Health Center: Concept Maps
We have all learned the traditional outline method for taking notes or reviewing information and have become comfortable using this tool. Outlines, however, require linear and organized thinking which is not always the most efficient way of learning or reviewing material nor is it the way our minds processes information.
A tool which allows us to integrate the information we are learning more efficiently are Maps. There are two types of Maps 1) Concept Maps, which work with many ideas, or 2) Mind Maps, which work with one idea. Mapping is a tool which assists with thinking about and learning information. Mapping allows the information to be grouped and linked together joining what we already know with what we want to know. It is a tool that can be used to:
- manage information
- integrate old and new knowledge, especially when reviewing the material
- allows for critical thinking of the subject matter
- allows for additional information to be included when studying for an exam
A Map can be developed using unlined paper and pencil (colored pencils/markers) or using the software Inspiration which is available on the
The Map that you are creating is your own personal learning document. It can be used to review for your exams providing you the opportunity to think critically about the subject matter. It provides a concrete visual of your understanding of the information that you can share with your professor should you have specific questions or need clarification.
Visit the Inspiration software website for instructions for using the software.
The article "The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them" by Joseph D. Novak, Cornell University provides additional information on Concept Maps.
If you have any questions about this learning strategy call the Health Center (503-943-7134) and make an appointment with a Learning Assistance Counselor.