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Home> Technology > Assessment questions in concept maps

Asking questions is a natural mode of learning and growing, at the basis of human and social coordinates. Asking questions, beside being a method to assess acquired knowledge, is a natural way of teaching and stimulating relational and deep knowledge. A student's question requires, for an answer, knowledge.

It is natural, then, to consider that if concept maps represent knowledge, this knowledge could be used in active mode, in dialog mode, to offer the student a resource that enables him/her to assess the acquired knowledge, together with some other collateral factors, but not because of that less important, interaction results.

The rationality of this function resides in the proposition that:
"if the relation between two concepts (e.g. a is b) is an assertion, then this proposition constitutes an answer to a specific question: "What is a?" in this specific case, or "what's the relation between a and b, etc.". the simple existence of these semantic units in the map, attributes nodular and strategic importance to its role in the curriculum, and in the cognitive and pedagogical course objectives as well. The need for the stimulation (as an educational and pedagogical goal) of the student interaction with these structures, results evident.

This method (of automated setup) uses the knowledge normally represented in the concept map to structure and present questions and to supply the student with the answer after he/she has thought about the answer of their own. It is demonstrated that this question->answer training exercises the student's analysis and constructive thinking abilities.

mind maps do not represent knowledge, the method - evidently - cannot function with these maps or with simple diagrams, both lacking relation types.

The concept map, or knowledge base, becomes an engine for the training of memory and thinking, enhancing the student's searching and cognitive integration abilities.

To activate the assessment questions engine, only a knowledge base (a concept map) is necessary  being open. From the formal point of view, optimal results are obtained when to every relation type a question has been associated. Good results are obtained when, at least, to every relation a question has been associated. Questions and answers are automatically constructed and processed by Knowledge Master, analyzing the map structure. For this reason, it is not necessary to add any additional work, beside the concept map correct construction.


Method worthiness, validity and importance

The student's personal benefits in querying (and being queried by) the knowledge base:

enables the students to assess their own learning;

recapitulation of the acquired abilities, knowledge and understanding of the topic;

reinforcement of learning;

induction of reflection;

training of constructive thinking and analysis abilities;

the request for an answer stimulates constructive learning;

the student must not think of an answer under the pressure of time;

the absence of a score and other people evaluation, improves the student's concentration on the topic and the focalization on contents, not an effort to obtain a score or to receive a social approval;

training of memory processes;

constructive memorization of concepts and cognitive structures.

Using  vocal extroversion with this function, augments the map multimodal power, and consequently raises the student threshold of attention and perception, and as a result, a longer and more harmonic permanence of cognitive structures in the students mind. The student hears the questions and the answers as well.

Benefits for the group of students of querying the knowledge base, beside those personal

The stimulation of social constructivism, through the induction of discussion.

Available controls
1. New answer. This function selects at random and asks a question, selected from all possible questions, without repeating them, until all questions have been asked.


2. Asking another question on the current path. This function selects another question, adjacent (collinear) to the previous one (and therefore somehow related), until the end of path.


3. What do you know about...? Once invoked, this function selects at random a node in the map and presents it to the student as the question focus, in a way that, as in the previous cases, he/she might analyze and think of an answer of their own. Invoking successively the function, other concepts are presented.


Seeing (and listening to) the answer. This functions shows the answer to the current question

In the cases 1 and 2, the answer can be simple (an assertion) or composed (several assertions), but always logical units (semantic units), the map relevant cognitive element.

In the 3rd case, the answer consists of all semantic units in which the focused concept is directly involved.

Listening to the full dialog

If during the assessment session the Knowledge Master vocal service is active, the full dialog, the question formulation and the answer as well can be heard.

Rationality and optimization

From the end user's and first beneficiary of this functionality point of view, the student, he/she must only activate the assessment session on a ready made map

Although this function can always be activated, its versatility and efficacy will be directly proportional to:

the number of relations in the map:

  • more relations, more possible questions, greater selection;

  • more relations, more knowledge can be handled;

  • with more relations more questions are available, of central importance and questions of peripheral importance (these are also important).

map completeness. If instead of a concept map has a semantic network been made  (substantially, every relation defined in both senses, then the number of questions doubles;

the dialog formality maximizes when, to every relation type, a question has been assigned. Otherwise, it would work as a "fill the blanks" question type, of reduced pedagogical and educational impact, but anyway having the same analysis and constructive thinking stimulation effect.



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