A conceptual map will help you organize your thoughts and good ideas after a brainstorming session for any creative project. Conceptual maps are an excellent visual aid, because they provide an opportunity to see how many topics and processes are related to each other. Conceptual cards are usually made like this: the word is surrounded by a square or oval, arrows are drawn from it, connecting it with other words, showing the relationship between these objects. The most common types of conceptual maps are a hierarchy map, a link map (“spider”), and a flow diagram map.
In recent years, mental maps, a technique for visual displaying structured information, have gained wide popularity. However, in some cases their use is limited. A concept map is a further development of data visualization methods that allows you to display various concepts and the relationships between them.
What is a concept card?
A concept map is a graphic display of the connections between different ideas or objects. It consists of ovals or rectangles (in which certain concepts are enclosed) and lines connecting them (denoting certain connections between them).
You should not confuse concept cards with mental (intelligence) cards. This technique has a fairly strict, hierarchical structure. While concept cards are more likely to resemble a network - in addition to vertical connections, it is also very easy to designate horizontal ones in them. This is very important in areas such as medicine or programming.
A concept map is created on the basis of a focus question - a wording that sets the purpose and scope of the map, directs thinking towards solving a particular problem.
Here's what it looks like:
Why can you use concept cards
Just like mental maps, this technique can be used in the brainstorming process to generate and analyze ideas. Visualization allows you to look at the task from different angles and stimulates creativity.
The technique is widely used in applied technical fields: engineering, programming, project management.
It occupies a special place in education. The ability to display both hierarchical and horizontal connections makes it a truly invaluable tool for explaining complex ideas and processes. It significantly improves the storage of information, helps to systematize knowledge. It can be used to create abstracts or notes, to make on its basis drafts of presentations or text materials.
How to make a concept map
The process of creating concept maps is very simple and consists of the following steps:
- Decide on a focus question. What is a map for? What problem is it trying to solve? Write it down in a few words.
- Add other ideas or concepts as well. Write each in a separate cell of any shape.
- Identify the links between ideas. Just draw lines or arrows between them. Sign them or use predefined lines of different types (for example, dashed or bold lines).
- Add new concepts and relationships as needed.
Use the following tips to make the concept card easier to understand:
- cells for concepts should be of different sizes and shapes - so the brain is much easier to select them. This also applies to communication lines,
- use different colors
- if possible, make simple drawings - just like in mental maps,
- combine the concepts of one class - circle them with one line or make the background of the same color,
- use stickers for recordings (as they do in detective films).
Programs for creating concept cards
Of course, all this can be done manually on paper. But now there are many diverse programs that facilitate the creation of concept maps. Here are a few of them:
Concept cards became a further development of the idea of intelligence cards. They have more features - they allow you to display not only vertical, but also horizontal connections. Conceptual maps are easy to use, but significantly expand the possibilities in both work and training.
Unlike other visualizations
A concept map is a way of displaying information between ideas, images and words in the same sense that a sentence parsing scheme displays its grammatical and syntactic structure, a roadmap shows the location of objects, roads and cities, and an electrical diagram displays the connections between elements of an electrical device. On a concept map, each word or phrase is associated with another, and from these connections you can restore their relationship with the main concept of the map. The concept of the map is one of the ways of developing logical thinking and learning abilities, helping students to understand the place of an individual idea in the context of a certain area and to establish the relationship between the concepts.
A good concept map exists within contextasked by a specific “key question”, while a link diagram usually only has links coming from the center object of the diagram. Some studies suggest that the brain stores information in the form of pairs of “situations” and “reactions” that are activated during declarative memory, which in turn consists of “assumptions” and “pieces of information”. Since the concept cards are designed to conform to the structure of declarative memory, they simplify the understanding of new concepts and make learning more effective for those who use them and who make them up.