Where Concept Mapping Finds Its Use?
In the course of the years, concept mapping found its use in various industries and in different contexts. Today, concept mapping has become a practical method that can be used by students, teachers, newbies, and experts, individually or in a group, as it can serve as a guide towards achieving different objectives.
However, since concept maps were originally created with the idea to help to structure and present knowledge, they are mostly used for educational purposes. These maps could act as a practical teaching and learning tool, but as well as a method for analyzing and evaluating knowledge. While students of any age could benefit from concept mapping as a functional methodology for studying and learning, teachers could benefit as it allows them to notice problems in the course of learning and memorizing information, as well as to adapt their teaching lessons on students’ knowledge.
To conclude, in educational settings, concept maps can be utilized by both students and teachers. First, they help students to learn more efficiently and effectively and to improve their performance. Second, they provide teachers with the possibility to hold lessons in a more creative and constructive way. In the end, both the students and teachers could assess understanding, diagnose misunderstanding and measure level of knowledge in a more accurate way.
Concept mapping has become a valuable approach to learning biology. One study conducted in 2006, reveals that concept mapping can motivate students to become competent self-regulated learners. Moreover, it helps them to improve their skills in establishing relations between complex biology topics.
Biology concept map
The students involved in the research showed significantly good results in understanding and learning biology concepts, so the findings confirmed that concept maps can indeed improve student’s performance in biology. The conducted tests proved that the majority of students who showed high proficiency in concept mapping were also found to have passed the tests with high performance.
A great number of studies and research support the development and implementation of concept maps in nursing education. These discovered that concept mapping is an effective teaching technique in nursing education since it helps both to analyze and evaluate students’ thinking and knowledge. As an educational technique, concept maps have been used in nursing education for more than 25 years.
By using concept maps students could better understand how theory is applied to practice and therefore could prepare themselves for working in the nursing sector. In fact, when it comes to medicine, concept maps are an optimal way of dealing with extensive and valuable information when providing care to patients. Namely, concept mapping can help students in linking basic scientific principles with medical practices. Furthermore, by implementing concept maps as a learning approach, they could practice mapping out care plans for patients. In addition, it helps them visualize their existing knowledge on a particular case or topic, as well as make their learning processes about them more specific.
It is known that problem-solving is a cognitive activity which is studied in psychology. Specifically, problem-solving is defined as “The process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues”.
Concept maps can be exactly used for problem-solving as they have the power to reveal relationships between one general central topic and numerous specific subtopics that branch out of it. When problem-solving, concept maps can be created as highly complex structures that illustrate a convoluted overload of information for a specific topic.
Although at first, they might appear difficult to follow, with time, concept maps can enable a substantial improvement of students’ performance much more than other teaching techniques.
Biology concept map
When introduced to new concepts in science, students aspire to combine existing knowledge and fresh ideas. Thus in the process of learning scientific concepts, they are in need of an approach that would simplify how they organize and synthesize important information.
Concept mapping can bring many advantages to students and educators while learning and teaching science subjects because it helps them to visually present connections between existing and new knowledge. Even though it seems challenging for them, after creating the concept maps on a different subject, students would be able to deeply analyze and understand interconnections and learn the material more effectively. In the end, they can discuss and elaborate the maps with each other and with their educators in order to determine whether there is a concept that is incorrectly presented. On the other hand, educators can use concept maps as teaching tools for practicing new science lessons. Moreover, teachers can use students’ concept maps as a testing method for evaluating how well a subject is understood by them.
In the field of engineering, concept mapping is used as a method to help planning, designing and constructing structures. Engineers are known to combine their knowledge of science, mathematics, and economics with experience and skills in order to propose a solution to a specific problem. Sometimes they need to present, analyze and evaluate multiple different solutions so that they could decide the optimal approach to the presented problem.
Students who study engineering learn how to propose various ideas for one central topic with the help of concept mapping. Moreover, they are using them as a tool for illustrating all aspects of an engineering project. For example, creating a concept map on designing a specific structure could help in displaying all interconnections between the general topic and subtopics. The map would contain all the information needed for realizing a design project.
A concept map of playground design project. Image source: Queen's University