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Classroom Assessment Techniques
Concept Mapping

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Teaching Goals

Suggestions for Use

Development of Course Design.
Global concept maps developed by an experienced instructor, or a team of instructors, can clarify the essential concepts and their linkages. They also make explicit the connected knowledge of a field, which is implicit among experts in the discipline. Effective instruction can then be designed that contains the structure of the concept maps. Caveat: This use requires a high investment of instructor time for the initial concept map construction.

Schema for Using a Concept Map for Developing Course Design

Figure 3: Schema for Using a Concept Map for Developing Course Design
[From Novak and Gowin, 1984]
Click here to see a larger version of this graph.

Instructional Tool.
The instructor can present "expert" concept maps to the whole class to highlight key concepts and connections. These should be more detailed and flow from the global maps executed for the course design. Concept maps can then serve as "advanced organizers" (to preview material) and also for review. An instructor can continuously refer to a concept map in class to show how to "grow" the connections, and to keep the instruction focused. Caveat: At first, students will find concept maps very strange and may even try to memorize them, rather than use them as a thinking tool.

Learning Tool.
Ask students to construct their own concept maps covering a section of the course material from class or the textbook. Most (if not all!) of them will probably never have seen a concept map before, and many have not developed the learning skills needed to construct them. As a result, the instructor will need time (either in class, or perhaps in the lab) to work with groups and individuals. The impact of student-created concept maps is so powerful that it is worth the investment of time!

Step-by-Step Instructions

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