Concept Map: What Is It & Types & Examples

This guide presents the definition of a concept map along with its types and examples for a better understanding.

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In this article
  1. What is a Concept Map
  2. 4 Popular Types of Concept Maps
  3. 5 Examples of a Concept Map
  4. Final Words

It does not matter whether you work on a small-scale or a large-scale project; you must ensure that all team members are on the same page. There is nothing more important than making sure that the entire team understands the goals to be achieved correctly. This is where a concept map can lend you a helping hand.

There are different types of concept maps. We will explore them later in this guide. If you want to understand the concept of these diagrams, there is nothing better than going through their various types and some examples, as explained in the discussion below. Let's get into further details.

types of concept map

What is a Concept Map

A visual diagram that is designed to organize information is commonly known as a concept map. This diagram can help you predict anything, like a series of concepts or ideas and a process. Apart from that, it can assist you in a variety of ways, including but not limited to mapping out how sales and marketing departments are linked to each other, creating a visual diagram of your employees, and recording product development steps.

The use of different kinds of concept maps is not limited to businesses only. They are equally beneficial for scientists, educators, engineers, and people from a wide range of other domains. A scientist can use a concept map to monitor and record important details of his discovery or research. Similarly, this diagram can assist educators in teaching various ideas. At the same time, engineers can use a map of the concept for plotting components of a system.

Concept maps offer countless benefits. The most important one is that they help you visualize and understand your end goals. Apart from that, they make it super easy for you to interpret different concepts and make appealing presentations.

A few more benefits of these diagrams include organizing information, improving memory retention, and structuring different ideas hierarchically. In addition, when it comes to explaining relationships between different types of ideas or concepts, a concept map always comes in handy.

4 Popular Types of Concept Maps

As stated earlier, a concept map is available in different formats and structures, with each having unique functions to perform. The top 4 types of concept maps that are used frequently around the world are as follows.

1. Spider Maps

These maps are the types of concept maps that start with the main idea or concept and branch out into relevant concepts. These diagrams are also known as idea webs or mind maps. They help you see and understand the relationships between concepts. Therefore, they are good for organizing thoughts and assisting in brainstorming sessions.

If you want to make a spider map, draw a circle in the middle of a whiteboard or a paper sheet and put the main idea in it. Then, draw outward lines from the central subject and link them with the relevant ideas. Keep adding ideas and sub-ideas until your requirements are met.

A spider map is not usually published or shared with other companies, so you don't really need to care about whether or not they are well-formatted and neat.

2. System Maps

These are the kinds of concept maps that not only display the components of a company or organization but also show how every component interacts with each other. System maps can be used to illustrate both simple and complex systems. Be it a simple printer or an organization with various departments, a system map illustrates both.

A system map has two sections. One is inside the biggest circle, and the second is outside of this circle. Anything placed inside the biggest circle is part of the system. In contrast, everything placed outside of the biggest circle is known as the system's environment. Keep this in mind while making a system map for your business or company.

3. Flow Charts

As the name of this map depicts, it helps you determine and see the flow of a particular process. Therefore, you can visualize all the steps a process follows to get completed. Be it engineering or business activities, flow charts have proved to be an excellent tool.

These charts can help you at any time when you have to visualize a step-by-step flow of a specific process. If you want to make your flow chart effective and more meaningful, make sure you use universally recognized shapes and symbols. Doing this will help every viewer to understand the function of each step in the flow chart.

For example, you can use the diamond symbol for decision-making purposes and the oval symbol for the start or end point. Similarly, the flow lines and parallelograms are used to display the direction of workflow and input/output, respectively.

4. Chronological Maps

They are also known as hierarchical maps. Have you ever seen your family tree or an organizational chart? If yes, you already know the concept of chronological maps. These diagrams arrange various concepts from general to specific. An org chart perfectly explains this hierarchy where employees with the higher authority are placed on top, and then it proceeds downward.

Usually, hierarchical maps are used to organize employees of a company or people, but you can also use them to break down the information into smaller chunks that are more manageable.

5 Examples of a Concept Map

Let's go through some examples of concept maps to get into the specifics of these diagrams.

