Concept Mapping reminds me of my high school English class and how my teacher asked us to brainstorm our ideas prior to writing an essay. This simple exercise was useful to clear through our thoughts before committing to carrying out the task of writing.
In the video, Teacher Toolkit: Concept Maps (High School) explain how concept mapping helps explain the relationship between concept and application of the knowledge. Teachers can use this method to:
Why is Meta-cognition Important?
Let’s say you are assigned an essay to write. I don’t know many people that can sit down and start writing a masterfully written work of art with no initial direction. For me, the process isn’t as simple. Usually, I start off with an assortment of ideas. Some pretty good and some terribly bad. I put all these ideas on paper and then start thinking (meta-cognition) about the direction each path may take me to. Perhaps some paths lead to nowhere, while other paths lead to the end goal. I am very visual, so this helps me map out my work in advance. It also helps me with the “sticky learning” part of the process. Without having written one single work yet in my essay, concept mapping has me thinking and applying what I learned to various scenarios that are most likely to stay in my mind much longer than just writing words on a paper. This method also helps determine the appropriate tools or research you may need to do to complete the work.
Concept Mapping Tools
OK, so how do we take concept mapping from the academic setting and apply it to the real world? In eLearning, I was exposed to various online tools, but the one I like the most is Mindmeister.com. The tool is very easy to use and helps with collaboration across teams. Perhaps in the brainstorming part of a project, there may be an important concept that is missed. This type of brainstorming promotes learning across teams and can be reviewed online or printed for meetings. Here is a list of some concept mapping tools I found online:
Real Work Example
Let’s say a company is thinking about purchasing a new CRM customer relationship management database because of all the complaints received with their current software. No system is perfect, but management thinks it’s time to upgrade look for a new vendor. Upper management wants to include as many stakeholders as possible including the call center and sales management teams, leads, and some front-line employees that will be working with the software. This company thinks it is a good idea to get 360-degree feedback to ultimately influence their decision-making process. This method helps management gain insight about what is currently working, what areas need improvement, and what tools would help everyone perform at peak level. This method helps gain insight upfront and creates less clean up on the back-end.