simply Easy Immigration Consultants LTD in New Zealand and we can offer these services first-hand to students who choose to participate even before  they decided to depart for studying and make a tailored service according to your personal needs.

We help you:

  • find the course study you are interested in
  • register for the institution that suits you best
  • get your visa
  • find the best flight
  • secure your accommodation
  • to integrate with the locals

 Join our seminars to know more about educational opportunities and employment

If you’re feeling adventurous, join us at the seminars we organize in May.

We will explain – in French and English – what opportunities you can expect with regards to study, work, business creation and investment in New Zealand.

Miss Zamélia Saleh, founder of Simply Easy Immigration Consultants LTD will travel all the way from Auckland directly to you to explain in details the correct steps, markets, etc..

Universities in New Zealand are widely open to student from everywhere in the world
Miss. Saleh and two university representatives

Three seminars on New Zealand Immigration Consultation

Are you interested but you are not able to attend to any of these seminars?   Subscribe to our Special New Zealand Newsletter and be updated with our articles and initiatives.

 There will be some testimonials from those who have dealt directly with our Immigration Consultant, their student life experiences and traineeship in New Zealand (in French)

 Feel free to join us to discover opportunities…

Did you like this article? Sign up for  my newsletter  and never miss any article or event!

Studying, working, investing and making business in New Zealand

You’re tired of the European gloom? To hear talk of crisis, a bleak outlook, economic difficulties?
You want expatriation professional opportunities in the long term prospects for rewarding career?

Then New Zealand is for you!


New Zealand economy is booming!

New Zealand is not just wilderness and mind blowing landscapes. Or strategic locations for cult movies like the Lord of the Rings saga or the Hobbit . Nor only the land of the Maoris and their ancient traditions.

office building in Auckland, New Zealand, a country wide open to entrepreneurs
New Zealand booming economy

It is also a country which is turning towards the future.

Although agriculture and livestock still represent a significant part of its resources, New Zealand invests heavily in new technologies: Internet, no doubt about that! But, needless to say, also in biotechnology, energy, telecommunications, medicine of the future, and many other fields.

New Zealand also invests in education.  This small country of just over 4.5 million people has understood the importance of the knowledge economy. Each year it welcomes thousands of students from all parts of the world into high quality academic institutions. Finally, New Zealand offers a very adaptable environment for business creation: climate towards entrepreneurs is very positive and ridiculous tax burden compared to those of continental Europe.

Our service offers ” Immigration to New Zealand “

We have officially collaborated with Simply Easy Immigration Consultants LTD, THE New Zealand Immigration specialist. Therefore, we are now the exclusive representatives of the consulting firm for immigration to New Zealand across Europe.

Through this partnership, we are able to offer you a wide range of services .

Whether it’s for:

  • studying English,
  • learning new technologies in an English environment,
  • to work for a year or two in a  Commonwealth based companies
  • you settle permanently in a vastly booming economy country
  • to build your business in a dynamic environment

We offer:

  • professional and personal support
  • legal assistance for obtaining visa
  • advice and information for your trip
  • housing assistance and on-site installation
  • a network of expatriates

    Ms. Zamelia Saleh, center, with two university officials at an Education Fair to promote study in New Zealand
    Ms Saleh promotes study in New Zealand with university representatives

For more information regarding our business and articles on immigration to New Zealand , subscribe to our newsletter Working or Studying in New Zealand . Or, better yet, attend one of our seminars Immigrating to New Zealand to explore all possibilities, aid, testimonies, but also to be able to speak directly to Ms. Zamélia Saleh, founder of Simply Easy Immigration Consultants LTD.

Have a project?  After the seminar, you will have the opportunity to meet Ms. Saleh personally to outline your wishes and open an immigration file with your new host! Still have questions?  Contact us and we will be happy to answer!

You are in France ? Join our Seminar in Paris !

You are in Belgium ?  Join our Seminar in Brussels !

You are in the Netherlands ?  Join our Seminar in Utrecht !

