What Is a Concept Map and How to Use It

What’s an idea map and why do you have to use one? On this tutorial, we’ll take a look at idea mapping, sensible examples of idea maps, and methods to use idea maps your self. 

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Stock Illustration from Envato Components

1. What Is Idea Mapping?

So, what’s an idea map anyway?

Let’s start with a concise idea map definition. Idea maps are a visible device that one can use to symbolize and manage info.

An idea map is a superb device for depicting relationships between concepts. As a graphical device, it may well make it simpler to know and keep in mind difficult info too.

Idea maps are generally used for:

  • instructional functions
  • downside fixing
  • brainstorming
  • analysis
  • planning
  • and extra

Here is a visible instance of an idea map:

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Idea Map created utilizing a PowerPoint Template from Envato Components

It is a easy idea map that was created in Microsoft PowerPoint, though you might use any software program or media of selection. Discover the way it begins with a core idea after which there are branching components. Every of those components break down the idea in a hierarchical manner. 

To additional make clear our definition of idea map, let’s check out a few of an idea map’s key components. 

Ideas, Hierarchy, and Construction

The core of an idea map is simply that: the idea you are seeking to manage, symbolize, or clarify. These ideas are often depicted in a field or node within the idea map. 

Here is a easy idea. As an instance we will discover computer systems as a useful resource in a small enterprise. We might begin our idea map with “Pc Utilization” as the start of our map.

Idea maps largely depend on hierarchy and construction to assist convey the idea at hand. So, our pc idea, let’s begin to break issues down. As an instance the computer systems are utilized in three alternative ways:

  1. help
  2. growth
  3. communication
start of concept mapstart of concept mapstart of concept map

We might add these three ideas to the aspect of our idea—they’re principally sub content material that enhances our fundamental focus. That is visually communicated by issues like the best way they’re organized and their smaller measurement.

Nodes, Branches, and Connections

And that is the place nodes, branches, and connections begin to are available. These three sub ideas all relate to our fundamental focus right here—so we will visually join them to additional talk this concept. 

Discover how, with little verbal or textual communication, we will see that the computer systems in our enterprise serve three fundamental capabilities now.

concept map connectionsconcept map connectionsconcept map connections

Group performs a big position right here, as nicely, particularly as our map begins to get extra difficult. We will proceed so as to add sub content material right here, connecting and relating issues as wanted. You might even have cross over—which is why organizing this content material is so necessary. 


And, in the long run, we find yourself with a visible illustration of an idea which will have been way more complicated or obscure with out a visible assist.

On this instance, think about you had been a brand new worker. Having a visible information like this, with regard to how firm computer systems are used, may very well be a fast and straightforward approach to higher perceive this info. 

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Idea Maps vs Thoughts Maps

You may additionally be conversant in Thoughts Maps—one other visible device that shares some similarity with idea maps. Whenever you’re an idea map definition, it may be simple to confuse the 2. They each visually convey info that tends to be branched. However they very bit on their function and focus.

Here is an instance of a Thoughts Map. Discover the way it’s extra summary and revolves round thought technology. It will probably nonetheless doubtlessly break down concepts—in a manner much like an idea map—however that is extra of a brainstorming device. Consider it like a way of organizing free flowing artistic ideas round a topic.

mind map vs concept mapmind map vs concept mapmind map vs concept map

Idea maps are usually way more hierarchical and even instructional. Like we explored earlier, idea maps are usually branched and targeted on connecting and increasing primarily based on key ideas. 

Here is a fast breakdown of a few of the variations right here:

Bear in mind, idea maps are usually extra hierarchical. Thoughts Maps are likely to all stem from one level and are usually extra from a brainstorming viewpoint.

That is to not say each aren’t very helpful, and that typically they may not have some overlap.

May you employ an idea map to assist manage and brainstorm processes? Completely.

May a Thoughts Map be used to develop an idea—that would in flip be used for an idea map? Sure, and that is in all probability an amazing thought!

2. Examples of Idea Maps

Subsequent, let’s take a look at some examples of idea maps and methods you might use them. 

Idea Map Instance: Academic

Let’s begin through the use of an idea map to elucidate a fancy idea. On this state of affairs, we’ll work from the attitude of illustrating an idea so it is simpler for others to know. Idea maps could be a great device for lecture rooms and different educational conditions. They’ll additionally work nice for schooling usually, whether or not it is within the office or in any other case.

This idea map explores some fundamental software program performance that workers at a mock firm must be conversant in:

concept map templateconcept map templateconcept map template
Idea Map created utilizing a PowerPoint Template from Envato Components

Think about having an idea map like this to information you thru one thing for the primary time. It’d show to be a better to know useful resource, versus merely listening to concerning the idea or strolling by way of it with somebody as soon as. A useful resource like this might show to be a robust examine information or useful resource—relatively than resorting to asking for a re-explanation.

