Concept maps are learning diagrams, rooted in constructivist learning theory, which spatially represent ideas, processes and interrelationships. Also known as semantic networks or cognitive structures, concept maps can be used by teachers and learners for many purposes: communicating complex ideas, stimulating creativity, driving knowledge capture and elicitation, increasing meaningful learning, assessing understanding and diagnosing misunderstanding. There is significant existing research on the learning theories which underpin concept mapping. Previous work on concept mapping discusses types of concept maps along with effective applications. Much of the existing literature is based on classroom application of concept mapping techniques. This practice-focused paper begins by synthesizing underlying learning theories and existing research on concept mapping. Drawing from the author’s own experiences with distance education, it then presents practical techniques for student-centered, activity-based concept mapping not only in the classroom, but also in the online learning environment.
|Keywords:||Concept Mapping, Semantic Networks, Visual Learning, Constructivist Theory, Online Learning, Distance Learning, Distributed Learning, Flexible Learning|
Associate Professor, School of Graphic Communications Management, Faculty of Communication & Design, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada
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