short conceptual maps history

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Origins about conceptual maps



Concept Maps in Engineering Design


David Ausubel

Ausubel was the first to make a real attempt at finding a way to display information so that it was easy to learn from. This technique would also be used to organize ones thoughts on paper in a quick and easy manner

In Ausubels subsumption theory, he contended that "the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows." (Ausubel, 1968) A primary process in learning is subsumption in which new material is related to relevant ideas in the existing cognitive structures. A major instructional mode proposed by Ausubel is the use of advance organizers. He emphasizes that advance organizers are different from overviews and summaries, which simply emphasize key ideas and details in an arbitrary manner. Organizers act as a "subsuming bridge" (Ausubel, 1963) between new learning material and existing related ideas.

Joseph D. Novak

Professor Joseph D. Novak expanded upon Ausubel theories. Novak came to the conclusion that

"Meaningful learning involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing cognitive structures".

Novak formalised Ausubel theories into the modern concept map structure made up of central nodes (concepts) and links (linking phrases or comments)

Tony Buzan

Over in the UK Tony Buzan was working on his own version of concept mapping which he called Mind Mapping. Mind maps have a structure closer to the spider diagrams or brain storming diagrams. As with concept maps a central concept is the starting point. From there several related ideas are attached to the main concept. The ideas then branch of into more ideas and so on. See Figure 1A disadvantage with this technique is that there is no connecting node between the main ideas, which would be useful in engineering applications. MINDJET is an example of a program that uses the Tony Buzan approach. (This program was recommended to me, downloaded a copy a had a play around with it not really suitable due to no cross linking between concepts)

Figure 1: Example illustrating a Mind Map structure.

Graphic was created using Mindjet, a mind mapping tool

Web Sites Visited and Papers Read

Sites and PapersSummary brief history on the development of concept maps, notes on how to construct them and links to downloadable c map tools. title: Designing a C Mapping System User Interface. Detailed project notes on how to construct a c map tool.]Paper on designing concept map user interface description of how to construct c maps, how to best use a c map and links to other sites with on c maps many of which are listed here.


Improving Upon the Basic

Concept Map designThis is a basic concept map on heat transfer. All nodes are connected with a single stage linking phrase.

Figure 2: Concept Map Created Using IHMC Cmap Tool

With this the concept map in Figure 3 colour has been used for the first time to show different concept paths. This concept maps also shows how two stage linking phrases can be used. The first phrase on each arc can also act as a sub node/concept as shown in Figure 4 below.

Figure 3: Modified using a two stage link

Figure 4: Concept coming of first stage of link

Colour can also be used to differentiate between different types of arcs/links. In addition to colour symbols other than arrows can be attached to the end of arcs/links which will again show a different type of link. Therefore with only 3 colours and 4 symbols 24 different links can be created; that is only if a connecting symbol can be placed at the beginning or end of an arc. If 2 symbols are used then the number goes up to 48 different links.

The next stage is to decide what each symbol should represent to suit engineering applications.

Boolean Symbols

The next stage is to decide on what symbols are appropriate for engineering. A good place to start is Boolean algebra and the symbols used there.

There are three main Boolean expressions are; AND, OR and NOT. The symbols used in electronic logic and pure maths are:





NOTThese symbols are not suitable for use on a concept map so instead this alternative set of symbols can be used.




Figure 5: Concept Map shows how Boolean symbols can be used

The Concept Map shown in Figure 5 has the new Boolean symbols included. It can be read as follows:

An atom consists of protons, neutrons and electrons

An atom can have either a positive, negative or neutral charge on it

EMBED Word.Picture.8

EMBED Word.Picture.8

EMBED Equation.3


Bobby Finch 2001 Undergraduate atThe University of Reading





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