04/27 – 05/03 : Module 15

Module 15

Wrap-Up and Conclusion

a-story-about-the-end-of-storytelling-36-638Congratulations! You did it. By now you should feel confident in designing effective graphics for learning. Do take the time to reward yourself for completing all 15 modules in this course. We will be wrapping up this course with the last task—a concept map. There are no outside readings for this module. All content is listed in this page. In order to assist you to create a quality concept map, the background and some core concepts about concept mapping are provided below.

Background on Concept Mapping

The development of concept mapping is generally attributed to the work of Joseph Novak at Cornell University as part of a 1972 research program seeking to follow and understand changes in children’s knowledge of science (Novak & Cañas, 2007). Concept mapping is rooted in the theories of cognitive restructuring, going back even further to the work of Ausubel in the 1960s, who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in learning new knowledge. Meaningful learning, according to Ausubel, occurs with only three conditions: conceptually clear resources, a learner’s prior knowledge, and the learner’s active choice to learn (Novak & Cañas, 2007). Concept mapping is generally considered to be a tool for these types of cognitive processes:

  • integrating old and new knowledge
  • assessing understanding or diagnosing misunderstanding
  • brainstorming
  • problem solving.

In other words, it is a useful tool for meaningful learning. And similar to the context in which it was developed, concept mapping can be used to follow how knowledge changes and evolves.

Core Concepts about Concept Mapping

Very briefly, “concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge” (Novak & Cañas, 2008, p.1). Figure 2 shows a concept map that answers the question, “What is a concept map?” Note that concept maps are generally read from top to bottom. This map on concepts includes a definition of a concept, which can be seen on the low middle left. Novak and Cañas define a concept as a “perceived regularity in events or objects, or a records of events or objects” (p.10). The concept map also provides characteristics of concepts, such as, concepts are hierarchically structured; are labeled with symbols or words; and can be combined to form propositions.

Fig. 2: Concept Map Showing Key Features of Concept Maps (Source: Novak and Cañas (2008, p.2).
We can talk about concepts only with words, but as the concept map shows, concepts are much more than just words. They are really a cluster of related ideas. Single words are often used as labels for complex ideas, and we can readily think that students own a concept when in reality they own only the word. For example, leadership is a concept and works relatively well as a simple label, but many concepts are clearer when stated as propositions containing multiple concepts. Think about the number of concepts in your course and how you might represent them graphically.
Concept maps are organized hierarchically; however, the hierarchy of complex concepts is not always clear. The structuring of concept maps requires identifying the components of concepts, relationships, and dependencies. By identifying cross-links, new patterns and relationships among the knowledge concepts often reveal themselves. Nursing students using mind mapping in a clinical practicum made comments such as, “I’m finally able to make sense of all the pieces of the puzzle, and to form relationships among the pieces of data” (Cahill & Fonteyn, 2000, p.220).

Finally and hopefully, with the knowledge and skills provided in these 15 modules, by the conclusion of this course, you will possess the required skills and knowledge to design effective graphics for teaching and learning.

Goals and Outcomes


During this module, students will:

  • review all key visual design principles for teaching and learning
  • understand how to create an effective concept map
  • understand the effective uses of shapes, colors, photos, text, images, and lines for building a concept map.


After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • create a comprehensive concept map for effective graphic design principles
  • utilize various tools provided in Adobe Photoshop to create an effective concept map
  • identify all key visual principles introduced in the text
  • effectively use shapes, colors, photos, text, images, and lines in the design of a concept map.

“To Do” List

Quiz 2

Please complete Quiz 2 in Moodle before 11:59 p.m. U.S. EST/EDT on the first day of Module 15.

Concept Map: Effective Graphic Design

Concept mapping is a great instructional strategy for knowledge creation and consolidation. By now, you should have acquired substantial knowledge and skills for effective graphic design for teaching and learning. In the last assignment of the course, you will be using Adobe Photoshop to create a concept map about effective graphic design principles.


After completing this assignment, you will be able to:

  • create a comprehensive concept map for effective graphic design principles
  • utilize various tools provided in Adobe Photoshop to create an effective concept map
  • identify all key visual principles introduced in the text
  • effectively use shapes, colors, photos, text, images, and lines in the design of a concept map.

In order to create your concept map correctly, please read the following requirements carefully:

  1. Follow the steps introduced in this Webpage: How to make a concept map?
  2. Review some good examples from inspiration.com.
  3. Use the following focus question to develop your concept map:

    What is effective graphic design?

    If you don’t know what a focus question is, please read How to make a concept map?
    1. Design your concept map in Adobe Photoshop and save your concept map as JPG file.
    2. Upload both files (PSD and JPG files) onto a Weebly page.
    3. In a paragraph (between 100 – 200 words), briefly describe your concept map (assuming the viewers don’t have any prior knowledge about graphic design or concept map).

Submitting and Posting
    1. To submit your work, post URL of your Weebly page to the corresponding link under Submissions inside Moodle before 11:59 p.m. U.S. EST/EDT on the last day of Module 15.

Your work will be graded based on the following requirements:

  • Both PSD and JPG files are uploaded to a Weebly page (1 pts).
  • Every single element/visual in your concept map complies with visual design principles introduced in the text. The following elements will be examined closely against your design.
    • Typography and Color (1 pts)
    • Visual Hierarchy and Cue (1 pts)
    • Visual Unity (1 pts)
    • Contrast (1 pts)
    • Grouping (1 pts)
    • Excitement (1 pts)
    • Enhancement and Visualization (1 pts)
  • The narrative description (100 – 200 words) is provided to explain your concept map (2 pts).

Cooper, S. T., Tyser, R. W., & Sandheinrich, M. B. (2007, September). The benefits of linking assignments to online quizzes in introductory biology courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(3). Retrieved June 15, 2011, from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no3/cooper.pdf.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2007). Theoretical origins of concept maps, how to construct them and their uses in education. Reflecting Education, 3(1), 29 – 42. Retrieved June 24, 2011, from http://www.reflectingeducation.net/index.php?journal=reflecting&page=article&op=viewFile&path[]=41&path[]=43.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. ( 2008 ). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them (Tech. Rep. IHMC CmapTools 2006 – 01 Rev 01 – 2008). Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Retrieved June 24, 2011, from http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.pdf.