Study in New Zealand

What can I study in New Zealand? Everything! Or almost … 

Japanese students studying Hospitality and management in New Zealand university
Seika Shiraki, student management hotelier

Whether for a language course of a few weeks, a professional or academic cycle, or an assistant in one of the manyacademic institutions, New Zealand offers a unique range of qualifications. ‘s economic dynamism the region and the special bonds of New Zealand academic institutions with the countries of Common Wealth and Asia also offer a real chance to find a job upon graduation.
Students from around the world come to train in schools and New Zealand universities, attracted by both the quality of teaching and the sweetness of life in a country that combines tradition and modernity. It is also an opportunity to build up a unique international network!


 Working in New Zealand

Are you looking for a job? Or do you want to give a new direction to your career? New Zealand offers many opportunities according to different types of needs in various sectors:
Our immigration lawyers'offices in Auckland, New Zealand
Our partners offices in Auckland
  • residence for temporary workers
  • residence for family
  • residence for highly qualified (skilled workers) worker

New Zealand employers are looking for sharp profiles ranging from young to old with university degrees and strong working experiences to venture into new opportunities and challenges.





 Business in New Zealand

US Embassador is amongst the entrpreneurs in New Zealand
Open to entrepreneurs country!

New Zealand is experiencing a strong economic expansion. The 2008 financial crisis which has affected both Europe has had virtually no impact on New Zealand’s growth whatsoever.
New Zealand authorities support entrepreneurs effectively and consistently. Forbes magazine puts New Zealand as the second largest global best countries to set up a business and investment ! Whether you want to set up a business as a consultant, building contractor, investing in Internet and biotechnology applications, New Zealand offers a framework complementary to business , far from the European depression!


Attend our seminars and discover the different types of visa and more..

Interested? Contact us or take the opportunity to attend one of our seminars ! We will be in different European countries in the coming months to present the different options offered by this exceptional country:      

Seminar on Immigration to New Zealand in Manila organised by Zamelia Saleh
Our partner is giving a seminar on Immigration to New Zealand

Our partner – Simply Easy Immigration Consultants LTD  is giving a seminar on Immigration to New Zealand

  • studies and internships in New Zealand
  • temporary work in one or more New Zealand companies
  • contract of employment for skilled worker
  • permanent residence for you and your family
  • possible aid
  • the legal formalities
  • our services
  • etc..



 Come and join one of our seminars!


You are in France ? Join our Seminar in Paris !

You are in Belgium ?  Join our Seminar in Brussels !

You are in the Netherlands ?  Join our Seminar in Utrecht !


 You can’t join ?  But you are interested in our activities and the New Zealand opportunities ?  Then, sign in to our special New Zealand Newsletter


How to write a good article ?

How to write a good article ?  Something that people will read and share on social media ?  Something attractive and coherent ? Here are some pieces of advice you can follow…

People generally assume that it is very easy to write a good article when you are a seasoned journalist.  Nothing could be further from reality!

Writing a good article, even if you are not a rookie, is a very demanding task and a lot of work !

I gathered in this mindmap all the stages of the writing process.  As usual, you can download this mindmap about How to write a good article from my Biggerplate profile.

Some stages to follow if you want to write a publishable article
How to write a good article ?

1. Find a good topic

First of all, you have to find a very good topic!  Something unique that will enthrall your readers, something interesting which will give them a different point of view or the comment of a world renowned specialist.

2. Write for your readers, not for yourself

But, above all, don’t forget : you write for the reader, not for yourself.  The reader is your absolute measure, you should keep him or her in mind at every stage of the process.  That is why I enclosed the topic “your readers” inside a boundary : to remind you (and me) of the utmost importance of your readers.

3. Listen to your readers

How do you find a good topic for your readers?  Listen to them !  It’s never been so easy!  Nowadays, everybody speaks on the Internet, on blog comments, in social media…  Set up a monitoring system with an aggregator, like Feedly for instance.

4. Gather relevant information

This will help you gathering relevant information : funny stories, interesting points of view, unique witnesses of a great event.  Things that will give some flesh to your story.

