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Concept mapping and the fundamental problem of moving between knowledge structures

Author(s): Ian M. Kinchin

Journal: Journal for Educators, Teachers and Trainers
ISSN 1989-9572

Volume: 4.1;
Issue: Special;
Start page: 96;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Complementary knowledge structures | qualitative analysis | structural transformation.

A concept map provides a ʻsnap shotʼ of a studentʼs understanding that is frozen in time by drawing it out on paper or on a computer screen. However, to represent the dynamic state of student learning, concept maps either need to emphasise dynamism (through the phrases that are chosen to act as links within the propositions that form the map), or need to be viewed as a single perspective on a more complex situation that can only be fully appreciated by considering movement between knowledge structures (e.g. through sequential mapping over time, or by indicating relationships between map structures that represent complementary learning contexts). The recognition of the importance of movement between knowledge structures needs careful management, whether teaching is conducted as a face-to-face activity or (increasingly) as a digital/online activity. Existing models of e-learning development (such as the TPACK model) can be modified to accommodate a multiple perspectives view. When the purpose of teaching is the promotion of studentsʼ ability to move between knowledge structures (rather than acquiring a single structure), the purpose of producing a concept map changes and becomes part of a wider dynamic process of learning, rather than providing a static record of what has already been learnt.
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