This overview study describes an instru-ment with the potential to facilitate meaning-ful learning in pupils, improving learning by leading to their active understanding of concepts and statements on the relations be-tween them. The author posits the existence of three concept structures: 1. The concept structure of the academic discipline consid-ered (objective structure), 2. The concept structure of the teaching subject based on the academic discipline (mainly objective structure), and 3. The concept structure at which the pupil himself arrives during school teaching, individual learning and understanding.
This account focuses on the concept structure of pupils and shows how this can be brought to light using what is known as concept mapping resulting in a concept map. The author describes the genesis of concept mapping and points out that its roots are not just to be found in the USA. Independently of American researchers, similar work was carried out behind the iron certain: in the former GDR (Richter, 1965) and in Czechoslovakia (Kulic, 1971). The article describes the theoretical principles of concept mapping. It defines two key terms, i.e. concept mapping and the concept map. It then describes six different ways of exploiting concept maps for educational purposes. It indicates ways in which the quality of pupils‘ concept maps can be evaluated (for example with reference to a „model“ concept map). The author devotes substantial attention to the use of computers in concept mapping. He shows the diagnostic possibilities of concept maps, including the uncovering of pupils‘ preconceptions about the teaching material and various misconceptions about the teaching material. Targetted interventions can then be based on the diagnostic findings. The study draws attention to the fact that concept mapping need not be an approach just to the individual pupil, but can be exploited with success in co-operative learning in small groups.