1. Nervous System Concept Map

This editable concept map, created in Wondershare EdrawMind, talks about the command center of animals or humans, the nervous system. This system controls the transmission of sensory information from and to different body parts. The diagram starts from the cerebrum, which manages what animals and humans actively think about.

The diagram below also talks about the autonomic and somatic nervous systems. The responsibility of the autonomic nervous system is to regulate involuntary physiologic processes like blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, and more. In comparison, the somatic nervous system controls voluntary body movements with the help of skeletal muscles. You can access this template from the EdrawMind map gallery.

2. Volcano Concept Map

This concept map example presents different types of volcanoes, like shield volcanoes, dome volcanoes, composite volcanoes, and cinder cone volcanoes. Each type of volcano is further connected to relevant information. In case you don't know, a volcano is a planet's opening that emits different materials, like hot gasses and molten rocks.

If you want to create a volcano concept map, you can access this template and customize it according to your needs at any time. You can also find more examples to explore in the EdrawMind mind map gallery.

3. Cellular Respiration Concept Map

Here is another concept map example that explains the concept of cellular respiration. It is a group of chemical reactions where glucose breaks down to produce ATP. The ATP is then used as energy to speed up different reactions through the animal's body.

Cellular respiration works in three major steps, including oxidative phosphorylation, citric acid cycle, and glycolysis. Other steps of this process include the Krebs cycle and pyruvate oxidation. The most common substrate of this process is carbohydrates.

4. Climate Change Concept Map

This example of a concept map discusses climate change in detail. It covers large aspects of this subject, such as what exactly climate change is, how it happens, how it creates problems for human beings, what are the leading causes, and the problem statement.

A number of human activities have resulted in global warming that causes severe environmental shifts. It is commonly called climate change. The diagram presents different reasons behind climate change, like rising seas, extreme weather conditions, ecosystem disruption, water scarcity, food insecurity, and more.

5. Carbohydrates Concept Map

The diagram below displays three types of carbohydrates, including Monosaccharides, Oligosaccharides, and Polysaccharides. Carbohydrates are sugar molecules that are considered among the three major nutrients in drinks and food items. Our body breaks these molecules into glucose. Glucose then provides our body cells, organs, and tissues with energy.

A sugar that can't break down further into smaller sugars is known as monosaccharide. In comparison, Oligosaccharides consist of 2 to 10 units of monosaccharides. At the same time, polysaccharides are composed of many smaller monosaccharides.

In the picture below, each type of carbohydrate is further connected to detailed specifics. If you want to create a similar concept map, don't forget to use this template. You can find it in the EdrawMind gallery. It is fully customizable, and you can mold it according to your needs.

Recommendation Tool

mind map gallery

EdrawMind is a powerful and intuitive mind mapping software that allows users to visually organize their thoughts and ideas. With a wide range of features and a user-friendly interface, it is a versatile tool for brainstorming, project planning, and organizing information.

  • Mind map gallery🥳: The software comes with a wide variety of pre-designed Concept map templates, covering different topics and industries. Users can also create their own templates and save them in the gallery for future use.
  • Customizable templates: Users can customize the appearance of their mind maps by choosing from a range of themes, styles, and colors.🥰 They can also add images, icons, and hyperlinks to make their mind maps more visually appealing and interactive.

Final Words

A concept map enables you to organize information and makes it easy for the viewers to understand complex concepts easily. Teachers can use these maps for better lesson planning, and these diagrams are a great tool for engineers and research scientists to record all steps of a particular process. The discussion above has presented different types of concept maps to familiarize you with the real potential of this diagram.

Do you want to make a concept for your company's project? If yes, all you need is a dependable mind mapping tool, like Wondershare EdrawMind. It is an AI-powered utility that aims to make mind mapping super easy with some unmatchable features, including AI Presentation, AI Video, One-Click Mind Mapping, and the list continues.

One thing that makes EdrawMind stand out is the availability of a decent collection of pre-built concept map templates and extreme versatility. Moreover, robust toolsets, real-time collaboration, and profound support for multiple file formats (such as HTML, PDF, SVG, PPT, Excel, and Word) add extra value to the credibility of this amazing mind-mapping tool.

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David Miller
David Miller May 21, 24
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