Concept mapping is used to organize related information in a visual manner. Study maps clearly and concisely demonstrate hierarchical relationships among the topic, main ideas, and supporting details or pertinent course material.
Mapping is a way of picturing course content that enhances retrievability of the information on a test. Maps are useful because they reduce large amounts of information.
Mapping helps you to learn actively. The maps are highly individualized, representing information in a unique and personal way. Structuring the map allows you to see interrelationships in the information.
When to map:
- When a course can be organized by topics or concepts.
- When knowing a structure, system, operation process, or sequence of events is integral to understanding course material.
- When summarizing, outlining, or otherwise reducing content for an exam.
How to map:
- Select a topic/concept on the basis of significance to the course.
- Decide on how to categorize the information: Does something take place over time? Can an idea be broken down neatly into constituent parts? Is there a hierarchical relationship among the elements of the topic or concept?
- Write each main idea, major heading, or term on a separate, small slip of paper or index card. Divide these into piles under major divisions.
- Move the card or papers around until the map is accurate and you have decided the appropriate position for each card. You may find yourself adding or discarding cards.
- If steps 3 and 4 are too burdensome, simply concept as you go along.
Holschuh, J. and Nist, S. (2000). Active learning: Strategies for college success. Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon.
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