Setting the teaching world alight

May 18, 2001

Business software developer Gael aims to help the global learning market "work smarter, not harder".

The United Kingdom-based company has developed Ygnite, a commercial software tool that will allow education institutions to reap the benefits of "computer-aided thinking". Ygnite builds on the work of Tony Buzan and the mind-mapping technique. Mind-mapping, which has been used in education institutions for more than 30 years, is recognised as a powerful methodology for enhancing thinking and learning skills.

Ygnite has been piloted at the universities of Stirling and Strathclyde in Scotland and at the Southampton Institute.

The growth of distance learning has brought new challenges to course content creators. Ygnite makes it easier to research, collate and organise content that is creative, well structured and concise.

Lorraine Stefani, reader in the Centre for Academic Practice at the University of Strathclyde, said: "I was extremely impressed with Ygnite. What is so valuable is that even those of us with rather limited keyboard skills could use this tool with ease.

"We could use Ygnite to develop an online version of our accredited programme. You often find it more difficult to use the software than to use conventional techniques, that is not so with Ygnite."

Margaret Sheen, director of Strathclyde's Emerging Technologies Research and Assessment Centre, describes Ygnite as having "an immediate appeal for anyone who likes to relate information and concepts spatially rather than sequentially. Ideal when studying for an MBA, where there is a volume of material to read, digest and then apply." Notwithstanding its usefulness as a course-content creator, Ygnite can be used to apply mind-mapping to almost any educational task, from report and procedure writing to lecture preparation and group brainstorming.

Donald Maciver, Gael's managing director, said: "Educational institutions, like any other business, depend on their people - it is the combined thinking power and productivity of their teachers and lecturers that drive success. Ygnite is an excellent tool for studying because students retain information more easily and learn more quickly.

"It is an infallibly simple medium for students and teachers to access, stimulate and improve their thinking, but with built-in intelligence that means that mind-mapping results can be manipulated and analysed."

The software can integrate with the other applications on the computer desktop. Gael invested £500,000 to develop Ygnite over 18 months. The launch of Ygnite follows on from Gael's flagship product Q-Pulse, the quality management software.


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