Completing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota in 1958, Dr. Novak taught biology at Kansas State Teachers College at Emporia, 1957-59, and biology and teacher education courses at Purdue University, 1959-67. From 1967 to 1995, he was Professor of Education and Biological sciences at Cornell University where his research focused on human learning, educational studies and knowledge creation and representation. He has developed a theory of education to guide research and instruction, first published in 1977 and updated in 1998.
He is currently Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, and Senior Research Scientist at IHMC. He is author or coauthor of 27 books and more than 130 book chapters and papers in professional books and journals. His LEARNING HOW TO LEARN (with Gowin) published in 1984 is now in 8 other languages and is widely read. He has consulted with more than 400 schools, universities and corporations, including recent current work with Procter and Gamble, and NASA, Dept. of Navy, and EPRI. His recent book, LEARNING, CREATING, AND USING KNOWLEDGE: CONCEPT MAPS AS FACILITATIVE TOOLS IN SCHOOLS AND CORPORATIONS, (LEA, 1998) is currently being translated into 6 foreign languages.
Dr. Novak is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who's Who in Medicine and Health, and Whos Who in Science and Edngineering and Who's Who in he World. He has received a number of awards and honors including a 1998 Honorary Doctorate from The University of Comahue, Nuquen, Argentina, Honorary Doctorate, Public University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 2002, Honorary Doctorate from the University of Urbino in 2006, and the first award for contributions to science education from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.
His current research work includes studies on student’s ideas on learning and epistemology, and methods of applying educational ideas and tools (such as concept mapping) in corporate settings and distance learning programs. Present work includes the development of 'expert" concept maps to "scaffold' learning, using CMapping with Internet and other resources, providing A New Model for Education. He is married with three children and 2 grandchildren.
A. J. Cañas, J. D. Novak, & F. M. González (Eds.), Concept Maps: Theory, Methodology, Technology, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Concept Mapping, Pamplona, Spain (September 14-17, 2004), Editorial Universidad Pública de Navarra.
Gonzales, Fermin M, Moron, Ciriaco, and Novak, Joseph D. (2001). Errors Conceptuales: Diagnosis, Tratamiento Y Reflexiones. Pamplona, Spain: Ediciones Eunate.
Mintzes, J., Wandersee, J and Novak, J.D. (2000). Assessing Science Understanding. San Diego, CA: Academic Press
Novak, J.D., (1998). Learning, Creating , and Using Knowledge: Concept maps as facilitative tools for schools and corporations. Mahwah, N.J.,Lawrence Erlbaum & Assoc.
Novak, J.D. and Gowin, D.B. (1984). Learning How to Learn. Cambridge and NY: Cambridge University Press. Also published in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, Arabic, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese.
Mintzes, J., Wandersee, J and Novak, J.D.(1998) Teaching Science for Understanding. San Diego, CA: Academic Press
Gonzales, Fermin M., & Joseph D. Novak. 1996. Aprendizaje Significativo Technicas Aplicaciones. Serie: Educacion y Futuro #18. Madrid: Ediciones Pedagogicas.
Novak, J.D. And Canas, A.J. (2004). Building on New Constructivist Ideas and the CMapTools to Create New Model for Education. Closing Lecture. First International Conference on Concept Mapping: Theory, Methodology, Technology. Pamplona, Spain. University of Navarra.
Mintzes, J.J., Wandersee, J.H. & Novak, J.D. (2001). Assessing Understanding in Biology. J. of Biological Education, 35(3):119-124
Novak, J.D. (2002). Meaningful learning: the essential factor for conceptual change in limited or appropriate propositional hierarchies (LIPHs) leading to empowerment of learners. Science Education, 86(4):548-571
Hoffman, R. R., Coffey, J. W., Ford, K. M., & Carnot, M. J. (2001, October) "STORM-LK: A Human-Centered Knowledge Model For Weather Forecasting." In Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society,
Santa Monica, CA: HFES.
Novak, J.D. (2002). Using concept maps to facilitate classroom and distance learning. Scuola & Citta, 2:112-114.
Novak, J.D. (2003). The Promise of New Ideas and New Technology
for Improving Teaching and Learning. Journal of Cell Biology Education, 2(Summer): 122-132. PDF at: http://www.cellbioed.org/articles/vol2no2/article.cfm?articleID=59
Novak. J.D. (2004). Reflections on a Half Century of Thinking in Science Education and Research: Implications from a Twelve-year Longitudinal Study of Children’s Learning. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 4(1): 23-41.
).Novak, J.D. (2005). Results and implications of a 12-year longitudinal study of science concept learning. Research In Science Education. 35(1): 23-40.
Novak, J.D. (in press). the Development of the Concept Mapping Tool
and the evolution of a New Model for Education: implications for Mathematics Education. Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics.