what is next for concept mapping ?

The argument that concept mapping can help meaningful learning has been won.

We have lots of studies that show that students who map do better than students who do not. And so one might suggest that as a community our research gaze should shift. Rather than keep stating this through more studies in different contexts and different subject areas, we should think how best to develop the field rather than re-ploughing the same ground.

So where next for concept mapping? I argue that the c-map community needs to target the dominant educational discourse and integrate concept mapping with key contemporary education theories  that complement the application of concept mapping – these need to be embraced. I would argue that the c-map community needs to do more to challenge the dominant educational discourse that regards students as passive learners, and encourages non-learning.

Rather than present this as text, I offer a summary as a concept map.

click on this link for PDF of concept map image:   what next for concept mapping

I would be happy to see any suggested amendments to this perspective in the replies here.

For those of you attending the Concept Mapping Conference in Brazil in September, I would be delighted to continue the discussions there.


4 thoughts on “what is next for concept mapping ?

    1. Norma Miller

      To add to the discussion I would like to mention a couple of precedents that seem to me efforts to “make concept mapping more mainstream”, the one, and to “target the dominant discourse” the other. The first is the work of Ruiz-Primo, Shavelson, and other towards developing new forms of assessing learning, in particular, the use concept maps as an alternative method of evaluation in standardized examinations. The second is the New Model for Education proposed by Novak and Cañas, implemented via a concept map-centered learning environment. It would seem worthwhile to see what has come of each of these attempts to move concept-mapping into the foreground of the educational stage.

      Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2008). The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. Available at http://cmap.ihmc.us/publications/researchpapers/theorycmaps/theoryunderlyingconceptmaps.htm

      Ruiz-Primo, M. A., & Shavelson, R. J. (1996). Problems and issues in the use of concept maps in science assessment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(6), 569-600.

      Ruiz-Primo, M. A., Shavelson, R., Li, M., & Schultz, S. (2001). On the Validity of Cognitive Interpretations of Scores From Alternative Concept-Mapping Techniques. Educational Assessment, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2001 99-141.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Alla Anohina-Naumeca

    I am fully agree with you that integration with contemporary learning theories is necessary, but from my practice and practice of my colleagues I see one more thing – necessity to develop methodologies and techniques for effective use of concept maps in different educational situations. I noticed that usually if some new teacher is interested in usage of concept maps he/she needs to start from scratch and to find by himself/herself effective ways how to use concept maps for collaborative work, assessment, course planning, and so on. This asks from him/her to spend a lot of time trying different approaches. Therefore we need to summarize existent experience on usage of concept maps in different educational situations and to develop “ready-for-use” methodologies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paulo Correia

      *Techniques for effective use of concept maps*
      I agree with Alla and I believe it’s critical to train novices to make ‘good’ concept maps (external knowledge representations that allow to access the mappers’ internal representations – mental models). I and my research group have worked to develop activities to train students to make such ‘good’ concept maps. This is a critical condition to obtain all rewards the literature presents in terms of meaningful learning, collaborative learning and metacognitive processes. ‘Bad’ concept maps may be just a fun classroom activity with minor consequences to the learning process.
      *Contemporary education theories*
      I will present a paper in CMC2014 to link a new theoretical perspective to this discussion. We will interpret tasks involving *learner-generated concept map* using Cognitive Load Theory. Our goal is to show learners are under cognitive overload when they don’t receive specific training on the concept map technique.

      Liked by 1 person


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