Short notes on concept mapping

In preparation for a concept mapping assignment I ran during the course of this year, I did some reading on concept mapping, during which I made some short notes. Here they are…

Concept mapping is useful to establish relationships between ideas and has been linked to 30 % improvement in student understanding

Ausubel’s assimilation theory: Meaningful learning involves changing ones current knowledge as a result of the comprehension of new knowledge

Concept: anything that can be named / perceived regularities or patterns

Proposition: an expression of the relationship between concepts

Maps: represents knowledge using diagrams that express concepts and relationships

Linking phrases: without the relations, knowledge would not “cohere”

The most important single factor influencing learning, is what the learner already knows (Ausubel, 1968)

In the process of meaningful learning, people construct meanings for concepts and propositions based on experiences, building up their knowledge structure

Meaningful learning involves changing ones current knowledge as a result of the comprehension of new knowledge

There needs to be:

  • Differentiation of concepts
  • Superordination of concepts under more general, more inclusive concepts
  • Subsumption of new concepts into existing, more general concepts and propositions
  • Integrative reconciliation to achieve coherence and consistency

Drawing a map:

  • Helps the designer understand the problem
  • Is a creative process (new discoveries are made as the map is drawn)
  • Helps establish credibility within the team
  • The map itself offers the first chance to interject the user as a guiding concept for the product

Progressive cognition (3 levels): review at a glance → readable with some attention → deeper, richer understanding can be layered in

Drawing a map:

  1. Identify main concept
  2. List related concepts (don’t worry about organisation, importance, completeness)
  3. Draw a rough map
  4. Interview team members and domain experts
  5. Identify synonyms and instances (remove redundancy, cluster related concepts)
  6. Redraw, redraw, redraw (each time you’ll discover new connections)
  7. Get feedback from the team
  8. Repeat 4-7

Maps can be redrawn and rearranged to highlight different concepts

Choose a dominant position, use a hierarchy, different colours, etc.