Concept Map – Efficiency

Smart Structuring Methode Concept Map
Category Efficiency
Short overview The concept map presents concepts and their interrelationships in the form of a net-like “map”. This concept map is used to organize and determine the status of a knowledge base. The respective terms (concepts) are related to each other with arrows and descriptions. While the mind map has a centre from which several branches branch off, the concept map represents the concepts and their relationships to each other.
Developed by Joseph Novak
Online Reference
Book Nückles, Matthias, Gurlitt, Johannes, et al., Mind Maps und Concept Maps. Visualisieren – Organisieren – Kommunizieren, München 2004.

According to the explanation of the inventor of the concept map, Joseph Novak, it is a tool for organizing and representing knowledge. The map establishes relationships of concepts, which are noted by a connecting line and a connecting word. Joseph Novak defines “concept” as a perceived regularity in events or objects or records of events or objects that are designated by a label.

The concept map helps to unlock the existing knowledge of a subject about the concepts and their relationships to each other. This allows gaps to be identified – which important influencing parameters are not yet part of the map and what relationship they have to the terms already known.

The example of a plant describes this as a simple knowledge network. The following (terms) are in [relationship] as follows (plant) [has] (roots) (leaves) (stem), (stem) [supported] (leaves), (leaves) [are normally] (green), (leaves) [produce] (fruits), (seeds) [are stored in] (fruits), etc.


Joseph Novak recommended for “Constructing Good Concept Maps

  1. Domain of knowledge
    This is where it all begins. Concept maps are dependent on their context. Therefore, it is best to start in context with something concrete. A central question or problem to be structured.
    Next, note down the known areas of the knowledge domain context. This can be done on a white/moderation board with cards or simply sticky notes. The individual areas can also be sorted according to their importance, but this may change again during the development of the concept map.
  2. Relations
    Between the areas – beginning with the most important ones at first – the known relationships are now noted.
    Revision of the map
    Novak assumes several revision loops for a good concept map. Therefore, the development should be done in several loops and use the possibility of reassignment as a method. Therefore, sticky notes or a software tool are of course helpful.
  3. Avoidance of “string maps
    The concept map deliberately relates several areas under one domain to each other. This is different from a string derivation, which is more of an inductive chain (from the general to the particular).
Best usage for… Cognitive evaluation from a central aspect. Shows the connections, but also the blind spots.
Weak result when… There is too little time for elaboration. The relationships and terms can be extensive and the elaboration requires a capacity for abstraction. Simple causal chains, such as induction, should be avoided.
Needed time span 4 hours plus
Type of presentation Dokument, Whiteboard, Software-Tool
Size of group It should be a small group, depending on the project 3-5 persons.

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