Using diagram to learn knowledge and skills in a field or domain specific
From basic concepts to specialized concepts, from superficial level of knowledge to the deepest level and the linking among these concepts.
The deepest level of expertise in a field is recorded in specialized academic journals, patents, professional organization magazines, books and the relevant products derived from intellectual knowledge such as inventions. These records and products are at the frontier of knowledge and the knowledge discoverer as scientists are at the front-line. Among those storage medium, original research articles are considered to be the highest level of knowledge accepted to share and debate among the peers in the same profession.
Engineers, doctors and other professionals applied those new discoveries to solve real-life problems. This is the practical application of basic knowledge. Industries nowadays invest in both fronts, basic and applied research. They partly take advantages of the basic knowledge from academia, deploying more substantial resources to exploit these knowledges, turning them into practical solutions to bring to the market.
Expertise cannot be fully described in documents or products regardless of making considerable effort. Some part of the expertise seems to be ignored by the experts when they are trying to explain or describe their discoveries. Because the experts think that many concepts are obvious to the readers in the field. Moreover, they describe just enough for their professional peers, not to layman or someone at the entry level. As a result, it is very hard for people new to the field to grasp the deepest level of knowledge by reading their articles or books.
Example of a mind map (wikipedia)
It takes time to learn the concepts, one by one, and the connections among them. this connection forms a network of concepts, reflecting the deepest level of knowledge in the field. Teachers for many years have familiarized with mind map which has been using widely. However, there is some drawbacks associated with this technique. For example, it does not show the hierarchy of concepts in a field and this make it hard to learn at the beginning level. Concept map is another tool that mirrors more complete picture of a field, showing the hierarchy and the linking between different sub-networks of concepts. Learning to use concept map is extremely useful in learning and teaching. Those who want to enter a field should learn to build a concept map that represents a whole body of fundamental concepts, from basic to the deepest and the relevant linking networks.
Example of a concept map (wikipedia)