Introducing Learners to Sero!

A guide for preparing your students to embrace concept map-based assessment

10 minutes

Table of Contents

It is not easy to help learners move from rote-mode learning to meaningful-mode learning.

Joseph Novak

For over 100 years, learners have either been selecting from options, filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil, or clicking a cursor to choose an answer from a list.  

Concept map-based assessment is a big departure from this norm.

Change is hard for everyone, especially learners raised by the routine.

But when learners understand and are invested in the purpose behind a new way of doing things, they adjust more easily and enthusiastically.

This guide will help students make that shift.

1. Start with "why"

Before introducing your learners to concept maps, explain the premise and benefits of concept mapping — help them became a partner in change.

Concept maps incorporate learning with assessment

With concept mapping, students will practice advanced thinking skills that will help them assimilate new information and reveal specific areas where they need help to grow.

Concept maps reveal our unique mental models

Everyone has different ways of understanding the world.

Let your students know that concept mapping can offer them freedom to express and appreciate others’ unique conceptions of how different aspects of the world are related. 

And they can see how their thinking aligns with other models of the world.

What you put in is what you get out

Working with concept maps requires mental effort. In many ways, it is more challenging than taking a typical multiple-choice test.

However, with that extra effort comes greater rewards: deeper learning at a faster pace.

2. Demonstrate how to create a concept map

Model the 4-step process

Revisit our worksheet on how to create a concept map in four simple steps.

Walk through the worksheet steps with learners, modeling and thinking aloud to show exactly how you would construct a concept map from scratch.

Keep it fun and simple. Start with a familiar topic so learners can focus on the components of the map and aren’t searching for content.

3. Release learners to practice

Provide supportive resources

To help you help your students, we provide learning resources for learners. Review them yourself, then share them.

Establish familiarity with new tools before assigning graded tasks

Concept maps can be created in lots of media, including paper, whiteboards, sticky notes and string.

Their true value, though, is best realized using software tools that have been designed to create, share, and analyze them—like Sero! 

Let learners work on a few simple assessments in the medium they’ll be using before introducing more complex content so they can get a feel for how everything works.

Limit distractions

Some concept mapping tools can unlock a lot of creativity, with images, colors, and other customizations. At the start, keep the focus on the propositions and not all the bells and whistles that can distract from the main purpose.

Sero!’s user interface is simple and straightforward for this reason.

4. Provide feedback

Feedback especially when delivered in the moment is critical to make assessment useful for learning. 

Feedback areas

Concept map feedback can focus on one of three key areas:

  • Propositional correctness (are statements factual? is the reasoning valid?)
  • Structure (any unintended loops? or run-on sentences?)
  • Content (any key concepts missing? or errors unaddressed?)

Feedback immediacy

For learners, feedback is the most valuable part of the assessment process. Unfortunately for educators, it is also the most time-consuming.

The main challenge for providing feedback–especially to large groups–is always going to be giving it in the moment, when it is most applicable to learners.

This challenge is exactly what Sero! is designed to overcome, and what sets us apart from other concept mapping tools.

Instant scoring, analytics, and feedback features efficiently provide both educators and learners with actionable insights to drive instruction, self-reflection, and cognitive growth.


  • Harnessing the full potential of concept mapping requires learners to adapt to a new way of thinking and learning.
  • Introduce learners to the basics of concept mapping and allow them to practice simple tasks before introducing more complex assessment activities.
  • Make sure to consider how feedback will be provided, especially to larger groups of learners.

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