Concept Maps for Comprehension and Navigation of Hypertexts
Comprehension and learning with hypertexts are challenging due to the nonlinearity of such digital documents. Processing hypertexts may involve navigation and comprehension problems, leading learners to cognitive overhead. Concept maps have been added to hypertexts to reduce the cognitive requirements of navigation and comprehension. This chapter explores the literature to examine the effects of concept maps on navigation, comprehension, and learning from hypertexts. The literature review aims to elucidate how concept maps may contribute to processing hypertexts and under which conditions. In spite of the variability of concept maps used in hypertexts, some findings converge. Concept maps reduce the cognitive requirements for processing hypertexts. They support outcomes as well as guiding learner navigation. They convey a macrostructure of the semantic relationships between content that supports more coherent navigation and promotes the construction of a mental representation of the information structure of hypertexts. In practice, concept maps are only beneficial for learners with low skills or low prior domain knowledge. Studies have shown that different strategies in processing concept maps may explain a part of the variance in the benefits provided by the concept maps. Processing that occurs early in the learning task yields better comprehension performance. The conclusions lead to recommendations for designing effective concept maps for learning from hypertexts. Further research could be conducted on the online processes by using eye movement recording in order to analyze dynamic processes during learning.
KeywordsComprehension Concept map Hypertext Navigation Prior knowledge Skills
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