Categories: Mindmapping, Brainstorming
Availability: Browser, iOS, Android
Uses: Creativity, Reflection, Foster Understanding, Collaboration, Project Management

What is it?
Coggle is a free app for mindmapping and brainstorming. It is available through a browser at www. or through their app but the user experience is better through the web version.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organise information. They usually a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics. Online mindmapping software allows multiple individuals to collaboratively create and amend a mind map. This can involve individuals working on a mind map synchronously (i.e. in real time) or asynchronously and can include features such as commenting, live chat, change history, version control etc. 

How can I use it?
One of the most common ways of using mindmaps is for the purposes of brainstorming. You can begin this process by focusing on a single core concept or word which sits in the center of the mindmap. Once this has been set, related ideas or concepts (“branches”) can link these related ideas and concepts to the main concept or word. This will help you to visualise and structure their ideas, identify all the relevant elements which must be considered and determine the best plan(s) of action.

Mindmaps allow you to share resources with your students in a visual way and they can be created alone or collaboratively. The collaborative nature of mindmaps makes them particularly useful tools for group project work and they can be often be edited by a number of people either in real-time or asynchronously over time.

Mindmaps can generally be shared with others quite easily through a link and any updates are reflected in the mindmap at the same link. Resources shared within mindmaps can be links, images, text, video and other media so they are great ways of showing progress, idea generation or project plans.

You can use mindmaps to share resources on any topics that you teach your class. You can ask your students to add to a mindmap with resources they have found on the subject. Your students can use mindmaps in groups to share resources with each other when working on projects. They can send you a link to look at their mindmaps and the resources they have collected.

To get started:

  • Go to and click + Sign Up Now
    You can sign in with your Google Account or click Create a new account
    • Coogl requires a Google Account - you can create one for free if you don’t have one.
  • When you log in, click + Create Diagram
    • Coggl provides a virtual walkthrough to guide you through the process of creating your first mindmap - it’s a good idea to follow this as it will get you up and running quickly
  • You can invite people to collaborate on your Coggl mindmap by clicking the + sign at the top right of the screen, next to your username.
    • Add their email address and click send
  • Click the grey box in the centre to add a main title for you mindmap
    Click the + signs to add a branch from this main topic and keep clicking the + signs to extend the mindmap, adding further subtopics and related items.
    Drag the text boxes to change their size and position. You can also change some font styling, add links, images and icons to the topics.

Why should I use it?
One of the most difficult tasks for students working in group projects and similar group activities can be simply getting started and identifying what the focus of their efforts will be. It can be hard for students to describe or visualise the “map” or ontology behind their ideas or proposals - the different elements involved and how all of these are interrelated. This can be particularly tough if students are trying to describe or present an idea to you as miscommunications or misunderstandings can arise without visual aids. Mind maps are very effective tools for helping students to visually present their ideas and show how the elements involved in the idea are connected. This in turn allows you, the lecturer, to get a sense of the students’ idea and assess their  conceptual development and understanding.

Mindmaps are particularly useful for creativity activites like brainstorming, where users can share their ideas and try to form a “diagram” of their concept. Coggle provides an area for comments and notes can be added within the workspace keeping feedback, ideas and messages to hand during the brainstorming process and making it ideal for collaborative work.

Online mindmaps can be as large as you want, so there are no limits to their size, unlike with physical instances where you may run out of space. Also, online mindmaps can be easily edited as moving topics with mindmapping software will move connected elements also, so there is no need to “draw it again” unlike pen and paper-based mindmaps

Post-brainstorming, mindmaps can also be used to map the relationships between all the concepts in the mindmap and identify the relationships between these elements. Based on this, student groups could use the mindmap for project planning - to assign responsibilities for certain elements, to develop a plan of action on what to do first, etc.

Top Tip
You should make sure that all branches in the mindmap are clearly distinct from one another so that it is not ambiguous where a resource should go.

Where can I find it?
Unless otherwise stated, all reviews and recommendations are solely those of the Department of Technology Enhanced Learning team and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organisation, including Cork Institute of Technology. The Department is not responsible for any inappropriate, offensive or illegal content viewed or accessed through the tools and products reviewed.