Cognitive Mapping as a Teaching and Assessment tool Dr AlysEinion Swansea University
Cognitive maps • “graphical representations of knowledge that are comprised of concepts and the relationships between them” (Canas et al, 2003, p. 2).
Key Elements of Cognitive Mapping • The key elements of the map are concepts, which are typically placed into boxes, circles or shapes to distinguish them, and relationship between concepts, usually in the form of labelled lines or directional arrows (Novak and Canas, 2006).
Linking lines • Words on the line are defined as linking words, or linking phrases, which demonstrate the relationship between two or more concepts (Novak and Canas, 2006).
Visual Metaphor and Visual Learning • Concept mapping also utilises visual metaphor to enhance the symbolic representation of meaning. Eppler (2006, p. 203) describes a visual metaphor as “a graphic structure that uses the shape and elements of a familiar natural or man-made artefact or of an easily recognizable activity or story to organise content meaningfully and use the associations with the metaphor to convey additional meaning about the content.”
The use of cognitive/concept maps in Health Education • Analysis • Synthesis of complex information • Case study analysis • Understanding of clinical roles and activities • Problem solving • Deep learning
Constructing a Cognitive Map • Existing knowledge • Focus question • Identify key concepts • Rank concepts in order of importance • Construct preliminary map • Revise map
Exercise 1: Construct a Concept Map • First, choose your focus question. In this case, I have chosen the following: • What is higher education? • Now, identify your concepts, using the post-its. • Place the post-its on the green paper in a pattern you wish to use. Utilise visual metaphor if you wish (ie a pleasing shape, drawn by you) or use some of the visual images I have provided. • Next, identify your relationships between these concepts, and draw your linking lines, labelling these. • Finally, review your map and decide if you wish to move things around. Consider things such as readability, visual imagery, balance, focus. • Finalise your map
Assessing Cognitive Maps • Maps are assessed using specific guidelines, based on the standard undergraduate assessment grid, but adapted for the purpose of the map. • This assessment includes presentation, content, accuracy, depth, use of mapping conventions, and quality of visual imagery or metaphor (if used).
Exercise 2: Assessing a Cognitive Map • Utilising the marking grid provided, mark the concept map of the person next to you – or choose one of the sample maps and mark it.