5. Analyze your information

But gathering information is not enough : you have to analyze it.  What is really relevant here?  Are those data really accurate?  Is the information relayed by the witnesses considered credible at all?  Cross-check your information to see if there are no contradictions or inaccuracies…

6. Choose the right angle

Choose the right angle to tell your story : will you adopt the doer point of view?  Are you writing from the witness eyes?  Are you comparing this situation to a previous one and contrast the differences?  The angle is utterly important : it could be the only difference with one of your competitors’ article…

7. Structure your paper

Structure your paper : will it be a funnel-like text, starting from the most general information and going deep into the minutest details?  Or will it be a chronology, recalling a long series of facts ending up in a striking conclusion?  Or will it be an interview : a dialog between you and one or several people involved in the event?  The structure is also an important and difficult choice.  The way you present your story to your audience can emphasize some points but also hide or minimize other important data.

8. Write down your story!

Write !  It’s about time, isn’t it?  Yes, now you can sit down at your desk and start typing.  You are going to assemble bits and bolts and make a coherent, fascinating story.  Do it with style.  Respect your reader, so avoid useless repetition, clichés and jargon.  Your reader deserves the best of your production!

And, by the way, your reader is not your mom : so don’t expect praises and compliments if your text doesn’t match the industry standards…

9. Edit your paper

So after writing, don’t forget to edit your paper : it’s time to chase mispellings and clumsy wording, to trim lingo and difficult expressions.  Keep it simple and stylish!  If possible, get it edited by someone else.

10. Publish your story!

And finally : publish!  Choose the right canal to do so.  If you are a blogger, you have total freedom.  If you are a journalist, you’ll have few impact on the publishing process : the story, the angle, the structure, the publishing time… all of that will be imposed (or at least discussed) by your editor in chief…

But, anyway, when all this is done, you’ll have the pleasure to read your prose online or on paper and you’ll probably get some feedback from your favorite readers (including mamy, yes!).

Did you like this article? Sign up for my newsletter and never miss any item or event!

Study Better with Visual Thinking at Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht

Thanks to Liam Hughes and the Biggerplate team who invited me to introduce my method : Study Better with Visual Thinking.  It was in Biggerplate Unplugged in Utrecht, on Wednesday the 9th of October.

I already published an article about my five step method “How to study better with visual thinking“.  But the wonderful Biggerplate team invited me to introduce it during the Biggerplate Unplugged event in Utrecht on Wednesday the 9th of October.

I made a prezi presentation about it, I hoped it was good enough to make a nice talk and I sent the package to Liam Hughes.

So on Wednedsday, I was right in front of a panel of mindmappers from all over Europe :  from Spain to Scotland through Belgium, France and the Netherlands.   And I showed them this :

Of course, I was not the only speaker that day : find the other very interesting speakers of that Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht on the Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht page.

Next appointment : San Francisco in March 2014.  See you there ?

Combine the power of mindmaps and flashcards with XMind2Anki

Mindmaps are fantastic to show you the structure of a course, an organization or a group of concepts.  Flashcards are great when you want to study details, definitions or formulas.  With XMind2Anki, combine the power of mindmaps and of flashcards to study even more efficiently!

If you are a regular mindmap user, you already know how efficient they are to study : they are a fantastic way to find the links between concepts and to show the structure of any set of thoughts.   You already found out how the association of keywords, pictures, branches and colours helps you to better understand and memorize.

If you use flashcards to prepare for your exams, you already know how helpful they can be to memorize very quickly a huge amount of new words in your own language or in a foreign idiom, definitions or maths and sciences formulas.

What if you could combine the powers of those two fabulous tools?  If you could use the links, the structure, the global view of a mindmap as well as the powerful details memorization of flashcards?

Of course, it would take a lot of time to gather the elements of your mindmap to turn them into a deck of flashcards!

