1. Advanced Organizers: How To
  2. Advanced Organizers: Tips
  3. Concept Maps and Assessment
  4. Rubric for Assessing Concept Maps
  5. Types of Advanced Organizers
  6. Advanced Organizers: Resources

Concept Map

A concept map is a type of graphic or visual organizer, a tool that we use to graphically depict meaning. They consist of:

  • Concepts, often written within circles or boxes.
  • Lines, which connect the concepts to each other.
  • Words or phrases on lines, to indicate the relationship of the concepts.

Characteristics of concept maps:

  • Generally, concept maps are organized hierarchically, with the most general or important concepts being placed at the top of the map and the less general concepts placed at the bottom.
  • Usually concept maps are organized as a response to a question, which is called the “focus question
    Cross-links may exist between concepts that belong to different domains within a concept map and help us see how such concepts relate and the type of their relationship.
  • Concept maps may also include examples of ideas or objects that assist us to have a better understanding of the concepts they represent.
  • Concept mapping requires the existence of background knowledge. Concept maps assist students to rely on and make connections to what they already know and build on that.
  • Concept mapping allows for collaborative inquiry. Students may work in groups and construct concept maps and study collectively how these concepts may apply in different contexts.
  • Concept maps can be used for evaluating students’ knowledge and understanding on a specific topic. There is ongoing research that seeks to unravel more efficient assessment strategies, one of which is considered to be the concept map. Concept maps can be used as formative or summative assessment, to assess both students’ prior and developing  knowledge, and identify valid and invalid areas of understanding.

Advance Organizers / Graphic Organizers / Visual Organizers

These are terms that are used interchangeably and refer to the visual or graphic display of information that demonstrates how concepts and ideas relate to each other. Advanced organizers can be used during expository instruction to direct students’ attention to the important points in their presentation. They can also be used to highlight the relationship between the concepts presented.

The real value of using advanced organizers is when students are actively involved in the development of these organizers. Students can use advanced organizers to brainstorm ideas and concepts about a specific topic, question, or theme. They can also be used to identify relationships between concepts. Such an engagement helps students to structure their ideas, to organize and classify themes, examine relationships, demonstrate their thinking process, critically reflect on their understanding, and make decisions based on that understanding. “Advanced organizer” is a term that is used to refer to all visual learning strategies, such as concept mapping, mind mapping, or webbing.

There are many different types of graphic organizers that students my find helpful. Click here for details on a variety of organizers that may be useful in your course.

Advanced Organizers: How To

Advanced Organizers: Tips

Concept Maps and Assessment

Rubric for Assessing Concept Maps

Types of Advanced Organizers

Advanced Organizers: Resources