Concept Map

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A concept map is a graphical tool for organizing and presenting knowledge and showing links among different concepts. The idea is to create a map throughout the duration of the meeting. As participants add aspects to it every day, it will document the group’s shared knowledge. Concepts maps are less spontaneous than “associative maps”: The point is not to write down every association you have, but rather to structure and show links between different ideas and concepts.

Time 20 minutes

Material Standard

Group Size 1-6 people

Keywords knowledge, validation





Participants reflect on their shared experiences with and knowledge of a topic in the group. They start to have a structured overview of their experience and knowledge. Open questions have been clarified. Trainers gain information about the participants’ level of knowledge.


Example Concept Map on Sustainable Development

Prepare a big piece of paper (e.g. flipcharts glued together/packaging paper/white wall paper) . Write Sustainable Development in the middle. Add aspects related to the topic – e.g. every participant can write one aspect on a card.


x y
x depends on y, or x is cause and y effect

x y
x interrelates with y


hierarchic relation: x is superior to y/y is subordinate to y.

x y
There is a problem in the relation between x and y.


Structure the aspects with the group: general terms and information should be close to the center, details, concrete facts and examples farther outside. Connect the various aspects with lines or arrows to show their relationship; you can also add words to the lines to describe their relationships and use symbols, pictures, or photos of places you have visited instead of words.


Participants can use a personal or a group concept map as a place to write things down every day/in every new meeting/after specific experiences. In the end, it will show the knowledge and experience participants have gained. Therefore the concept map can be used as well in a group with about five persons.


The more people are involved in editing a concept map, the more complicated the process becomes. Different concept maps in the same room represent different perceptions of the topics and the seminar. So the maps can also be used as tools for evaluation and reflection.