Concept Mapping with Compendium

ConnectivismImage by ryan2point0  I do a lot with concept mapping. I use it in my work as an instructional designer and I use concept maps in writing fiction and technical work, and I am really interested in Compendium right now. What is Compendium? It is more than just concept mapping software. “Compendium is about sharing ideas, creating artifacts, making things together, and breaking down the boundaries between dialogue, artifact, knowledge, and data.” Compendium is a free concept mapping software package by the Compendium Institute, a group formed by Knowledge Media Institute of  the Open University of UK, Verizon, Center for Creative Leadership, and others to promote the compendium methodology. “Our own particular interest is in visualizing the connections between people, ideas and information at multiple levels, in mapping discussions and debates, and what skills are needed to do so in a participatory manner that engages all stakeholders.” What is really exciting about this is the techniques they are exploring with collaborative concept mapping:

“Extending Compendium’s support for personal sensemaking, we have a particular interest in what we term collective sensemaking, and have developed a technique called Dialogue Mapping, and its extension, Conversational Modelling. Our experiences with these techiques for capturing and managing — often in real time and under pressure — the perspectives in meetings that emerge in open discussion or in collaborative modelling, lead us to claim that Compendium offers innovative strategies for tackling some of the key challenges in managing knowledge and making meaning:

  • improving communication between disparate communities tackling ill-structured problems
  • real time capture and integration of hybrid material (both predictable/ formal, and unexpected/informal) into a reusable group memory
  • transforming the resulting resource into the right representational formats for different stakeholders.

There is a tremendous amount of useful tutorials, videos and articles on the method at the The Compendium Exchange.

I am interested in seeing how this software holds up against CMaps which is what I currently use. I have used Gliffy and Inspiration occasionally for group projects but I am always on the look out for open source solutions. Especially one like this that asks the users to be thoughtful about what kinds of connections they are making to and with the information they are using.

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