By: Judith George
The Open University, Scotland.
A concept map or a mind map is a visual representation of the links or associations between different concepts or pieces of information.
At the end of a tutorial, in the last 10 minutes, to consolidate learning, check understanding
At the start of a session, to map where students are
Resource Guide (info)
Preparation time: moderate to low
Student time: low
Time to administer: low
Time for analysis: moderate
Additional resources: none
1. Use an example
For the first time, have one you prepared earlier, in case the students are not familiar with concept maps. Students can be quite unused to doing this – so do be encouraging and ready to be the guinea pig yourself. Hint
2. Draw the concept maps
Ask everyone to draw their own map of what was significant for them in the session – the main ideas, facts and so on. Draw one yourself. Hint
3. Compare Maps
The first time show your version, and ask if it bears any resemblance to theirs. Some bold soul will venture theirs – and then the rest. Hint
4. Reflect on the Maps
Look for feedback about coverage – and gaps, or misunderstandings.
Encourage them to articulate and explain their schemes. Hint
Briefly confirm important points which have been well understood, and correct any minor misunderstandings. If there are larger areas of doubt or misunderstanding, put those on the agenda for next time.
Concept/spider/mind maps can be used for many purposes; for planning written work or presentations, for self-review of understanding, for feedback. The more familiar and fluent students are with this technique, the more they will benefit from any application of it.