Understanding book structures with content structure maps

Graphic by Melanie Knight

I’ve just finished Part 3 of my series on knowledge structures, Understanding Book Structures with Content Structure Maps. The knowledge organisation hierarchy model can be used to understand how knowledge is structured hierarchically and how to approach the structuring of content.

Here are the key points of the article:

  • The importance of understanding the structure of the non-fiction books you read
  • Why readers have problems in comprehending structure and coherence
    • The transient nature of memory
    • The fragmented nature of reading
    • The limitations of working memory
    • The lack of visual representations of structure
  • The problem with current approaches to communicating structure
    • Too much emphasis on lists
    • A lack of highlighting of summaries
    • A limited focus on the structure of the detail
    • Too few visual representations of structure
    • Solving the problem of structure comprehension is not considered a priority
  • A suggested solution: A principle + three strategies
    • A principle: Readers benefit from having structure maps that show how the different elements of a
      book fit together
    • Three strategies:
      • Describe the structure visually with content structure maps
      • Include more levels of detail
      • Make the content structure central to the reader’s experience
  • Examples of content structure maps that relate to four different books
    • Lines of Thought by Ayelet Evan-Ezra
    • Tools for Teachers by Oliver Lovell
    • Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
  • Lessons from the examples
  • Conclusion

Read the full article here.

Date published: May 23, 2023.

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