This www page has been consolidated in respect to Jan Lanzing who
died on March 3, 1997.
The Concept Mapping Homepage
What is Concept Mapping ?
Concept mapping is a technique for representing knowledge in graphs. Knowledge
graphs are networks of concepts. Networks consist of nodes (points/vertices)
and links (arcs/edges). Nodes represent concepts and links represent the
relations between concepts.
Concepts and sometimes links are labeled. Links can be non-, uni-
or bi-directional. Concepts and links may be categorised, they can be simply
associative, specified or divided in categories such as causal or temporal
Concept mapping can be done for for several purposes:
The concept mapping technique was developed by Prof. Joseph D. Novak at
Cornell University in the 1960s. This work was based on the theories of
David Ausubel, who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in being
able to learn about new concepts. Novak concluded that "Meaningful learning
involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing
to generate ideas (brain storming, etc.);
to design a complex structure (long texts, hypermedia, large web sites,
to communicate complex ideas;
to aid learning by explicitly integrating new and old knowledge;
to assess understanding or diagnose misunderstanding.
Mind Mapping® is a popular related technique, invented (and
copyrighted) by Tony Buzan in the UK. He describes mind maps as: "a
mind map consists of a central word or concept, around the central word
you draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate to that word. You then take
each of those child words and again draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate
to each of those words."
The difference between concept maps and mind maps is that a mind
map has only one main concept, while a concept map may have several. This
comes down to the point that a mind map can be represented as a tree, while
a concept map may need a network representation.
An example Concept Map
Here is an example of a concept map. In this example the nodes are labeled,
the links are also labeled and uni-directional.
This one was made using CMap on the Macintosh.