But, imagine that an application could automatically turn your mindmap into a deck of flashcards?  You could take advantage of both techniques without wasting your time copying items from one medium into the other…

how to combine the structure of a XMind mindmap with the memorizing power of Anki ?
Combine mind map & flashcards

XMind2Anki : the power of mindmaps and flashcards

Such application exists : it is called XMind2Anki and it has been developed by my friend Bruno Martin who is finishing his PhD thesis in Paris (you can follow him on Twitter : @itc4efficiency)

It is a small application that you can download and use entirely for free : no bad surprises!

Download also XMind and Anki if you don’t have them yet.

Draw your mindmap as usual.  In this article, we’ll see the simplest method : one question and a set of answers per branch (or topic, in XMind lingo).  In another article, we’ll see how to use filters to export more complex mindmaps.

I made a mind map about the French Presidents of the Fifth Republic.

An XMind mind map about the French Presidents to be exported as a deck of Anki flashcards
A simple 2 level mindmap

This is a very simple 2 level mindmap : the first level – Premier, Deuxième, Troisième, etc. – will be our question.  Who is the fifth French President of the Fifth Republic?

The second level – for instance, Jacques Chirac, 29-11-1932, etc. – will be the answer.

Nothing very complicated!

Using XMind2Anki for the first time

Once you have downloaded your application, you get a .rar file.  You have to decompress it in order to launch it.  Then, click on the xmind2anki.exe file, if your OS is Windows ; click on the .jar file, if you work with Mac OS or Linux.  Xmind2Anki can work with the three operating systems.

When you launch XMind2Anki, the following menu pops up on your screen :

A window pops up on your screen with the different options of XMind2Anki
XMind2anki window

Turn your mindmap into a deck of flashcards

First, click on the red button, in the superior left corner of the menu.  This will indicate to XMind2Anki which XMind mindmap you want to export to Anki.  In this case, I select my French Presidents mindmap.

Then, choose a name and a location for your Anki file.

When it’s done, simply click on the green button, on the right.  XMind2Anki starts to export your mindmap as a new deck of Anki Flashcards!

XMind2Anki Menu showing the achievment of the exportation to Anki
Exporting to Anki!

Since I have only 8 topics, the exportation takes only a few seconds!

If I look closely at my XMind mindmap, I’ll find out that a tiny icon appeard in the central topic : it is the Anki icon and it is a hyperlink towards the desk of flashcards I just created.

Anki hyperlink towards the new desk of flashcards
A tiny icon appears in my central topic

If I click on that tiny icon, I’ll open my new desk of Anki flashcards!

Here is a sample of my new desk about the French President : this is the fourth topic of my XMind mindmap and the fourth flashcard of my Anki deck : François Mitterand, who was the fourth President of the Fifth French Republic.

The word “Quatrième” – fourth in French is my question.  So, who was the French president ?  The answer is François Mitterand and I can see his picture.  All the subtopics the branch François Mitterand became parts of the answer, listed in a bullet list under the picture.

An Anki flashcard resulting of the exportation of my XMind mindmap topics
A new flashcard

Now, I can study the presidents of the Fifth French Republic combining the structuring powers of the XMind mind map and the memorizing powers of the Anki flashcards.

And you : are you also using this kind of techniques ?  Or do you study with other tools ?  Which ones ?  What kind of results do you get ?

Did you like this article? Sign up for my newsletter and never miss any item or event!

How to study efficiently in five steps with visual thinking !

How to study faster and better ?  How to memorize things ?  How to understand better ?  How to get ready for the next exam ?  Here is my method in five steps to study better with visual thinking and memory techniques.

Lisez ceci en français !

If you examine the main difficulties of the students, in secondary school as well as at the university, it seems that “learning to learn” is the key expression.  Some teachers event refuse to admit that there is such thing as “learning to learn“.

And yet, I’ve helped a lot of student by teaching them this method : everybody has the potential to learn better.  If you get the appropriate method and the right tools.

This is also the method I’m going to talk about at the Biggerplate Unplugged in Utrecht on the 9th of October.  Don’t miss that fantastic event !

So, I gathered the five steps and some concepts here on this mindmap : (click on the picture to maximize it.  You can also download this Study Better mindmap for free on my Biggerplate page.)

How to learn better and faster ?  Using visual thinking and memory techniques
Study Better in Five Steps

I’ll consider each stage in detail in articles to come.  But let’s review the whole method here  !

First step : Reboost your motivation !

In order to learn, you need to be motivated.

So, think about your studies as a project.  Each of your courses can be considered as a project with Smaart goals, deadlines, tasks to achieve.

I personally use an adapted version of GTD with Mindmeister.

Handle your workload with the GTD method and a Mindmeister mind map
An adapted GTD dashboard for students

Define your goals and your motivations : why do I study ?  Whom do I study for ?  Myself ?  My parents ?  My professors ?  My girlfriend ?

What do I want to achieve ?  What kind of profession do I want to do later ?  What are the stages, the necessary training, the adequate degrees to reach that long term goal ?

What do I like ?  What do I really want to learn ?

If you know yourself and what you want to achieve, if you have the right tool to handle the workload of studies, you can succeed.  And guess what ?  Succeeding is the best way to succeed !  What I mean is : succeed in small things first, that will strenghten your selfconfidence, and you’ll be able to succeed in bigger stuff.  And finally, you’ll succeed in your studies as well!

Second step : get back in touch with your course

The day itself, when you go back home, open your books and reread your notes : read slowly, let the ideas get back to you.

Jot down some notes with a mind map : I don’t know any more powerful or efficient tool to summarize something than mind mapping !

The association of keywords, colours, images, branches, place on the sheet, everything concurs to memorize and understand better than with boring linear notes.

This is the best way to understand the structure of your course, how elements and concepts are linked together.  This is something most students have difficulties with…

Try to remember what the teacher or the professor said.  Try to identify what you don’t really understand and ask for some explanation.  This is the right time to do so : you have fresh ideas, it will be easier to connect the new concepts to what you already know.  Futhermore, if you wait for the day before the exams, everybody will be busy and who will waste that precious time to share something with you ?

Third step : reactivate your memory

The secret of memorizing is : first, understand what you learn.  Create links and associations with what you already know.

Make another mindmap or complete the one you started at the previous step.  Then, try to ask your own questions, with the 5 W’s & 2 H’s method.  This is a very old and efficient way to learn.

When you summarized the course with your mindmap, you entered the matter through the professor’s path.  It was His or Her structure.

By asking questions over the course, you’ll build your own path, your own way to question and to understand everything.

How to question your course and to understand it deeper ? by asking Quintilian's 7 questions
Quintilian’s method

Fourth step : reuse the course

When you read your books and your notes, you use some groups of neurons in your brain.  But when you sit for the examination, you’ll have to answer questions or write a paper about that course.  And those are different cognitive skills which use other parts of your brain.  So, you have to train the right groups of neurons to succeed…

Use concept maps to grasps the different concepts.  Use flashcards to memorize definitions, names, formulas.  Use devices like XMind2Anki to turn your mindmap into a deck of flashcards.

Fifth step : revise and exercise

The best way to learn on the long run is to vary the tools and the techniques : use bubble and doublebubble maps to compare two objects or groups of concepts.

Teach !  Tell your stuff to a person who doesn’t know anything about it.  This is the best way to learn : why do you think professors know their courses so well ?  Because they keep on teaching it !

In order to explain something, you have to understand it very deeply, to the minute details…

So, train, review, exercise, vary the methods and the techniques.   This is the secret : use your whole brain !

Did you like this article? Sign up for my newsletter and never miss any item or event!

XMind 2013: the 10 new mindmapping software features!

It has been announced for several weeks now : the 2013 beta version of XMind, the most popular mind mapping software, is available. This software includes 10 new features and 11 improvements which aficionados have eagerly waited.

Lisez cet article en français !

 Let us say it immediately, this is not a revolution…

When you look at your home screen, you hardly see any difference with the previous version. But, as with some cars, you have to look  under the hood to really grasp the new technical features.  And their invaluable potential.

And these technical features are numerous: no less than 10 new features and 11 improvements!

10 new features for XMind

 These new functions are not all at the same level : if some go to the core of the software, some, such as new markers, seem rather peripheral.

