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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Amer, A. A. (1994). The effect of knowledge-map and underlining training on the reading comprehension of scientific texts. English Specif. Purposes 13: 35–45.
Bahr, G. S., and Dansereau, D. F. (2000). Bilingual knowledge maps (BiK-Maps): Tools for second language learning. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Blankenship, J., Dansereau, D. F., and Simpson, D.D. (1999). Cognitive enhancements of readiness for corrections-based treatment for drug abuse. Prison J. 79: 431–445.
Chmielewski, T. C., and Dansereau, D. F. (1998). Enhancing the recall of text: Knowledge mapping training promotes implicit transfer. J. Educ. Psychol. 90: 407–413.
Chmielewski, T. L., Dansereau, D. F., and Moreland, J. L. (1998). Using common region in node-link displays: The role of field-dependence/independence. J. Exp. Educ. 66: 197–207.
Czuchery, M., and Dansereau, D. F. (1999). Node-link mapping and psychological problems: Perceptions of a residential drug abuse treatment program for probationers. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 17: 321–329.
Dansereau, D. F., Joe, G. W., and Simpson, D. D. (1993). Node-link mapping: A visual representation strategy for enhancing drug abuse counseling. J. Counsel. Psychol. 40: 385–395.
Dees, S. M. (1989). The Analysis of the Strategic Processing of Knowledge, Unpublished Dissertation, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX.
Dees, S. M., Dansereau, D. F., and Simpson, D. D. (1997). A visual representation system for drug abuse counselors. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 11: 517–523.
Dillon, A., and Gabbard, R. (1998). Hypermedia as an educational technology:Areview of the quantitative research literature on learner comprehension, control, and style. Rev. Educ. Res. 68: 322–349.
Hall, R. H., Balestra, J., and Davis, M. (2000). A navigational analysis of linear and non-linear hypermap interfaces. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 2000.
Hall, R. H., Dansereau, D. F., and Skaggs, L. P. (1992). Knowledge maps and the presentation of related information domains. J. Exp. Educ. 61: 5–18.
Hall, R. H., and O'Donnell, A. M. (1996). Cognitive and affective outcomes of learning from knowledge maps. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 21: 94–101.
Hall, R. H., Saling, M. A., and Cara, B. (1999). The effects of graphical postorganization strategies on learning from knowledge maps. J. Exp. Educ. 67: 101–112.
Joe, G. W., Dansereau, D. F., Pitre, U., and Simpson, D. D. (1997). Effectiveness of node-link mapping-enhanced counseling for opiate addicts: A 12-month posttreatment follow-up. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 185: 306–313.
Kim, H., and Hirtle, S. C. (1995). Spatial metaphors and disorientation in hypertext browsing. Behav. Inform. Technol. 14: 239–250.
Lambiotte, J. G., and Dansereau, D. F. (1992). Effects of knowledge maps and prior knowledge on recall of science lecture content. J. Exp. Educ. 60: 189–201.
Lambiotte, J. G., Dansereau, D. F., Cross, D. R., and Reynolds, S. B. (1989). Multirelational semantic maps. Educ. Psychol. Rev. 1: 331–367.
Lambiotte, J. G., Skaggs, L. P., and Dansereau, D. F. (1993). Learning from lectures: Effects of knowledge maps and cooperative review strategies. Appl. Cogn. Psychol. 7: 483–497.
Last, D. A., O'Donnell, A. M., and Kelly, A. E. (2001). The effects of prior knowledge and goal strength on the use of hypertext. J. Educ. Multimed. Hypermed. 10: 3–25.
Mayer, R. E. (1979). Can advance organizers influence meaningful learning? Rev. Educ. Res. 49: 371–383.
McCagg, E. C., and Dansereau, D. F. (1991). A convergent paradigm for examining knowledge mapping as a learning strategy. J. Educ. Res. 84: 317–324.
McDonald, S., and Stevenson, R. J. (1996). Disorientation in hypertext: The effects of three text structures on navigation performance. Appl. Ergon. 27: 61–68.
Moreland, J. L., Dansereau, D.F., and Chielewski, T. L. (1997). Recall of descriptive information: The roles of presentation format, annotation strategy, and individual differences. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 22: 521–533.
Moshman, D. (1982). Exogenous, endogenous, and dialectical constructivism. Dev. Rev. 2: 371–384.
