The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them

This guide provides a comprehensive summary of concept maps and how to use them.

"Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts." (Novak. & Cañas 2008)

Concept map - an array of text boxes conected by arrows



  • Introduction
  • Psychological Foundations of Concept Maps
  • Epistemological Foundations of Concept Maps
  • Constructing Good Concept Maps
  • The CmapTools Software Toolkit
  • A New Model for Education
    • A Concept Map-Centered Learning Environment
    • Focus Question, Parking Lots and Expert Skeleton Maps
    • The World of Science Project
    • Problems of Implementation
  • Concept Maps for Evaluation
  • Concept Maps and Curriculum Planning
  • Capturing and Archiving Expert Knowledge
  • Conclusions
  • References


Novak, J. D. & Cañas, A. J. (2008). The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them, Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 01-2008, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, available at:

'The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them' is referenced in: