By: Stephen E. DiCarlo
This concept map is a nonlinear diagrammatic representation of meaningful relationships between concepts. The concepts are linked by words that describe the relationships or connections between the concepts. Concept maps are used in various ways to enhance meaningful learning.
For example, one problem that is associated with textbooks and lecture series is the fixed sequence of learning events that have been designed by the textbook’s author or by the teacher. Any particular sequence can never be optimal for all students, given that every learner has a unique cognitive structure that is derived from their individual experiences. To overcome this limitation, the instructor can provide a basic, skeleton map of important concepts, which provides a ‘conceptual scaffolding’ that serves as a starting point for the student.
Students ‘fill in’ and complete the map by building their knowledge structures, in their own way, and represent them in more complex and elaborate maps. Students can also be required to construct their own concept maps from each class by identifying and linking important concepts. The students’ maps will become increasingly complex as their understanding progresses and they grasp the ‘big picture’. An entire lecture topic, unit, course or curriculum can be elucidated by this approach when the connections between concepts are illustrated.
Source: Nature Reviews