Concept Maps - What Is Concept Map and How to Make One

Concept maps are useful when used to learn a new concept. It can be applied to concept learning in all fields. Concept maps help to visualize the obscure new concept and build the concept knowledge net. In that case, it easier to understand and memorize the knowledge. With this powerful method, you can get good grades on exams and do better at work. No matter what you want to know about concept maps, this article will walk you through them. In addition, some classic concept map examples are provided. Now let’s dive into it.

Concept Map

Part 1. What Is a Concept Map

The concept map is the visualized diagram which shows the inner connection among different concepts and ideas. They are usually put in a box-shaped or circle-shaped node. Then lines connect them together to form a whole knowledge map. Sometimes, you can add comments to the lines to elaborate the specific relationship between two nodes.

Human brains process image-like objects better than text. Therefore, the concept map is a great tool to help understand and memorize new concepts. They are widely used in education, business, engineering and more.

Part 2. Key Elements of Concept Maps


Nodes are the place where the concepts are put. They are mostly rectangles or circles. The number and size of nodes may differ in different concept maps. Regularly, the bigger size means the importance of the concept, which is usually the main concept. The number of nodes is decided by how many branch concepts are related to the main one.

Connection lines

The related concepts contained usually belong to different branches. The linking lines are used to describe the relationship between two concepts. They are usually written as concise as possible like just a verb.

Explanatory words

If you’re not satisfied with the linking lines only, you can add the explanatory words to them. They are used to describe the relationship between two concepts in detail. This element helps the reader and yourself understand deeply.

Propositional structure

You may be confused by the strange phrase. Propositions are made up with two or more nodes linked with connection lines. As a whole, the proposition is known as the semantic unit of the whole concept. They are the foundation of learning a new concept in a certain field. Usually, a concept map includes a series of propositional structures.

Hierarchical structure

In general, the hierarchical structure means the priority of the concepts. The important or the central concept are usually listed on the top in a bigger size. Therefore, the nodes included in a concept map are structured hierarchically and you need to read it from top to the bottom.

Part 3. Concept Maps vs. Mind Maps

Many people make a mistake that the concept maps are no different from regular mind maps. In this part, you’ll the differences between the two.

Concept maps

Since we want to learn a new concept, the ideas and related topics are listed externally. The content included is more academic. You need a more professional tool.

The nodes are listed hierarchically from the top to the bottom. More explanatory words ae needed to describe the relationship among them.

Mind maps

Mind maps are used to create new ideas instead of listing the inherent ideas. Not limited to show the concepts. Life tasks can also be included like trip planning. Organized in different forms, not limited to one.

Mind maps cover a wider range of the topics. You can make mind maps literally for everything.

Part 4. How to Build a Concept Cap

How to Make a Concept Map Online with MindOnMap

MindOnMap is a reliable online tool to create a mind map online. It enables you to select different styles according to the usage of your mind map. The small tools contained in it are also surprising. You’re allowed to add comments and summary to the nodes, which elaborates the concept you want to explain better. In addition, you can add free connection lines to link two distant concepts. Because even if in different domains, you can find essential relationship between the two. You can also add images and links to express the concepts visually and in detail. The exporting feature is as astonishing as you can imagine. You can get whatever you want like Word, PDF, PNG, JPG, and SVG. You can also share your mind maps secretly to a certain person or work with a team. Now follow the lead and learn how to make a concept map with this flexible online tool.

Step 1. Select Layout

Select a proper layout according to your topic.

Select Layout

Step 2. Add Node

Edit the Main node as your topic. Click Node or the Sub Node from the top menu bar. You can adjust the position of each node.

Step 3. Add more elements

Click Relation to add the free relationship line. Press the starting node to the target node.

Click Summary to add text for a certain proposition.

Click Comments to add a comment to the concept and explain it more without making the node too complicated.

Click Image and select an image to insert to a certain node to visualize the concept.

Click Link from the top tool bar to give the detailed information address of a certain concept.

In the right panel, you can choose to add more elements to make it more clear, such as icons, filling color, theme, etc.

Add More Elements

Step 4. Finish the concept map

Click Share to generate the sharing link and the Password for you concept map. Click Export to export your concept map as Word, PDF, and image such as JPG, PNG, and SVG.

Further Reading:

How to Brainstorm with Mind Maps Easily

Part 5. FAQs of Concept Map

1. What is an example of a concept map?

The example of a concept map is the visual expression of a concept. You can refer to the example to edit your own.

2. What is the first step in making a concept map?

The first step is to confirm the key concept and list the small concepts related to the topic.

3. How do you make a concept map on Word?

Open Word and draw the concept map. Then you need to edit and customize the structure. Then save it when you’re satisfied. Actually, Word is not the perfect tool to make a concept map. You can use MindOnMap as the alternative tool.


This article introduces you what is concept map and several ways to build one. The requirement to make a concept map is solved. MindOnMap the best online mind mapping tool to use. After reading this article, you can try the MindOnMap and make your own concept map yourself.

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