Tutorial: How to Make a Concept Map
With the boom of e-commerce, ERP is becoming one of the hot topics. Maybe a lot of you have more or less come into contact with this concept, but do you have deeply understood this seemingly obscure concept? What is ERP? What is the use of ERP? Now I will give you a simple explanation through mind maps from EdrawMind.
Concept Mapping and its Uses
A concept map is a type of conceptual diagram that is commonly used in many fields to depict proposed relationships between different ideas. This type of visual representation helps portray complex relations in a simplified display. A concept map represents different areas within the main idea (i.e., concept). Concept maps can be used in fields where you need to structure and organize data/knowledge, such as instructional designing, engineering, technical writing, and architecture.
In medical studies, concept maps are also widely used to display information in an easily digestible way. In technical writing, it's used to post the main topic and then the subtopics so that the articles can be written clearly, and the information can be delivered effectively. In marketing, concept maps are used to integrate innovative ideas and combine them to form an effective marketing strategy.
You can learn how to make a concept map with the help of concept map makers, which are readily available online.
The Key Elements of a Concept Map
Before we talk about how to make a concept map, let's take a look at the main features of a concept map.
Image Source: Pixabay.com
The key elements of a concept map differentiate it from other similar diagrams and they are:
- Nodes – These are the shapes and boxes that express the main topic, idea or concept. They can be of different sizes.
- Cross Links – These are linking lines that present relationships between different domains of concepts on the map.
- Linking Words – These words or phrases are used to explain the kind of relationship that appears between two concepts and are usually placed in the linking lines.
- Hierarchical Structures – Generally, concept maps have a hierarchical structure that begins from top to bottom. The most general idea is placed at the top, which further branches down into more specific concepts.
- Propositional Structures – A concept map displays the meaning proposition concerning the idea/concept under discussion.
- Focus Questions – This is the question that represents the core of your concept and talks about the issue or idea for which the concept map is to be constructed.
- Underlying Theory – Concept maps are designed around Ausubel's Assimilation theory. According to this theory, new and better results can be drawn from the underlying facts. Hence, a concept map helps draw a new conclusion from the already known facts.
How to Make a Concept Map
Drawing a concept map from scratch can seem to be a tedious and complicated task. However, there are many concept map makers online that can help you. A very simple to use and versatile tool is EdrawMind (URL: https://www.edrawmind.com/), which also works as a concept map maker.
The most important step to start with is deciding your topic. You need to know what is the main idea or concept, which you want to present using this diagram. Come up with a focus question that will discuss the basis of your whole idea. This step will require some serious brainstorming.
Once you have decided on the topic, research and analyze the key concepts within the main idea. Identify how these concepts relate to each other. Organize these concepts for general to specific. Typically, a good concept map consists of 15-25 key concepts.
This step will require you to select a drawing medium. You can draw a concept map by hand or with the help of online software. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are using EdrawMind online. Open EdrawMind Online.
Select the New tab. After that, choose Radial Map. The map will open in a new window.
Start the Map with the main topic and then expand it downwards in a hierarchical manner from the general at the top and specifics at the bottom. To insert another topic, select the buttons on the top left corner of the screen, shown in the picture below.
Add shapes for nodes and use lines for links using Insert options at the top. You can edit and customize your concept chart with the help of the Format Tab on the right side of the screen.
Now that you have finished designing the layout add text and linking phrases to show the relationship between different concepts. You can create crosslinks and illustrate the relationships between different concepts of the same level using floating lines. These can be obtained by clicking the Insert Relationship symbol on the top left of the application.
Hover over the buttons to find the Insert Relationship button. Make sure each element fits in the right place and that you are expressing the relationships accurately. You can also add additional comments and notes to your diagram to add more details.
Every concept map needs at least one revision after the initial inception. Go through the map thoroughly and make sure you did not miss anything. Make all the modifications until you are 100% satisfied. Once you have completed your concept map drawing using a concept map maker online, you can save it in any file type you want, such as PDF, JPEG, or PNG.
Free Editable Concept Map Templates
Now that you have learned how to do a concept map, you can also use these different editable templates to create more concept maps quickly.