 But let us review them. Nothing like a mindmap to view all in a glance! Double-click the map to enlarge it or click here to download from Biggerplate (for free!)

A brand new version of the most popular mind mapping software
10 new functionalities and 11 improvements

Still no online real-time collaboration and yet, users, especially professionals, increasingly ask for it.

Nevertheless, XMind 2013 authorizes the automatic sharing of mindmaps via a local network: such a major breakthrough! And it automatically shares the latest and recently updated mindmap version. No need to exchange emails with your colleagues or even upload your mindmaps on the XMind platform anymore.

You can import text directly from Word in a topic note.  Previously, you  had to use the copy and paste – a function that saves significant time gathering documents, for example!

For me, one of the finest success of this new version of XMind 2013 is the new export to Excel! This is something that was sorely lacking in XMind, and it works very well.

 Export to Excel, a real success!

I conducted a test with one of my previous mindmaps often posted on my French blog : that mindmap is called CQQCOQP. I’ll repost it here just to show you how the export to Excel works (you can also acquire free downloading on my Biggerplate page).

The 7 questions of Quintilian, the Roman orator, translated into a mindmap
CQQCOQP : a set of 7 questions

Once the information is exported to an Excel spreadsheet, nothing changes and everything is in order according to the position of subjects. The central issue became the title of my Excel sheet, the levels are the titles of my columns, and the issues have become cells A, while other subjects are placed back into the logical order.

The data afer I exported my XMind 2013 mindmap into Excel
The results in the spreadsheet

I don’t have a Mac OS and hence don’t have the opportunity to test the new features using this operating system, including direct export to PowerPoint, Word and Excel.

Xmind 2013 also exports to SVG , the scalable vector drawing.

As for the workbooks, it is now possible to merge and print them in their entirety and not map by map.  Again, a significant gain in time .

Now it is possible to reduce the file size of an XMind 2013 mindmap  : no more stuck with files too heavy to be emailed!

I also tested the new style editor : very intuitive , very complete.  It allows you to change the shape , color, size, font , etc.  It works not only with the topics, but also with other objects like summaries, boundaries, etc.  A great tool for those who love the aesthetic mindmaps.

I conclude this list of new features with the markers: a new series of the prettiest and most readable markers.

11 Significant improvements of the mindmapping software

The new XMind 2013 works better in exports : better PDF export with SVG vector graphics , Word, PowerPoint.

The gallery is renamed Clip Art : I personally would have preferred that certain old school or rudimentary images would have been replaced in a brand new style like the one of  the new markers …

The files attachment and hyperlinks have also been improved – which is not directly visible. It also has to be tested.

Keyboard shortcuts have been added for Mac OS users, including the addition of new sheets.

You can also simultaneously focus on a topic and see the tasks related to it in the Gantt chart : a real advantage for project managers.

An improvement that XMind doesn’t report on his blog: the new zoom at the bottom of the screen to adjust the map display.  It doesn’t sound that important, but this small device that can display the map at 50 , 100, 150 %, etc.,  adds up to the comfort.  In practice, you will find it handy !

Finally, there are also several improvements in the markers field : their size is now proportional to the font of the topic in which they are included. This makes them much more visible in some cases.

Groups of markers in the menu become expandable sets, which avoids an endless scroll following markers on the screen when looking for a particular group…

And finally, for multiple makers in a topic, the order of markers is the same in the topic as in the “view” menu : there could have been a confusion with previous versions .


As I said in the introduction, this new version  is not a revolution, but, if the changes in the look of the software are almost imperceptible, there are  some significant breakthroughs!

Some of the new functions, such as export to Excel, the merge and print of entire workbooks will obviously make it easier for users to save their time and make XMind 2013 more compatible with standards softwares formats .

A version to use and to leverage…  waiting for the collaborative online in real time (I know, I repeat myself over and over, but it is a growing market demand …  I just hope the software producers will hear me and adapt their software to the users’ needs… ).

Convinced? Download the free beta version of XMind 2013!

Did you like this article? Sign up for my newsletter and never miss any item or event!