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Concept Mapping

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Created: July 2, 2003
Latest Update: July 2, 2003

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Site Teaching Modules Backup of Meaningful Learning Model
By Jack Hassard, Georgia State University, emeritus.
SOURCE: Jack Hassard's Web Site
Copyright: Source Copyright.
Included here under Fair Use Doctrine for teaching purposes.
2.10 Meaningful Learning Model

David Ausubel is a psychologist who advanced a theory which contrasted meaningful learning from rote learning. In Ausubel's view, to learn meaningfully, students must relate new knowledge (concepts and propositions) to what they already know. He proposed the notion of an advanced organizer as a way to help students link their ideas with new material or concepts. Ausubel's theory of learning claims that new concepts to be learned can be incorporated into more inclusive concepts or ideas. These more inclusive concepts or ideas are advance organizers. Advance organizers can be verbal phrases (the paragraph you are about to read is about Albert Einstein), or a graphic. In any case, the advance organizer is designed to provide, what cognitive psychologists call, the "mental scaffolding: to learn new information.

Meaningful Learning Contrasted with Rote Learning
Type of Learning - Characteristics

  1. Meaningful Learning:

    • Non-arbitrary, non-verbatim, substantive incorporation of new knowledge into cognitive structure.
    • Deliberate effort to link new knowledge with higher order concepts in cognitive structure
    • Learning related to experiences with events or objects.
    • Affective commitment to relate new knowledge to prior learning.

  2. Rote Learning:

    • Arbitrary, verbatim, non-substantive incorporation of new knowledge into cognitive structure.
    • No effort to integrate new knowledge with existing concepts in cognitive structure.
    • Learning not related to experience with events or objects.
    • No affective commitment to relate new knowledge to prior learning.

Ausubel believed that learning proceeds in a top-down, or deductive manner. Ausubel's theory consists of three phases, presentation of an advance organizer, presentation of learning task or material, and strengthening the cognitive organization. Ausubel's Model of Learning: The main elements of Ausubel's model are shown in Figure 2.34. (Can't copy it. jeanne)

Phase One: Advance Organizer

Phase Two: Presentation of Learning Task or Material

Phase Three: Strengthening Cognitive Organization

  • Clarify aim of the lesson
  • Present the organizer
  • Relate organizer to students' knowledge

  • Make the organization of the new material explicit.
  • Make logical order of learning material explicit.
  • Present material and engage students in meaningful learning activities.

  • Relate new information to advance organizer
  • Promote active reception learning.

    Concept mapping for meaningful learning Novak and Gowan (1984) have developed a theory of instruction that is based on Ausubel's meaningful learning principles that incorporates "concept maps" to represent meaningful relationships between concepts and propositions. A cognitive map is a "kind of visual road map showing some of the pathways we may take to connect meanings of concepts." According to Novak and Gowan concept maps should be hierarchical; the more general, more inclusive concepts should be at the top of the map, and the more specific, less inclusive concepts at the bottom of the map. An an example of this hierarchical principle of concept maps is shown in the concept map of the food chain.

    The concept map of the food chain is done in Inspiration I suspect, and I don't have time to go hunt for that program, so can't copy it. We'll construct a concept map in statistics in the Fall. See if you can locate it at Hassard's site. jeanne

    The concept map is a tool that science teachers can use to determine the nature of students' existing ideas The map can be used to make evident the key concepts to be learned and suggest linkages between the new information to be learned and what the student already knows. Concept maps can precede instruction, and be used by the teacher to generate a meaningful discussion of student ideas. Following the initial construction and discussion of concept maps, instructional activities can be designed to explore alternative frameworks, resulting in cognitive accommodation.

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, July 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.