From the perspective of knowledge as information processing, specifically focussing on Ausubel’s significant learning, Novak (1988) introduces the concept map as an answer to significant learning.
Chart diagrams. Is a chart in the form of a square or rectangle, divided in rows and columns that allows at first sight to determine the characteristic similarities and differences between related topics; they are generally used to summarize very long topics, that when studied in an isolated way it would not be possible to establish relations between them.
Some of the most commons graphic organizers used, are:
THE CONCEPT MAP
It is a method which has the purpose of synthesizing, and at the same time, relating in a significant way the concepts of a certain topic. These maps show the concepts in a hierarchical way. The most general and inclusive concepts are placed at the beginning, followed by the linking words, that express the relations between the concepts. The reading of the relationship between two concepts, should result in a clause or phrase expressing an idea about the specific topic.
THE HIERARCHY CHART
It shows the dependency relations between the ideas of a specific field. The data of a concept map can be moved to a hierarchy chart: the main topic is placed in the upper part, the sub-topics or supporting details (previously found in the boxes) are placed in the second level; the details that support the sub-topics are placed in the third level, and so on and so forth.
These charts can be useful for the formative evaluation. These representations can be included in the tests, either in the form of items completion (presenting a diagram that needs to be completed in some way) or in the practice tests, in which the students could be asked to draw their own diagram.
The sequence diagram is an useful tool to represent a series of events that have a chronological order or to show the phases of a process.
THE CONCEPT WHEEL
This method provides a visual representation of analytical thinking, given that invites one to take a close look at the characteristics of a specific object. The main object is placed in the center, or axis of the wheel, and the main characteristics are written in the spokes of the wheel. The number of spokes can vary depending on the number of characteristics that define the object. The wheel can be drawn with a certain number of spokes and then tell the students to leave blank those that they canot fill.
A diagram is the simplified representation of a complex reality. Using it helps to understand, memorize and organize hierarchically the elements, relating them through conceptual links. It is a graphical and logical synthesis, that shows relationships and dependencies between primary and secondary concepts.
It is read from left to right. Once we get deeper into studying a topic and we have understood its meaning, we should create a diagram. This will allow us to access quickly the most significant aspects of the topic, suitably organized according to their importance.
This is a graphic organizer that shows in which way some pieces of information are related to their sub-cathegories. It provides a structure for the concepts and/or facts, created in a way that helps the students learn how to organize and priorize the information. The main concept is placed in the center of the spider map and the outward lines link it with other concepts that support details related to these concepts. The spider map is different from the Concept Map because it doesn’t include linking words that allow clauses between the concepts. It is also different from the mind map because the relationships are hierarchical. These charts are generally used for brainstorming, organizing information and analyzing the contents of a topic or story.