Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What is concept mapping?

Concept mapping, mind mapping, tree diagrams, organisation charts, spider diagrams are all terms used to describe graphical organisation methods. These are used for storing, processing, organising and presenting information graphically. A number of software packages are available which help draw these diagrams and output them in various forms. But what do these terms mean? Why are these mapping techniques useful? Who uses them and why are they so popular?

A concept map is a diagram where each node contains an idea, concept or question which are linked together by branches to show their relationship to each other. A concept map does not always have to take the form of a web they can be presented as a tree diagram or organisational chart, as an input or output tree or as a flow chart. Mind mapping is a distinct technique from concept mapping. Mind maps take a particular, prearranged web form. They were developed from psychological theories by Tony Buzan in the 1970s. Combining keywords, images and colour, this highly structured method of concept mapping has become popular with all ages for note taking, brainstorming and creative thinking. Other types of concept maps have been developed for particular uses: tree diagrams for structured hierarchical diagrams such as organisational charts, input and output trees for showing processes.

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