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Conceptualization is an abstract and simplified perspective of the knowledge we have about the "world", and that because of some reason we want to represent. This representation is our knowledge of the "world", in which every concept is expressed in terms of verbal relations with other concepts and with its own "real world" examples (attribute, cause-effect, etc. relations, not necessarily hierarchical), and also with hierarchical relations (categorization, or assigning the object a category or more) multiple (the object belongs to several hierarchies contemporarily, that totally denies the exclusively hierarchical property of conceptualization).

Conceptualizing, therefore, can be comprehended as “the development or construction of abstract ideas from experience: our conscious understanding (not necessarily true) of the world”.


A concept map (or semantic network) or a knowledge base, or an ontology (all of them are data, logical and cognitive associations), are concrete, explicit (also manageable with a computer) expression of a conceptualization.

An elementary conceptualization of the concept "cat":

the cat:

<is a> feline {category}
<is (normally) a> pet {category}
<can be a> wild animal {category}
<has more developed> night vision {attribute}
<has for instance> Mephistopheles {example} (a specific cat)
<has characteristic> independent animal {attribute}
<has characteristic> hunter {attribute}
<hunts> mice {cause-effect}
<is part of> universal fauna {part-whole}
<lives in> houses {space-time contextuality}
<lives in> woods {space-time contextuality}
<can have> boots {attribute}

The relation type, fundamental element in knowledge representation (in this example appears between ‘<’ & ‘>’) defines how these concepts are related (or the objects of the example): it indicates its function, if it is of categorization or else.
Observe that “the cat”, as all things, belongs to several known categories, in this example we have only indicated 3 of them, but there could still be many more.

Relation types are also “categories”, in this case relational categories: see between braces ‘{‘ & ‘}’, the corresponding relational category to every relation type.

Any conceptualization will always contain categorization, though for the sake of analysis it's possible to identify categories and "the other relations", that are also fundamental.


Categorizing <is not equal to> conceptualizing

Categorizing <is not enough to> conceptualizing

Conceptualizing <contains> categorizing

This type of knowledge is classified as “declarative knowledge”, because it is expressed in propositional terms: concept <verbal relation> concept.

This kind of organization (very simplified here) is at the basis of any knowledge representation model or paradigm.

Learning (or “knowing”, or discovering) is to establish verbal relations between concepts.

From  the book Concept Maps. Knowledge Management in Education (published in Spanish: "Mapas conceptuales. La gestión del conocimiento en la didáctica" de Virgilio Hernandez Forte, published by Alfaomega Grupo Editor.
ISBN: 970-15-1076-3, 296 pp)

punto elenco Categorization I
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Categorization II


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Active Learning

punto elenco Visual Learning
punto elenco Collaborative Learning
punto elenco Brainstorming
punto elenco Concept Map Assessment
punto elenco Conceptual Knowledge Bases
punto elenco The importance and Relevance of concepts
punto elenco Learning techniques with concept maps
punto elenco Dyslexia
punto elenco Dyslexia and Learning
punto elenco Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
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The experience of Knowledge Master with autism (Asperger)


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