Keeping Students on Board with Concept Maps

Written by: Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D.
Published On: August 25, 2014

The benefits of concept maps are well established. They encourage students to organize knowledge and do so in ways meaningful to them. They help students sort out, prioritize, and understand relationships between terms, concepts, and ideas. Students can also use concept maps to forge relationships between new knowledge and what they already know.

But students don’t always see these benefits when first introduced to concept maps, and as the authors of the article referenced below discovered, how concept maps are used in a course directly affects student perceptions of their value. The case in point here involved four physiology courses: endocrinology, exercise physiology, immunology, and neurophysiology. Concept maps were used in all those courses, but instructors used them in very different ways. Students were surveyed and interviewed about their experiences with concept maps. Based on relatively positive experiences in one class and less positive ones in other classes, the authors offer advice for using concept maps in four areas.

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