Concept Maps

What is a concept map?

A concept map graphically represents the structure of our understanding of a subject. It is a roughly hierarchical assembly of nodes, representing concepts, linked by labeled lines showing the relationship between the nodes. Valid relationships form “propositions” that can be read almost like sentences.

A concept map about concept maps (shown top left) includes propositions like
concept maps are diagrams
concept maps have nodes
nodes represent concepts
nodes are linked to form propositions
where the italicized words are concepts and are represented by five nodes (ovals or rectangles) in the diagram and the non-italicized words are shown on lines linking the related ovals.

What are concept maps good for?

A concept map is a useful way to structure information to summarize your learning or understanding. They are often used by teachers and students. They can be used between individuals or in groups to reach a shared understanding.

What are some examples of concept maps?

See the thumbnails to the right and the links below.
A concept map as home page
A concept map about concept maps

Where can I learn more about concept maps?


Papers and publications on concept maps
Long paper by Novak, “Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them”
A free concept mapping tool, CmapTools


Learning how to learn, Joseph D. Novak, D. Bob Gowin, 1984, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK