Skip to content

Category: [Glossary Term]

Joseph D. Novak, Concept Mapping Pioneer

His current research work includes studies on student’s ideas on learning and epistemology, and methods of applying educational ideas and tools (such as concept mapping) in corporate settings and distance learning programs. Present work includes the development of ‘expert” concept maps to “scaffold’ learning, using Cmapping with Internet and other resources, providing A New Model for Education. A new project is underway to explore ways to use concept maps together with brain imaging strategies to help discern brain functioning. 

https://www.ihmc.us/groups/jnovak/

Concept maps were developed in 1972 in the course of Novak’s research program at Cornell where he sought to follow and understand changes in children’s knowledge of science (Novak & Musonda, 1991). During the course of this study the researchers interviewed many children, and they found it difficult to identify specific changes in the children’s understanding of science concepts by examination of interview transcripts. This program was based on the learning psychology of David Ausubel (1963; 1968; Ausubel et al., 1978). 

The fundamental idea in Ausubel’s cognitive psychology is that learning takes place by the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing concept and propositional frameworks held by the learner. This knowledge structure as held by a learner is also referred to as the individual’s cognitive structure. 

Out of the necessity to find a better way to represent children’s conceptual understanding emerged the idea of representing children’s knowledge in the form of a concept map. Thus was born a new tool not only for use in research, but also for many other uses.

http://cmap.ihmc.us/docs/theory-of-concept-maps

Leave a Comment

Concept Map

Foundation/Premise

“Novak’s work is based on the cognitive theories of David Ausubel, who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in being able to learn (or assimilate) new concepts: “The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach accordingly.”[8] Novak taught students as young as six years old to make concept maps to represent their response to focus questions such as “What is water?” “What causes the seasons?” In his book Learning How to Learn, Novak states that a “meaningful learning involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing cognitive structures.”

Various attempts have been made to conceptualize the process of creating concept maps. Ray McAleese, in a series of articles, has suggested that mapping is a process of off-loading. In this 1998 paper, McAleese draws on the work of Sowa[9] and a paper by Sweller & Chandler.[10] In essence, McAleese suggests that the process of making knowledge explicit, using nodes and relationships, allows the individual to become aware of what they know and as a result to be able to modify what they know.[11] Maria Birbili applies that same idea to helping young children learn to think about what they know.[12] The concept of the knowledge arena is suggestive of a virtual space where learners may explore what they know and what they do not know.
Wikipedia

Introduction, From Novak’s Organization’s Site

Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge.

They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.

Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts.

We define concept as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label.

The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used.

Propositions are statements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed.

Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement. Sometimes these are called semantic units, or units of meaning. Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics.

Another characteristic of concept maps is that the concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below. The hierarchical structure for a particular domain of knowledge also depends on the context in which that knowledge is being applied or considered. Therefore, it is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question we seek to answer, which we have called a focus question.

The concept map may pertain to some situation or event that we are trying to understand through the organization of knowledge in the form of a concept map, thus providing the context for the concept map.

Another important characteristic of concept maps is the inclusion of cross-links. These are relationships or links between concepts in different segments or domains of the concept map. Cross-links help us see how a concept in one domain of knowledge represented on the map is related to a concept in another domain shown on the map. In the creation of new knowledge, cross-links often represent creative leaps on the part of the knowledge producer.

There are two features of concept maps that are important in the facilitation of creative thinking:

  • the hierarchical structure that is represented in a good map and
  • the ability to search for and characterize new cross-links.

A final feature that may be added to concept maps is specific examples of events or objects that help to clarify the meaning of a given concept. Normally these are not included in ovals or boxes, since they are specific events or objects and do not represent concepts.


The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them

http://cmap.ihmc.us/docs/theory-of-concept-maps

Joseph D. Novak & Alberto J. Cañas

Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Pensacola Fl, 32502 www.ihmc.us Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 2008-01

History/Origins 

The technique of concept mapping was developed by Joseph D. Novak and his research team at Cornell University in the 1970s as a means of representing the emerging science knowledge of students.
https://www.ihmc.us/groups/jnovak/

Leave a Comment

Notes, Citations, Annotations & Comments

Knowledge Elements

The items listed below can exist alone in a document or as a part of a document with others. These elements can be text, scribbles, tags, applet bits of code and other means of marking intention:

•  Thoughts : Notes, Writings
Our thoughts are simply notes° created by us without primarily referencing something else in the world.

•  Something in the World : Citations
Something in the world which can be addressed and cited somehow. This can be a clipping/cutting or a URL or just the data itself which a system can search for and locate in an origin document/location. Includes text, Pictures, Video, Audio and Graphs.

•  Thoughts about Something in the World : Annotations
Something which exists in the world, such as an article and we add a note to it, we annotate° it with our thoughts. This can be through adding meta-information in a digital environment with explicit ‘tags’ but it can also mean simple highlights, strokes and shapes around text or other information.

•  Thoughts about Something in Our Work : Comments
We make ‘notes’ of our thoughts and information we come across. We add notes – we ‘annotate’ – documents others have created, for our own use while we comment° on documents others have created for their use/benefit and attach notes on our own for further information for the reader.

 

Knowledge Container/Frame : Document

Any self-contained addressable or portable framing of any of the components listed above, including composite and single items.

Leave a Comment