A concept map or mind map is a visual tool that has long been used to create an outline for long-form writing or to plan a presentation. But, did you know that asking students to create a mind map of the major concepts learned in lecture can be a powerful reflection strategy that can enhance your traditional lecture? Creating visual connections among the lecture topics is a helpful learning activity that confirms student understanding and promotes the transfer of knowledge. If you are teaching three major topics during your lecture, for instance, you might pause after each topic and ask students to create, individually or in groups, a map of the concepts just learned or to add to one that you’ve already started. Students can also use them after class as a study tool. Creating visual connections among the main concepts can help students achieve meaningful learning and integrate new information into their existing knowledge. Studies show that the act of organizing lecture-content has been associated with positive academic outcomes as well (Harrington & Zakrajsek, 2017). Here are a few free tools that students can use to create mind maps.
Google Docs & Google Slides in Canvas. Google has a built-in tool to create diagrams and flow charts: the Drawing tool in the Insert menu in Google Docs and the Diagram tool in slides. Students can access a shared Google Doc that you create through the “Collaborations” tab in Canvas to create a concept map.
It is a free mind-mapping tool that students can use to create and edit a mind map. They can also invite other members in their group to collaborate with them in real-time.
It’s free and easy to use tool that offers sharing and collaboration features.
Padlet is a great intuitive multimedia collaboration tool for note-taking. It offers templates for creating mind-maps and flowcharts.
It is a free online mind-mapping tool that students can use to create their mind maps and save them to their computer, google drive, or publish them online.
To learn more about reflection assignment options or how to incorporate concept map tools into your course, contact the LTC.
Harrington, C., & Zakrajsek, T. D. (2017). Dynamic lecturing: Research-based strategies to enhance lecture effectiveness. Stylus Publishing, LLC.