7 junio, 2024

Graphic organizers: what they are, characteristics, types, examples

We explain what graphic organizers are, their characteristics, what they are for and the types that exist, with examples.

What are graphic organizers?

The graphic organizers They are a study tool that teachers and students use to study and understand educational topics more easily. organize of visual form relationships between concepts, ideas, terms and facts. They can also be known as cognitive organizers, concept diagrams or knowledge maps.

It is an educational resource for facilitate teaching and studyCommon in schools and institutes. Students who use it can more easily understand the topics of study, better understand their relationships and organize their thinking.

This type of educational resource can also be used for problem solving, idea generation, planning, thinking process display, decision making, writing planning, among other applications.

Features of graphic organizers

-Facilitate the explanation and understanding of a topic of study or concept.

-Use connectors to link ideas or terms.

-There are no general rules to create them. The main objective is to visually illustrate concepts and themes.

-The information is structured in a hierarchical way.

-They are mainly used in schools and especially benefit students with a visual learning style or with study problems.

-They can also be used in the professional field to visually represent projects, to generate ideas or to solve problems.

What are graphic organizers used for?

exist different applications of this type of educational resource:

-Explain topics, concepts and their relationships. For example, if a teacher wants to explain the types of cells that exist.

-Study educational issues. For example, if a student wants to memorize the water cycle more easily.

-Generate ideas or brainstorm.

-Solve ideas.

-Project planning.

-Facilitate the comprehension of the reading of didactic books or novels.

-Facilitate writing.

-Show the thought process; How do you reach various conclusions?

-Solve problems.

Types of graphic organizers (with examples)

chain of sequences

The chain of sequences is used when it is necessary to explain notions that imply a chronological criterion. For example, historical events tend to rely on this type of organizer when they want to be presented visually.

Conceptual map

Concept maps are ideal for representing relationships between concepts in a very clear way. The notions are usually enclosed in circles or boxes and the connections between each concept are represented with connectors, generally in the form of a line.


The scheme is characterized by the fact that it presents the information in a hierarchical way: the primary ideas are placed first and then the secondary ones, the tertiary ones and those that follow them, if applicable. It can be horizontal or vertical.

character map

The character map is widely used in literary creation. For example, through this organizer it is possible to visually characterize the characters of a certain plot.

mind map

Mind maps help to have a global vision of a subject that can contain several edges. The main characteristic of these organizational structures is that they seek to synthesize information as much as possible.


Key systems are widely used when dealing with themes whose sub-themes contain various elements that can be broken down; braces allow the hierarchical structure related to the topic to be visible.

t-shaped graphic organizer

This organizer favors the comparison between two elements. Each one is placed on one side of the structure, which generates two well-differentiated columns.

Cause-effect map

It is also known as the Ishikawa map or fishbone diagram. The function of this map is to reflect the causes that generate certain scenarios.

By having a clear vision of how and why the processes occur, it is much easier to make important decisions, with the intention of improving the productivity and efficiency of the procedures in general.

hierarchical diagram

The hierarchical diagram uses a tree-like shape to break down information. The data is placed according to predetermined levels, and each level has specific characteristics and complexities.

sequence of events

The sequence of events is used to chronologically order all the events that are related to a given event. This way, it is easier to understand how many events are part of a scenario and in what order they are arranged.

Comparison Chart

Comparison charts display information in columns. The main functionality they have is that they allow you to quickly view the differences and similarities between the selected values.

Graphic script

It is also known as storyboarding. Through the storyboard, the passage of time can be expressed within the framework of a story or a process.

persuasion map

Persuasion maps are used for one particular goal: training in the art of persuasion. In these organizers, the objective to be achieved is considered first, and from this the specific number of reasons that can convince the interlocutors to achieve said goal is broken down.

circle of ideas

Idea circles allow concepts to be explained concentrically. The main topic is located in a circle in the middle of the structure, and then new circles appear outside the first one in which the information is broken down taking into account a hierarchical order.

attribute wheel

This organizer is used when you want to characterize a certain element as much as possible. The structure consists of a first circumference or oval located in the center of the space.

Organization chart

This type of organizer is the most used in companies, since it is versatile enough to clearly outline the different dependencies, functionalities and even people responsible for specific tasks that make up an institution.

main idea table

The main functionality of the main idea table is to clearly reflect the relationships that exist between certain ideas and the data associated with them. The metaphor of the table is taken as the basis for the construction of the structure.

story map

Through story maps it is possible to divide a narrative into specific chapters, which are ordered chronologically.

The structure can include details as specific as the place of the events, the time of the narration, the names and characteristics of the characters, how the story unfolds, what problems arise and how they are solved.

Spider webs

In cobwebs, a central idea is taken and placed in a circle in the center of the structure. From this center arise other circles or ovals that raise secondary information related to the main theme.

Time lines

Timelines allow you to visualize a chronological and linear sequence related to specific events. It is often used largely in historical subjects.


It is also known as an activity diagram or flowchart. Its main function is to reflect a process in the most detailed way possible. The idea is that the procedure is explained progressively and giving importance to each stage.

Venn Diagram

The primary functionality of the Venn diagram is to expose what relationships exist between various concepts. Usually ovals or circles are used.

Constellation of words or ideas

Through the constellation of words (or ideas) it is possible to start from a central concept and begin to link it with other related notions, always respecting a hierarchical order.


This organizer also uses circular shapes to create its structure. In fact, the base of the mandalas is circular and can be divided as many times as necessary, taking into account the categories of the main theme that you want to break down.

Tree of ideas or problems

The structure is based on a large box in which the main theme is written, and from this box hang strips to which paper or cardboard squares written by the participants are attached.

It can also be represented as a tree: the roots and the trunk represent the main theme, and in each branch the ideas that seek to solve or respond to said theme are placed.

Summary table

The summary table allows you to incorporate a large amount of information distributed in the categories that are necessary. To create it, a central element is taken and, from this, the desired classifications are determined.


The comb is characterized by being based on a single main theme. The function of this organizer is to break down all the possible variants that this central theme may have.

temple of knowledge

The temple of knowledge seeks to relate a concept to those who hold it. This organizer is similar to the main idea table, but is based on the figure of a temple.


It is characterized by being very visually striking, as it usually includes a large number of images. It can offer very diverse information related to the historical, geographical, social or biological fields, among others.

star diagram

This graphic organizer is mainly used to organize the features of a chosen project or topic. It is very practical especially in teaching. This method is based on arranging the topics to be worked on or studied at each point of a star. The star symbolizes the central theme.

SWOT matrix

This tool is typical of the business or personal field to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can be found in the face of entrepreneurship in a project.

cartoon graphic organizer

This type of organizer allows the breakdown of information to be carried out within the framework of a comic or cartoon. They are based on consecutive boxes in which the information will be broken down, always considering a chronological order.

analogies graphic organizer

Through the graphic organizer of analogies, the aim is to make understand the relationship that exists between recently learned concepts and others already known.

Themes of interest

Cognitive map.

Comparative chart.

Double entry box.

Synoptic table.

Attribute wheel.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *