One might wonder if concept maps are any different from mind maps, or spray diagrams as they are called sometimes. According to one source (Open University course T552) they are at least very similar. In the same course material we find that London-born Tony Buzan claims the invention of mind mapping in the early 1970s. True or not, there is little doubt that Novak’s concept maps are a great improvement over Buzan’s mind maps for a number of reasons, including their logical propositional structure, solid psychological foundation, enhanced readability, and advanced ICT and web 2.0 capability. All of the claims made in course T552 for spray diagrams, are equally applicable to concept maps and mentioned and illustrated in “Learning, creating, and using knowledge” (Novak, 1998/2010). I couldn’t help creating a concept map of the Open University’s spray diagram and leave you to compare it to its original. Of course, I also had to add the concept of “learning”. In my experience with concept maps, the claims made by Open University for spray diagrams (and by extension for concept maps) are far from exaggerated. But which of the two is more deserving of the epithet “Swiss army knife of the brain”?
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