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COVID-19 Updates: CCAPS and the University

Creating and Sharing Visual Learning Frameworks and Concept Maps for Effective Teaching

60 minutes

Visual learning frameworks and concept maps model how experts think and organize information. They can provide students with additional structure and context, which they can use in helping themselves in organizing and learning course content. Well-built visual frameworks can act as a visual outline or concept map to your content, and they can be useful to illustrate complex relationships that may be difficult to describe or explain with common verbal or text-based instruction. Mastering complex content requires that students integrate existing knowledge concepts with newly introduced concepts and demands students understand how all the key concepts are related. While text outlines and audio descriptions are useful, visual diagrams like learning frameworks or concept maps can be a powerful additional tool to help students organize and clarify concept relationships in new, intuitive, and memorable ways. Providing both textual and visual models when presenting complex topics to students offers them new Learning Frameworks and richer context to help them master content.

This workshop will demonstrate how faculty at the U of M Medical School and other professional colleges are using low-cost, web-based "mind mapping" tools to create learning frameworks and specialized concept maps to provide contextual information to help improve student learning. You will see these tools in action, receive a tutorial on how to install and use them (assuming Wi-Fi is good), navigate examples of frameworks UMN professional faculty have created, and be challenged to begin designing and building learning frameworks and concept maps for your own use in student instruction.

Learning outcomes:
1. Be able to describe how learning frameworks and concept maps can be used in education to supplement and extend traditional text/video based instructional teaching methods.
2. Understand how to implement practical applications of learning frameworks and concept maps for instruction and possible assessment and educational progress.
3. Master how to install and use free or low-cost mind-mapping software tools to create and share the learning frameworks and concept maps with faculty and students.

Topic Area(s): Adaptive & Personalized Learning; Content Authoring Tools; Digital Learning Resources; Effective Teaching Practices; Learner Engagement Strategies; Open Education Resources; Quality Design in Teaching; Social & Collaborative Learning; Student Success


Mark Hilliard, MA, works at the U of M Medical School, Academic Curriculum & Instructional Design. He graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, with a BA in Biology and Chemistry and received an MA from St. Thomas University in Academic Technology and Adult Education. Mark also worked over 20 years in K−12 education programs in Wadena, Minneapolis, and Spring Lake Park public schools. He likes all things academic tech!