Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 71–86

Knowledge Maps as Scaffolds for Cognitive Processing

  • Angela M. O'Donnell
  • Donald F. Dansereau
  • Richard H. Hall

DOI: 10.1023/A:1013132527007

Cite this article as:
O'Donnell, A.M., Dansereau, D.F. & Hall, R.H. Educational Psychology Review (2002) 14: 71. doi:10.1023/A:1013132527007


Knowledge maps are node-link representations in which ideas are located in nodes and connected to other related ideas through a series of labeled links. The research on knowledge mapping in the last 12 years has produced a number of consistent findings. Students recall more central ideas when they learn from a knowledge map than when they learn from text and those with low verbal ability or low prior knowledge often benefit the most. The use of knowledge maps also appears to amplify the benefits associated with scripted cooperation. Learning from maps is enhanced by active processing strategies such as summarization or annotation and by designing maps according to gestalt principles of organization. Fruitful areas for future research on knowledge mapping include examining whether knowledge maps reduce cognitive load, how map learning is influenced by the structure of the information to be learned, and the possibilities for transfer. Implications for practice are briefly delineated.

knowledge maps scaffolding active learning individual difference 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela M. O'Donnell
    • 1
  • Donald F. Dansereau
    • 2
  • Richard H. Hall
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, RutgersThe State University of New JerseyNew Brunswick
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTexas Christian UniversityFort Worth
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri-RollaRolla

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