Idea Map Instance: Strategic

On this instance, an idea map has been used as an example customer support targets. “Buyer Service” is our core idea. It has been damaged down into a number of aims:

  • targets
  • statistics
  • platforms
  • outreach

Then, every of those aims is additional damaged down.

strategic concept mapstrategic concept mapstrategic concept map
Idea Map created utilizing a PowerPoint Template from Envato Components

It is a visible approach to clarify a plan. An method like this may very well be significantly helpful in enterprise documentation and shows. Think about sharing an infographic like this with shareholders or members of an organization to elucidate how a specific technique is approached.

Idea Map Instance: Organizational

This idea map breaks down organizational hierarchy in a visible manner. On this state of affairs, as an instance this idea map illustrates the hierarchy in a single division. It begins on the high, with the division head, after which branches into totally different organizational segments.

concept map organizationalconcept map organizationalconcept map organizational
Idea Map created utilizing a PowerPoint Template from Envato Components

A useful resource like this might serve many functions. It might assist illustrate an individual’s position in bigger workforce. It might additionally assist additional illustration who studies to who, and the order of how issues are processed on the workforce. It might additionally assist visually illustrate who handles what duties, and the way they may relate and even cross over.

2. Methods to Use a Idea Map

Let’s walkthrough the method of making an idea map collectively. On this instance state of affairs, we’ll use this Concept Map PowerPoint Template from Envato Components. It makes it very simple to create a superbly designed, skilled trying idea map shortly and easily.

For our idea map, let’s visually break down the most effective content material to incorporate in a resume. We might use an idea map like this as an academic device.

For instance, possibly we’re instructing a category for brand new graduates who’re making ready their first resume. Or possibly we’re engaged on our personal resume—you might use an idea map to completely listing every side that must be addressed in your submission.

Step 1

Let’s begin initially. The overarching idea right here is “Constructing a Nice Resume“. Once more, I am working in Microsoft PowerPoint, however you might use any software program of your selection—in reality, you might even use a pencil and paper to create your idea map.

concept map startconcept map startconcept map start

Step 2

Then, we will break this down into a few totally different smaller ideas:

  • analysis (surveying the job market, bookmarking alternatives)
  • content material (the data you may embrace)
  • presentation (the design and format)

It is a good place to begin for our idea map.

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Step 3

Discover how the content material right here has been organized, and the way all of them department from the core idea. Every of those items are part of the bigger topic at hand.

beginning a concept mapbeginning a concept mapbeginning a concept map

Step 4

Then, we will break up these subtopics even additional. For instance, let’s try the Content material part. We’d desire a resume to incorporate issues like:

  • contact data
  • work historical past
  • talent set
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Step 5

Discover how our idea map makes it simpler to visualise the quantity of content material that’ll have to enter this challenge.

For instance, underneath Contact Info, we might listing what Contact Info shall be included. Info like:

  • an e mail handle
  • a web site URL
  • or a telephone quantity 
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Step 6

And as we construct out our idea map, we’re given a much bigger image of the challenge at hand. Not solely does this take the challenge and make its components extra visible—it can be a good way to determine any potential gaps.

For instance, maybe in our plan we notice that we have to add references. This may very well be one thing that applies in each our analysis and our content material sections—as a result of we would have to contact and make sure references, and we would want to incorporate this info in our content material. 

concept map crossoverconcept map crossoverconcept map crossover

Step 7

And this is our full content material map. That is only a easy instance—you might push this a lot additional when you wished to! PowerPoint makes it simple to repeat, paste, transfer, and edit objects to create a properly designed infographic. 

infographic concept mapinfographic concept mapinfographic concept map

This is only one doable manner somebody might use a Content material Map—it may very well be used to elucidate so many several types of ideas, from educational to skilled. Use them to plan out tasks, use them to assist clarify complicated topics, and extra.

Need to Be taught Extra About Microsoft PowerPoint?

PowerPoint might be a tremendous device for idea mapping—nevertheless it’s additionally an amazing selection for presenting content material like this too!

You possibly can be taught much more about working in Microsoft PowerPoint, proper right here, at Envato Tuts+. Why not try these free tutorials right now?

Obtain Infographics, Shows, and Extra on Envato Components

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Be taught Extra About Presenting Concepts, Communication, and Extra

You possibly can be taught much more about shows, enterprise practices, communication, and extra right here at Envato Tuts+. Check out these articles right now to assist take your small business expertise to the following degree.

Use Idea Mapping to Arrange, Visualize, and Talk Content material

Idea maps are such versatile instruments. You need to use them in so some ways, throughout so many various fields. Use them as a studying assist or for challenge administration. Idea maps can be a tremendous device for managing information too—preserving finest practices updated in a collective useful resource.

Now that you already know about idea maps, how will you employ them in your skilled duties?

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