Concept Maps as a Technique for Organizing, Analyzing, and Transforming Knowledge

Concept Maps as a Technique for Organizing, Analyzing, and Transforming Knowledge

Michael Tang (Virtual Education Research Institute, University of Colorado, Denver, USA) and Janelle M. Johnson (Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3476-2.ch047
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The chapter begins with the origins of concept maps as a tool to promote constructivist learning, an educational philosophy and practice, and is followed by a concept map taxonomy. A definition of concept maps is provided and the main differences between Mind Maps©, Thinking Maps®, and Concept Maps are discussed with Thinking Maps classified as a type of concept map that is separate and different from both other maps. The chapter then offers a second definition of the term “concept maps,” with a detailed discussion of Thinking Maps resulting in a new taxonomy of knowledge or concept maps. The authors then investigate integrating concept maps with cognitive styles theory to determine if concept mapping might have a neuro-psychological basis and if mapping theory can be related to different academic fields and professions. The chapter concludes that the use of concept mapping can promote more holistic and effective teaching, learning, and practice in STEM education.
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J. D. Novak, a constructivist education scholar modified educational psychology “Advance Organizers” (Ausubel, 1963, 1968) and translated them into visual form by drawing diagrams which he called “Concept Maps.” This simple but highly significant step occurred when Novak and his colleagues at Cornell were tracking changes in children’s knowledge of science in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) research project. Novak (2010) saw that this method of recording student achievement could be transferred to improving student performance in itself. The invention of concept mapping for student improvement paralleled a constructivist paradigm initiated by such prominent educational psychologists such as Piaget (1971), Vitgosksy (1978) and Von Glaserfeld (1995).

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