On my first Cmap I am trying to compare cmaps and mindmaps.
I think if we strictly followed the criteria of the grand old man of Cmaps (Novak) and the grand old man of Mindmaps (Buzan) then most maps that we produce would not deserve either of these labels.
In a broader sense, however, I would call anything a mindmap that has a predominant, radial, hierarchical structure (with cross connections being the exception), because the emphasis on the creative map generation process requires this radial structure.
Cmaps, in contrast, explicitly encourage cross-links (see the theoretical article linked in the Moodle discussion: “Another important characteristic of concept maps is the inclusion of cross-links.”). So I would call every mesh-like diagram of concepts a Cmap and ignore the urge for “propositions”.
I think the inclusion of propositions is a concession to people whose preferences (I don’t dare to say “style”) are more verbal than spatially visual, and this is useful when the map is not only used as a thinking tool by the creator himself but also for other viewers.
Similarly, today’s mindmaps are often trimmed in a manner appealing to people that would not otherwise look at pictures, and therefore often resemble text outlines. However, I would not fully agree that a radial hierarchical structure is nothing more than top-down linear indented outlines that are loved so much by the “leftbrainers”.
- First, a linear structure is often very cumbersome to read if it becomes longer (in case of our moodle forum it was a pain to identify the indetation levels of 100+ posts), while in radial layout, the eye can wander more lightly.
- Second, there is some charme and creative appeal with radial maps that is difficult to describe. I once tried to find out where this charme got lost while transforming someone else’s mindmap into my usual way to draw the maps for my own clarification (with elbow connectors for hierarchies and curved connectors for cross-links), and it was the point where the tree root moved from the center to the top when it became ugly.
Other aspects include that mindmaps are more “oral” and cmaps are more “literal”, and that hierarchical grouping simplifies selling one’s ideas while freely rearranging concepts helps with the previous stage of thinking.