The following is a summary of pages 168-169 of Visible Learning by John Hattie.
Concept mapping involves the development of graphical representations of the conceptual structure of the content to be learnt. The difference between concept mapping and other organizing methods is that it involves the students in the development of the organizational tool.
The importance of concept mapping relates to its emphasis on summarizing the main ideas in what is to be learnt. Concept mapping can assist in synthesizing and identifying the major ideas, themes, and interrelationships . Kim, Vaughn, Wanzek, and Wei (2004) argued that concept mapping enhances the reading comprehension of students with learning difficulties.
Moor and Readance (1984) reported greater effects when concept mapping occurred after initial exposure to the material to be mapped. Nesbbit and Adesope (2006) found greater effects when the emphasis was on understanding the central rather than the detailed ideas of the topic being mapped. It is the heuristic process of organizing and synthesizing that is the important feature. It does not seem to matter who does the mapping but the strongest effects are when students provided the terms for the maps, regardless of who then devised the maps. Various authors have found that the effects were highest with those students with lower rather than higher ability.