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on February 25, 2003
This is an excellent book for researchers, or anyone in the sciences. But for most people this book will be too difficult. If you would file a book titled "Theory Construction" under Architecture, you would have difficulty with this book.
The author discusses Concept Mapping (Entity Relationship diagrams for computer people) and Vee Diagrams, a template for structuring knowledge on specific concepts.
He shows how these two tools can improve learning in students. His examples start with a science class that uses a laboratory to teach practical skills and scientific method learning to students. For these students, the two tools become important for structuring knowledge and directing future research.
His results show that students need to make learning relevant to their existing knowledge and these tools will help do that. His results show an initial drop off in standardized testing after applying these tools, but then the scores pick back up and exceed standard rote-learning. I would agree with this -- if you're talking about the upper 20 % of the students. But I can't see the class laggards buying into these tools, as they require the student to be in love with their subject. These tools show you how to go deeper and how to find new knowledge.
I would recommend these tools for advanced classes and motivated students. I agree with the author that they will help researchers push back the envelopes of knowledge on their fields of specialization.
The Vee tool forces a template of things to "Think" and "Do" when you are formulating questions on a topic. Although perhaps tedious for some, it appears to work very well. I liked it very much. Students in a science lab can use these templates to decide what questions to research, what tests need to be run, how to know if they are successful, etc.
It is in this scientific area where the big payoff for these Vee charts are. I doubt that John Q. Public is going to find them as a useful tool on everyday learning decisions. For this reason I recommend this book for any type of researcher. The author describes how these Vee Charts have been used successfully by graduate students on their theses.
But John Q. Public can easily apply the Concept Maps. And, the author uses these maps as a tool to interview and assess students. The author also uses them to help develop books, articles and learning materials.
This book would be excellent for someone who has read Kuhn (scientfic revolutions) and wants to find some tools and methodologies for extending knowledge in his field.
I think the author is correct in most of his work. This book is particularly recommended for graduate students doing any kind of research papers.
John Dunbar
Sugar Land, TX
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on February 7, 2005
This author deserves great credit. He developed the concept mapping concept during the 60s and has been researching it ever since.

The book itself is very clear. The most important aspect is the theory that supports the practice. However, for the average reader, the book will add a great deal of knowledge for helping to apply this technique and set of principles.

There are a wide veriety of styles and examples throughout. Unlike the ridiculous new age hype supporting mind mapping, Novak

gives a refreshingly accurate picture of what you can expect from using the techniques, thus, allowing the reader to apply concept mapping appropriately.

This book is useful for all wishing to improve their ability to learn.


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on April 9, 2002
This book teaches two tools. One is the V-diagram which involves a sceintific discovery approach of looking at an event which you ask a quetion about and that can be approached using reasong using concepts in terms of principles in the context of a theory or doing observations, recording transformations and forming conclusions. This is something you can use in everyday life. The second tool of "concept mapping" is like similiar mindmapping ibut is also different in it's structure. I found its method much better in terms of forcing me to organize concepts into principles into a whole of a theory. Its numerous examples of both tools from elementary and high school didn't dumb down the text but instead game me many insights because it explored common errors in reasoning and how a teacher can use these tools to diagnose what are the mistaken assumpitons in the student's mental model.. GREAT BOOK! Not a book of slick techniques. But two powerful tools once mastered that help you be lifelong learner on the job and in life.
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on October 20, 1998
Concept Mapping is a way to organize, display, and develop information. This well-written and informative book describes very nicely how it can be used in education. For educators, scientists, information technologists, and anyone else interested in clear presentation of information.
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on July 26, 2006
Great book to accompany How to Study in College by Walter Pauk and Use your head - Tony Buzan.

Great on concept idea map building and how we can learn better or more efficiently.
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on November 30, 2014
I spent several years doing a PhD in organisational theory, but the way people think about science in the social sciences seems to be quite different from how they do in the natural sciences. The V-model finally made me understand what science is all about, and how social science (including ethnography, phenomenology, action research etc) can be understood in the same straight-forward way as the natural sciences, without going into any mumble-jumble about ontology, epistemology and things like that. An outstanding book!!!
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on December 27, 2014
Probably the best book on graphic organisers with evidence, theory and practice in equal measure by the originator of the concept map. Novak should be known to all educators. Alas he's now all but forgotten
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on July 26, 2015
This book confirms what I always felt was inadequate about the education I received but felt powerless to correct for myself. I wish I had found it earlier when I was a student.
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on January 1, 2015
As advertised.
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