Web 2.0 and Concept Maps

By: Barbara Bowen Ph.D
The Managing Director of Sound Knowledge Strategies – Helping organizations to boost productivity & innovation by unlocking the hidden knowledge potential of their people.

What does the term Web 2.0 bring to mind for you?–MySpace, podcasting, LinkedIn, Skype, Google maps, wikis, flickr and blogs? Or Technorati, Ajax and mashups? It’s challenging to keep the list of tools and technologies up-to-date because new ones are appearing all the time. And what if, like me, your primary interest is knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and sense-making.

I (Barbara) had a chance to grapple with these questions over the past couple weeks as Patrick Hindert, Managing Director of S2KM, Denham Grey, Knowledge-At-Work and I developed web-based knowledge resources for a presentation Patrick made on September 6 to the Cincinnati Bar Association. We worked as a virtual team supported by primarily by SocialText, Skype, and concepts maps.

“How Does Web 2.0 Impact Lawyers” is the title of the root concept map of a rich knowledge model designed and produced for Patrick’s presentation. I invite you to explore the root concept map and the other concept maps and knowledge resources attached to it. It’s an example of the functionality that concept mapping offers in the Web 2.0 space:

  1. Concept maps can increase the effectiveness of virtual teams. They help align everyone in a team or workgroup so that there is a common shared vision–the vision is made visible in the form of the concept map. Patrick, Denham and I worked together asynchronously with SocialText, Skype and concept maps as our primary tools. The organization of the initial draft concept map changed quite radically as we better understood and re-formulated the hierarchy of concepts, sub-concept maps, and discerned inter-relationships.
  2. Concept maps facilitate sense-making. The content is organized hierarchically–the most general concepts at the top, and particular examples at the bottom. The context is extablished by a focus question. Key relationhips among concepts are made visible. The units of meaning that concept maps are built from are the same units of meaning your brain uses to store knowledge, i.e., propositions–two concepts connected by linking words that describe the relationship between them, e.g., “Web 2.0” “is defined by” “Communities and Social Networks.”
  3. Concept maps facilitate innovation and insights. It sounds paradoxical, but having an organized knowledge framework enables people to see connections and inter-dependencies that would otherwise remain invisible. In the rapidly changing social and business environment driven by Web 2.0, this is a core benefit.
  4. The CMapToolsTM software used to create concept maps is free to schools and universities. It can be obtained from the CmapToolsTM webpage of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, the developers of CMapTools. The commercial version, Insight, is available from Ceryph.

There are links from the concept maps in the “How Does Web 2.0 Impact Lawyers” knowledge model to the Weblaw20 wiki and from the wiki to the concept maps. These linkages create a new virtual knowledge structure, one that’s enriched by the wiki’s support for collaboration and content development, and the visual knowledge organization and inter-relationship benefits of concept maps. Explore the wiki, click through the to concept map, and back to the wiki.
After your exploration, I’d be delighted to hear from you–your comments, questions and insights.

Source: Sound Knowledge Strategies