A concept map is a way of representing relationships between ideas, images, or words in the same way that a sentence diagram represents the grammar of a sentence, a road map represents the locations of highways and towns, and a circuit diagram represents the workings of an electrical appliance. In a concept map, each word or phrase connects to another, and links back to the original idea, word, or phrase. Concept maps are a way to develop logical thinking and study skills by revealing connections and helping students see how individual ideas form a larger whole.
How to Create a Concept Map
Step 1: List key concepts/terms related to the topic
Step 2: Elaborate and expand key concepts
Step 3: Identify links between concepts
Parts of a Concept Map
- Nodes correspond to the concepts or important terms related to your topic(s).
- Labeled Link Lines identify the type of relationship. The line between a pair of concepts denotes a relationship, and the label on the line tells how the two concepts are related.
Concept Map Tutorial: This tutorial provides a general overview of Concept Maps as well as specific lesson plans for using them.
Ideas for your Courses
Like any new approach to learning, you may want to provide examples; be sure to create very clear instructions.
- Concept Mapping as an Organizer: Encourage students to create concept maps as they read and synthesize the textbook or work with other content resources. In class or via a Canvas discussion, compare and share maps.
- In Class with Focus Questions: Ask students a focus question with an issue the concept map should address (for example "what are the effects of ____"). Students then work individually or in groups to generate a list of relevant concepts. Ask students to organize the concepts and create a draft concept map. Discuss and then allow students to revise, as needed.
- Concept Map as "Baseline Assessment:" Ask a student to create a concept map detailing what they know about _____. This will give you an idea as to their prior knowledge or experience with course content. You can repeat this throughout the semester, and see the changes as student grasp course content and concepts.
- Classroom Assessment Techniques that use Concept Maps (video)