Newbern, D., Dansereau, D. F., and Pitre, U. (1999). Positive effects on life skills motivation and self-efficacy: Node-link maps in a modified therapeutic community. Am. J. Drug Alc. Abuse 25: 407–423.
Novak, J. D. (1990). Concept mapping: A useful tool for science education. J. Res. Sci. Teaching 27: 937–949.
Novak, J. D. (1998). Learning, creating, and using knowledge: Concept maps as facilitative tools in schools and corporations. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ.
Novak, J. D., and Musonda, D. (1991). A twelve-year longitudinal study of science concept learning. Am. Educ. Res. J. 28: 117–153.
O'Donnell, A. M. (1992, April). Searching for information: The role of prior knowledge, verbal ability, and material format. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.
O'Donnell, A. M. (1993). Searching for information in knowledge maps and texts. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 18: 222–239.
O'Donnell, A. M. (1994). Learning from knowledge maps: The effects of map orientation. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 19: 33–44.
O'Donnell, A. M., and Adenwalla, D. (1991). Using cooperative learning and concept maps with deaf college students. In Martin, D. S. (ed.), Advances in Cognition, Learning, and Deafness, Gallaudet University Press, Washington, DC, pp. 348–355.
O'Donnell, A. M., and Dansereau, D. F. (1990, August). Using knowledge maps to facilitate the search for information. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
O'Donnell, A. M., and Dansereau, D. F. (2000). Interactive effects of prior knowledge and material format on cooperative teaching. J. Exp. Educ. 68: 101–118.
O'Donnell, A. M., Dansereau, D. F., Hall, R. H., Skaggs, L. P., Hythecker, V. I., Peel, J. L., and Rewey, K. L. (1990). Learning concrete procedures: The effects of processing strategies and cooperative learning. J. Educ. Psychol. 82: 171–177.
Okebukola, P. A. (1990). Attaining meaningful learning of concepts in genetics and ecology: An examination of the potency of the concept-mapping technique. J. Res. Sci. Teaching 27: 493–504.
Palmer, S. E. (1992). Common region:Anew principle for perceptual grouping. Cogn. Psychol. 24: 436–447.
Patterson, M. E., Dansereau, D. F., and Newbern, D. (1992). Effects of communication aids and strategies on cooperative teaching. J. Educ. Psychol. 84: 453–461.
Patterson, M. E., Dansereau, D. F., and Wiegmann, D. A. (1993). Receiving information during a cooperative episode: Effects of communication aids and verbal ability. Learn. Indiv. Differ. 5: 1–11.
Pitre, U., Dansereau, D. F., Newbern, D., and Simpson, D. D. (1998). Residential drug abuse treatment for probationers: Use of node-link mapping to enhance participation and progress. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 15: 535–543.
Rewey, K. L., Dansereau, D. F., Dees, S. M., and Skaggs, L. P. (1992). Scripted cooperation and knowledge map supplements: Effects on the recall of biological and statistical information. J. Exp. Educ. 60: 93–107.
Rewey, K. L., Dansereau, D. F., and Peel, J. L. (1991). Knowledge maps and information processing strategies. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 16: 203–214.
Rewey, K. L., Dansereau, D. F., Skaggs, L. P., and Hall, R. H. (1989). Effects of scripted cooperation and knowledge maps on the processing of technical material. J. Educ. Psychol. 81: 604–609.
Reynolds, S. B., Patterson, M. E., Skaggs, L. P., and Dansereau, D. F. (1991). Knowledge hypermaps and cooperative learning. Comput. Educ. 16: 167–173.
Schau, C., and Mattern, N. (1997). Use of map techniques in teaching applied statistics courses. Am. Statistician 51: 171–175.
Wallace, J.D., and Mintzes, J. J. (1990). The concept map as a research tool: Exploring conceptual change in biology. J. Res. Sci. Teaching 27: 1033–1052.
Wallace, D. S., West, S. W. C., Ware, A., and Dansereau, D. F. (1998). The effect of knowledge maps that incorporate gestalt principles on learning. J. Exp. Educ. 67: 5–16.
Wiegmann, D. A., Dansereau, D. F., McCagg, T. C., Rewey, K. L., and Pitre, U. (1992). Effects of knowledge map characteristics in information processing. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 17: 136–155.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
O'Donnell, A.M., Dansereau, D.F. & Hall, R.H. Knowledge Maps as Scaffolds for Cognitive Processing. Educational Psychology Review 14, 71–86 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013132527007
- knowledge maps
- active learning
- individual difference