This www page has been consolidated in respect to Jan Lanzing. The page is kept just like Jan left it behind right before he passed away on March 3, 1997. Many links have become obsolete since then.

Concept Mapping Homepage

The Concept Mapping Homepage

What is Concept Mapping ?

Concept mapping is a technique for representing knowledge in graphs. Knowledge graphs are networks of concepts. Networks consist of nodes (points/vertices) and links (arcs/edges). Nodes represent concepts and links represent the relations between concepts.

Concepts and sometimes links are labeled. Links can be non-, uni- or bi-directional. Concepts and links may be categorised, they can be simply associative, specified or divided in categories such as causal or temporal relations.

Concept mapping can be done for for several purposes:

The concept mapping technique was developed by Prof. Joseph D. Novak at Cornell University in the 1960s. This work was based on the theories of David Ausubel, who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in being able to learn about new concepts. Novak concluded that "Meaningful learning involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing cognitive structures".

Mind Mapping® is a popular related technique, invented (and copyrighted) by Tony Buzan in the UK. He describes mind maps as: "a mind map consists of a central word or concept, around the central word you draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate to that word. You then take each of those child words and again draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate to each of those words."

The difference between concept maps and mind maps is that a mind map has only one main concept, while a concept map may have several. This comes down to the point that a mind map can be represented as a tree, while a concept map may need a network representation.


An example Concept Map

Here is an example of a concept map. In this example the nodes are labeled, the links are also labeled and uni-directional.

Example concept map

This one was made using CMap on the Macintosh.


Concept Mapping links

More concept mapping information may be found at the Classroom of the Future site or at the site of the Misconceptions Seminar.
Will Reader at the UK Institute of Education has some materials online about concept mapping.

The Buzan: Brain, memory, learning and mindmapping site is the "official" place to look for information regarding mind mapping. Information about mind mapping is also available on the Creativity Web pages. This is also a good point for finding resources about similar creativity techniques. More information on mind mapping can be found in the Mind Mapping FAQ file. A step-by-step instruction for mind mapping and some nice examples of scanned mind maps can be found at Ian Docherty's mind mapping site.


Concept Mapping software

Currently preparations are almost finished for an article overviewing over 15 concept mapping tools, including those mentioned below. (pre-print)

Learning from many of these tools a project to develop a new tool was started. A mockup version was developed and now available for evaluation. CptMap (its working title) is now being further developed in Borland Delphi.

Some computer tools for concept- or mind mapping
REVIEWInspiration Software, Inc. maker of Inspiration
REVIEWAxon Idea Processor 5.0 by Chan Bok
REVIEWCMap 2.0 for Macintosh fetch by gopher
REVIEWDecision Explorer (formerly called Graphics COPE) by Banxia Software
REVIEWSemNet Research Group maker of SemNet
REVIEWMindMan by Micheal Jetter
REVIEWCoCo Systems maker of VisiMap and InfoMap (Lite)
REVIEWActivity Map by Time/system Int.
REVIEWTextVision / TekstNet by Piet Kommers.
REVIEWSMART Ideas by SMART Technologies
REVIEWEGLE Magic (info by e-mail) maker of Mind Mapper [Mind Mapper fetch by ftp (approx. 300kb)]


Some basic references

Buzan, T. (1995). The MindMap book. (2 ed.). London, UK: BBC Books.

Jonassen, D.H., Beissner, K., & Yacci, M.A. (1993). Structural knowledge: Techniques for conveying, assessing, and acquiring structural knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lawson, M. J. (1994). Concept Mapping. In T. HusÚn & T. N. Postlethwaite (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of education (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 1026-1031). Oxford: Elsevier Science.

Novak, J.D. (1991). Clarify with concept maps: A tool for students and teachers alike. The Science Teacher, 58(7), 45-49.

Novak, J. D. (1993). How do we learn our lesson? : Taking students through the process. The Science Teacher, 60(3), 50-55.

More literature


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