Create a concept map in class

A concept map is a diagram that shows the links between concepts in a knowledge field.

LinkNotions maps are interactive and allow to give content to the notions and to the links.

Thus they become self-explanatory.

Preliminary remark:

You can build two types of concept maps:

Maps with calculation: the focus will be on calculating the value of notions. Examples: exercises in physics, economics,…; calculators and simulators.

Maps without calculation: the focus will be on the influences between notions. Examples: influences in ecology, psychology, sociology, …

In this page, we will limit ourselves to maps without calculation, but you can easily introduce the calculation in such maps. For more information on the calculation, please go to the LinkNotions Calculation Introduction Page and the LinkNotions Home Page.

Below: the example of a concept map that we will build: interactivemultilingualwith content in notions and links. Try it by clicking, right-clicking or double-clicking notions or links!

1. Develop the central question

You can propose the central question yourself or ask the students to formulate it in relation to a given topic.

Example of topic: Global warming.

Central question: What are the causes of global warming?

instructions to create a concept map

To create the start map, proceed as follows:

  1. Create your LinkNotions account by requesting a one-month free trial or by purchasing a license (6€/year for education).
  2. In your account, click “Create Workspace”. Enter the title and the number of columns and rows.
  3. Click “Create”. The map is opened in edit mode. You can change it.
  4. To return to your account, click on the LinkNotions logo.

2. Detect concepts around the central question

In our example, these are the causes of global warming. We propose:

  • Global warming
  • Combustions
  • Traffic
  • Dust emissions
  • Polystyrene production
  • Water vapor
  • Refrigerators, freezers
  • Toxic gas emissions
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Albedo
  • Thawing of permafrost
  • Melting of the polar ice
  • Melting of ice on land
  • Sea level rise
  • El Nino phenomenon reinforcement

3. Insert notions into the concept map

To create the notions in the map, please proceed as follows:

  1. Open the map in your account
  2. Double-click an empty square
  3. In the opened window, enter the concept and click “Create”
  4. The notion has been created.

4. Classify the notions in the concept map

  • Put the notions in a logical order.
  • This order will enable to read the map pleasantly.
  • Use the space of the map rationally. As the screen is wider than high, organize the notions so as to fill this space.

To move the notions, proceed as follows:

Move a notion with drag and drop: Click on the notion while holding the click and move the cursor to an empty square. If the empty square becomes blue, release the click.

You can also move several notions at the same time.

To adjust the size of the squares, please proceed as follows:

Click “Settings” (top right of the screen). In the opened window, change the width and height of the squares until they occupy the entire screen.

5. Formulate link types

We are in the case of a causal map.

We propose two link types:

1. Notion A « has an influence in the same direction on » Notion B

This means:

If notion A increases, notion B increases too


If notion A decreases, then notion B decreases too

But other link types could be conceived.

Of course, you can determine the link types while you progress in your map.

2. Notion A « has an influence in the opposite direction on » Notion B

This means:

If notion A increases, notion B decreases


If notion A decreases, notion B increases

6. Add link types into the concept map

To add a link type in the list of link types, please follow these steps:

  1. Click “Link Types” in the toolbar (top, middle of screen)
  2. In the window that opens, click “Add …”

  3. In the next window, specify the name of the link type and select a color for the line linking the notions.

  4. Click “Save”.

7. Link the notions with the appropriate link types

To create a link between two concepts, proceed as follows:

  1. Place the cursor on notion A. Two gray dots appear on the notion. (1)
  2. Click the lower gray dot. The map loses color.
  3. Click notion B. (2) The “Link properties” window opens. (3)
  4. Choose the appropriate link type from the drop-down list. (4)

  5. Click “Save”. (5)

  6. Under “Settings” (top right of the screen) you can determine whether the lines of the links are straight or whether they run along the corridors.

8. Add content to notions and links (this is only possible with LinkNotions software)

Each notion and each link can be filled with:

  • Texts (definitions, explanations, …).
  • Images
  • Tables
  • Documents,
  • Links to web pages
  • Links to other concept maps

You can structure this content yourself using tabs and fields.

To add content to a notion:

  1. Double-click the notion
  2. In the contact window that opens, click “Modify” (1)
  3. In the “Notion properties” window, add information (texts, images, documents, …)

To add content to a link:

  1. Double-click one of the two notions of the link
  2. In the contact window that opens, double-click the link to which you want to add content (2)
  3. In the “Link Properties” window, add information (texts, images, documents, …)

or: Double-click the line of the link and proceed as in 3. above (3).

9. Add an image over notions and colorize notions

To add an image above a notion:

  1. Double-click the notion and click “Modify” (1)
  2. In the “Notion Properties” window, click on “Picture : +Upload” (green button at the top)
  3. Choose an image from your computer.

To color a notion:

  1. Click the paint bucket (2) in the toolbar (at the top of the screen)
  2. Click on one or more notions to be colored
  3. Click the bucket again and click a color on the palette.

10. Other features of LinkNotions

Here are some links to learn how to read and create concept maps with LinkNotions:

  1. Creating a concept map (in short)
  2. Complete instructions for creating concept maps
  3. Reading a concept map (in short)
  4. Complete instructions for reading concept maps.

The LinkNotions software has a range of useful features. It is up to you to discover them according to your needs. Let us quote a few, without being exhaustive:

11. Some practical aspects of procedure

A. Teachers can create a map together with students in class

B. The teacher may ask students to:

  • Create a map based on a list of concepts provided by the teacher
  • Complete an incomplete map
  • Correct a map containing mistakes
  • Give content to concepts and links (definitions, explanations, articles, pictures, tables, links to web pages and links to other maps, …)
  • Create a map to summarize a film, a conference or a reading (article, novel, scientific study)
  • Plan an event with a map
  • Plan a study using a map

C. Student work can be done individually or as a team

D. A map can be discussed and completed in class

E. A map may be published on the school or classroom website.


Calculate with LinkNotions: calculate the value of a notion with values of other notions.
The concept map becomes a visual spreadsheet!