Concept Maps is a graphical (visual) tool that organizes, links, and synthesizes information. The maps show concepts in boxes or circles and can be used to indicate the relationship between concepts by connecting linking words or lines.  

Concept maps have been built based on Ausubel’s’ theory of meaningful learning. According to Ausubel, learning is meaningful when a student knows what is being learned from other experiences. If we imbibed the knowledge in its entirety, we could recall it better. Meaningful learning is also essential for good learning.

Steps of Constructing a Concept Map

Step 1

Define the context. An excellent way to determine the context for a concept map is to construct a focus question, which means a question specifies the problem or issue the concept map should help resolve. Each concept map addresses a focus question, and a good focus question will lead to a much richer concept map. Suppose our focus question is, “what is an atom?”

Step 2

Identify the key concepts in a paragraph, laboratory activity, or in a chapter; or think of the concepts of a subject area and list them. It is better to write the concept labels on separate cards or small pieces of paper to be moved around.

Step3

From the listed concepts, rank the concepts by placing the broadest and the most general idea at the top of the map. It may be challenging to identify the most comprehensive, the most inclusive concept. And It should be kept in mind that this rank order may be only approximate. It is helpful to be aware of concepts we are dealing with some idea of how these concepts are arranged.

Step 4

Work down the paper, add more specific concepts and make a hierarchical arrangement of concepts.

Step 5

Connect the concepts by lines. Label the lines with action or linking words. These links between different knowledge domains on the concept map can illustrate how these domains are related to one another. When you hold together many related ideas, you can see the meaning structure for a given subject area.

Step 6

Specific examples of concepts can be added below the concept labels. But these are not included in circles or boxes. They are specific events or objects, so they do not represent concepts.

Step 7

A concept map has never been completed. If a preliminary map has been developed, it is always important to revise this map.

Constructing a Concept Map seems difficult at the beginning but after one week of practice, you can construct a concept map on any topic.

Types of Concept Maps

1. A spider concept map

A spider concept map is a type of map used to investigate and list various aspects of a single topic. It helps the student coordinate his or her thoughts. Outwardly radiation sub-themes surround the center of the map. It looks like a web spider, as its name suggests.

                                                          Figure 1a : Spider Concept Map

 

2. The hierarchy concept map

The hierarchy concept map, as shown below, presents information in descending order of importance. Step by step, the student noted down the relevant context in the given boxes/circles. It helps to understand and co-relate the subjects. The figure shows an example of the hierarchy concept map.

                                       Figure 2a: The hierarchy Concept Map

                                    Figure 2b: The flowchart Concept Map

 

3. The flowchart concept map

The flowchart concept map organizes information in a linear format.

                                                    Figure 3a: the flowchart Concept Map

                                                             Figure 3b: pH and pOH

 

4. The systems concept map

The systems concept map organizes information in a format. Includes all the data on the map and displays a range of relationships between the data. It Uses critical thinking skills along with problem-solving skills.

                                                          Figure 4a: The systems Concept Map

                                         Figure 4b: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

 

5. A multi-dimensional (3D dimensional) concept map

A multi-dimensional (3D dimensional) concept map describes the flow or state of the information or resources that are too complex for a simple two-dimensional map.

                                       Figure 5a: Multi-dimensional (3D dimensional) Concept Map

                                                                  Figure 5b: Atom

Advantages and Disadvantages

 

Visually attractive.  Very useful for note-taking.
It can be used in a concise form.
It allows for creativity.

    While mapping your notes, you might run out of space on a single page.
Can be confusing if the concepts are misplaced