Mapping Processes

Creating visual maps of what students think are the key processes in a topic to be learned, before and after study, to see the effects of the learning process and to deepen learning.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Student-created process maps that highlight functional categories and sequences of procedures are used at the beginning and end of a learning unit to help students visualize, clarify, and deepen understanding and to chart the changes in the mental process map that results from the learning process.

Method Components

As students engage with a new topic, the educator leads them through the process of mapping processes related to the topic. This process can be conducted individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction. These strategies can be deployed as a stand-alone activity or as part of a lesson.

Steps of process mapping

  • Pre-Study Map Creation:
    • Students list key processes or procedures they already know some things about and key processes or procedures they know almost nothing about (other than what has been explained to them).
    • Students diagram the steps involved in each of the processes for which they have some prior knowledge using flowchart symbols for decision points or looping back to earlier steps in the process. Possible discussion topics include:
      • How some procedures are parts of others and can be categorized under the bigger processes as subcategories in their process maps, demonstrating how this might look for a simple hierarchy of procedures
      • How linking words and arrows can be added to the lines connecting the processes to define nature of relationships and show which way relating connections go
    • Students create a master process map. Possible approaches include:
      • Combining all the small process diagrams students have made into one large map
      • Adding in the unfamiliar key procedures with blank areas to allow students to fill in the unknown steps where they fit best on the master process map
    • Students present their process maps to each other and discuss the similarities and differences.
      • As a possible follow-up activity, students may make a group process map by combining the categorized fact lists from each individual process map.
  • Post-Study Map Creation:
    • Students make new individual and small-group process maps, including new procedures they experienced or studied, as they did at the beginning of the unit, then compare their pre- and post-study maps and discuss the differences.
    • Guiding questions can include:
      • How are the individual maps different from the first time you did them?
      • How are the group maps different from the first time you did them?
      • How do the map changes reflect changes in your knowledge of the areas you studied?

Suggested preparation

  • Discuss how students can visualize procedures or processes to better see what they know, and how learning more about something can change their mental maps.
  • Students discuss and demonstrate which tools they can use to map their knowledge of the topics they will be studying and how these processes are related. Example resources include:
    • Paper or sticky notes and markers
    • Digital applications such as Kidspiration/Inspiration, CMAP, XMind, Creately, Gliffy,, Maptini, Mindnode, Idea Sketch, Popplet, or Prezi
    • A physical model using arts, crafts, shop, or other materials

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

To increase awareness of one's procedural or process knowledge or to help improve process skills and deepen applied knowledge in a subject or topic area it is useful to create process maps, or graphic flowcharts, that visually illustrate the sequence of steps and branches in a procedure and show how these sets of processes and procedures are all related to each other.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in applying process mapping to improve learning? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the mapping processes activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, and other media) that demonstrate progress toward the mapping processes competency, including the students’ beginning and final process maps, reflections on the changes, and other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the process mapping activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did using the process mapping tools and strategies help you visualize what you did and did not know and what you learned from your studies?
  • How did process mapping help you become a better learner and understand yourself better?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the mapping processes activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Mapping Processes
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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