What is a Scheme? Definition, Concepts and Examples

What is Scheme Definition Examples
What is Scheme Definition Examples

A scheme is a graphic representation of the association of ideas or concepts that are related to each other, and between which hierarchical relationships are established.

In a scheme, there is generally a main idea that is associated with others of a lower rank, but that are essential to understand what is being studied.

The diagrams are used to explain complex concepts or as a study method, since they help to understand a topic in a synthesized way.

Scheme types

There are different types of diagrams that can be elaborated to facilitate the understanding of a topic. These are some of the most used.

Key scheme

The brace scheme uses, as its name suggests, braces or brackets to group ideas. In this case, the main idea is followed by a key in which the secondary ideas are grouped, and from each of these ideas new keys start to explain tertiary or complementary ideas, if necessary.

The key scheme is also known as a synoptic table.

Key scheme example:

Arrows scheme

It follows the same principle as the key diagram, but the concepts are ranked with arrows. For many, this method helps them link ideas better, understanding more quickly where they come from.

Arrow scheme example:

Development scheme

This type of scheme starts from a central idea that develops from other related concepts. Generally, the main idea is located at the top of the sheet or support, and from there the secondary concepts are linked down.

In development schemes the hierarchy can be numerical or alphabetical.

Development scheme example:

Radial scheme

This type of scheme is named for the way in which the ideas are related. According to this model, the main concept goes in the center, in a more immediate radius go the secondary concepts, and in turn, these are surrounded by tertiary concepts or complementary ideas.

Example of a radial scheme:

Diagram or Concept Map

In the concept map the main idea is encapsulated in the upper central part. From there secondary ideas start and from these, tertiary ideas. As the scheme has developed downwards the ideas become much more concrete.

Concept map example:

Characteristics of a scheme

A properly developed scheme should meet these characteristics:

  • A scheme is a graphic representation, therefore, the way to relate the concepts is through resources such as shapes, lines or colors.
  • An outline must be concrete, therefore it must contain all the necessary information summarized in a few words or brief concepts.
  • The function of the outline is to summarize. If it is necessary to add information to the outline to relate the ideas, it is probably not well done
  • Generally, a scheme has one or a few main ideas, from which complementary concepts start. If the central ideas abound, it means that an adequate reading or summary was not done.

How to make an outline?

To know how to develop an outline, it is necessary to have previously read the content that you want to analyze or learn. Once read and understood, it is necessary to follow these steps:

  1. Underline or write down the title of the topic or the name of the chapter to outline.
  2. Divide the topic into sections. For example, if the topic to be studied is vertebrate animals, it can be divided into 4 sections, which correspond to the 4 large groups of vertebrates: osteichthians, chondrichthyans, agnates and tetrapods.
  3. Highlight the main ideas of each section, as well as the supporting ideas that complement them.
  4. In some cases, secondary ideas may have tertiary ideas or details that are worth highlighting or outlining.
  5. Begin the hierarchy: once the topic, the subtopics or sections and the main and secondary ideas are clear, you can begin to make the outline.
  6. Ideally, the outline should have only the key concepts. If it is necessary to make a long explanation within the scheme, it loses meaning.
  7. Once the outline is ready, you have to try to explain the topic studied. If it was possible to understand it from that summary, it means that the hierarchy of ideas was correct.