Discussion Mapping Tools & Resources


Belvedere is software designed to help support problem-based collaborative learning scenarios with evidence and concept maps. With Belvedere, middle school and high school students learn critical inquiry skills that they can apply in everyday life as well as in science.

CogNexus Institute: Dialog Mapping

Dialog mapping uses computer software to map a discussion visually so that participants develop a shared understanding of the topic, minimize fragmentation, and more effectively collaborate on solutions. This is used for visually modeling (and hopefully clarifying) the issues, positions and arguments in 'wicked problems' (problems where a group can't even agree on what the problem is). This website includes information on two such software programs, Compendium and QuestMap.


Compendium provides a methodological framework and an evolving suite of tools for collective sense-making and group memory. It is the result of over 15 years' continual research, deployment and development of a tool to support the real time mapping of discussions in meetings, collaborative modeling, and the longer term management of this information as organizational memory.

Dialogue by Design Ltd

Dialogue by Design is a UK-based specialist company established in 1999 to manage dialogue and consultation over the Internet. Their unique technology enables them to receive, process, analyze and report on hundreds or even thousands of detailed responses within days. They provide an effective and efficient means for organizations to consult with large and/or geographically dispersed groups of people in a way that allows people to express what they think in their own words. Dialogue by Design was established by a group of leading practitioners in the fields of stakeholder dialogue, public participation consultation, conflict resolution and software design.

Discourse Systems

Dr. Thomas Gordon?s weblog and directory of resources about computer-supported discourse focuses on e-democracy applications and ways to deliver government services to help empower citizens.


Fle3 is server software for computer supported collaborative learning. With Fle3?s Knowledge Building tool, groups may carry out knowledge building dialogues, theory building and debates by storing their thoughts into a shared database. Fle3 comes with two default Knowledge Type sets: Progressive Inquiry, and Design Thinking.


GeNIe is an environment for building graphical decision models. The GeNIe [Graphical Network Interface] software package can be used to create decision theoretic models intuitively using the graphical click-and-drop interface. It is a major teaching and research tool in academic environments and is being used in research and in teaching courses at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.


Hermes is an Argumentation System for cooperative or non-cooperative types of discussions on the Web. It provides means of expressing and weighing individual arguments and preferences in order to support or challenge the selection of a certain choice.

Meaning Map

Meaning Map is a new way for groups to make collective decisions. It can help large numbers of people put their heads together to democratically decide which problems most need to be solved and how best to solve them. The results of the process are two lists: one of the most important problems and one of the overall top solutions. Since solutions can solve more than one problem, the overall top solutions list can be used as the collective opinion of the group about what should be done.

Mind Tools

This site provides detailed instructions for discussion mapping tools aimed at understanding complex discussions and situations (such as Systems Diagrams, SWOT Analysis, Cash Flow Forecasting and Risk Analysis) and tools for effective decision making (such as Decision Trees, Thinking Hats and Cost/Benefit Analysis). The instructions for these tools are downloadable in PDF format.


Reasonable is a software package for PCs that expands the brain's capacity to cope with complex arguments. It helps you build simple diagrams of complex reasoning, so that you can see what is going on much more easily. This software helps you organize thoughts, produce better reasoning, show strengths and weakness in arguments, build general skills, and teach the theory of reasoning and argument.


SkyMark's Management Tools page includes instructions for a large number of tools with a quality control leaning. Several of the tools, including Affinity Diagrams and Interrelationship Digraphs are helpful to groups that need to sort through a complex problem with lots of factors and data.


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