Concept mapping is a learning strategy that involves visualising relations between concepts and ideas using graphical representations. It is a form of graphic organizer that consists of various circles or boxes (called nodes) each of which contain a concept and are all interlinked through linking phrases. The role of these linking phrases is to ‘identify the relationship between adjacent concepts’ (McClellan and Broggy, 2009).
As a learning tool, Concept maps were first introduced by Novak and his colleagues in Cornell University in the 70s of last century. Concept maps are based on Asubel’s theory of meaningful learning which states that “learning is meaningful when the student comprehends the relationship of what is being learned to other knowledge”(KILIÇ and ÇAKMAK, 2013, p. 154). In other words, meaningful learning “results when a person consciously and explicitly ties new knowledge to relevant concepts they already possess” (Stoica, Moraru, and Miron, 2010, p. 568). Some key pillars of meaningful learning include prior knowledge, interaction, and collaboration all of which are supported by concept mapping.
However, a detailed discussion of the literature and theoretical base of concept maps is beyond the scope of this short post. To learn more about concept maps, their underlying theory and their uses in education, we recommend the reference list at the bottom of this post.