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What is Concept Mapping

> Edraw Knowledge > What is Concept Mapping
Posted by Allison Lynch | 02/06/2021
Concept mapping is a diagramming technique widely used in education and business. This page makes a comprehensive introduction to concept mapping.

A concept map is a diagram tool similar to topic map and mind map. You may hear mind maps, topic maps and concept maps often but not that clear about what concept map is. Read this article to have a comprehensive understanding of concept mapping.

Definition of Concept Mapping

A concept map, also named "conceptual diagram", is a graphic organizer revealing the concealed connections and relationships between concepts and ideas. Different from mind maps, concept maps starts from a concept and branches off into downward ideas to show how the concept can be divided into ideas at lower levels or connected with other concepts.

Concept Map VS Mind Map

Some people might consider concept maps and mind maps interchangeable, but they are quite different from one another.

While concept maps are structured in the form of trees with multiple branches and clusters, the Mind map has a radical structure. The structure is very significant in explaining the details of the diagram. A concept map links multiple concepts and ideas together, and a mind map focuses on a single concept. Another big difference is that a Mind map focuses on ideas, and a concept map enforces the links between specific ideas.

Visualization of Concept Mapping

Different from mind maps which allow only one central topic on every map, a concept map allows several coordinate topics to exist in the same map. Besides, in concept maps, a topic can have multiple parent topics and subtopics, making it much more convenient to represent complicated connections between pieces of information. The concepts and ideas in a concept map are placed in circles or boxes respectively and connected by lines with arrows and labels such as "cause", "need", "due to", "begin with" and "contribute to" to suggest the relationship among concepts.

The concept map below represents factors cause tsunami and how tsunami happens and causes nature disasters. The whole map may look not as neat as a mind map. However, it allows you to see through the cause and effect as well as relationships between concepts clearly.You can click the picture to download the example.

Concept Map of Tsunami

Concept Mapping Software

Edraw MindMaster is not only an easy-to-use mind map tool, but also a piece of professional concept mapping software. The concept mapping software allows you to visualize your concepts and ideas without disturbing your creative flow. To mark certain ideas, you can insert various built-in cons and notes, tags, comments and even attachments to better illustrate the relationship between your ideas.

Concept Map Software


Full-Featured Mind Mapping Software
33 predefined themes to make your mind map stand out
12 different structures to meet your need
  • Cross-platforms supported (Windows, Mac, Linux, Web)
  • Brainstorming mode and presentation mode
  • Group & real-time collaboration
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Features of Concept Mapping

  1. Mainly adapted to connect and represent knowledge people already know.
  2. Often contain general concepts and ideas at the top or center of the map, displaying more specific concepts and ideas below or around.
  3. Connecting lines usually have labels and arrows which illustrate the relationship between concepts they connect.
  4. Concepts could be cross-connected by connecting lines to represent complicated relationships between concepts.
  5. In a concept map, a concept is like a topic in mind maps, but allow to have multiple parent concepts and connecting lines with each modeling an independent relationship.

Usages of Concept Mapping

Concept maps are widely used to stimulate the generation of ideas with the basis of tacit knowledge and improve creativity. Besides, some people also use concept maps to organize complex relationship between concepts and do brainstorming. Comparing with mind maps, concepts are more widely used in education and business in the following situations:

  • Summarize the relationship between concepts from documents and existing materials;
  • Communicate complex concepts and disagreements in meetings to find a solution;
  • Test the symmetry of complicated concepts and ideas;
  • Take notes to figure out whether some points are missed or can be added;
  • Enhance the ability to learn and analyze things.

The following is a concept map presenting relationships between risk management, people, place and methods.You can click the picture to download the example.

Concept map of risk management

How to Create an Eye-catching Concept Map in Minutes?

Take a look at the following video to learn the technique. It is a step-by-step guide.

Discover Various Concept Map Templates

Start creating your own concept map now! Choose the one you like and customize every aspect to fit your needs.

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Free Download Popular Mind Map Templates Online

Choose from a large variety of mind map templates for business, education, and life tips. Download any of the templates for your use.