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Developing dialogical concept mapping as e-learning technology

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Abstract

The use of educational technology facilitating action research of pedagogy through a conversational framework is discussed. Dialogical concept mapping is about facilitating and recording the outcomes of the cognitive processes that leads to personal understanding. The method enables individual construction, and its essence is best conveyed by thinking about the relationship between an architect and a series of drafts or designs. The process of surfacing and concretizing representation invariably alters the nature of internal understanding. The approach is learner-centered and necessarily begins with the individual attempting to externalize their personal understandings however tentative these may be. The most striking potential of dialogical concept mapping is that it enables teachers to look into their students' learning process. Dialogical concept mapping makes the workings visible and enables feedback anchored in a concrete record of learning process rather than its finished products.

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... Perry, 1970;Flower, 1994), detailed longitudinal studies of university students are rare. Moreover, while there is some data on issues of changing epistemology or writing, these are seldom accompanied by simultaneous analysis of the knowledge objects (Entwistle & Marton, 1994;Entwistle & Entwistle, 2003) or the representational forms by which students pattern and visualize their study subjects (Hay, 2008). ...
... These reports are important because they help to throw light on the interplay between student prior knowledge and the sense that is made of teaching (review by . But as Hay (2008) explains, the concept-mapping data of higher education needs to be treated with caution for several important reasons. First, Novak's concept-mapping method depends on certain rules of map construction that shape a-priori what can and cannot be said using concept-mapping. ...
... Third, the theoretical position of concept-mapping is grounded in Ausubel's theory of assimilation learning (Ausubel, 1963;Ausubel, Novak, & Hanesian, 1978). This makes concept-mapping suited to just those university disciplines with a corresponding theory of knowledge, whilst also predisposing the interpretation of concept-mapping data towards particular educational theories (like Vygotsky's model of learning in the zone of proximal development), because it presupposes that learning is essentially cognitive rather than being also a function of the social imagination (Hay, 2008). Widening the utility of concept-mapping for a broader use in both research and facilitation of leaning is part of the purpose of this paper. ...
Article
This paper combines critique of learning theory and case study data from two third-year Neuroscience students. The results and conclusions show how higher education learning research can be developed by focusing on students’ changing locution of their study-subjects. A shift from the cognitive perspectives of assimilation learning theory, towards visualising dialogue is described and used to foreground the ways that the cognitive and dialogic “positions” construe learning differently. The analysis shows that theories and methods addressing language use provide richer learning data and a more explanatory account of understanding in an academic context. The data provide empirical evidence for the function of imagination in learning. They also illustrate two different ways in which the re-patterning of text leads to insight. The data of the first case study is ostensibly formal, comprising creativity in a continuous semiotic extension as the student shifts from one mode of representation (writing) to another (drawing). Here, however, the locution of the subject rarely goes “beyondthe- given” of the pre-existing discourse. The work of the second student is more conspicuously inter-textual, involving the active postponement of commitments to form, as multiple texts and text-types are read in their relations. This depends on reading and re-writing each separate lecture or paper from a growing apprehension of the perspectives of yet another (lecture or paper). Thus the student’s academic subject is eventually re-patterned originally in an inter-animation of all these texts together: an imaginative process that includes awareness of the context of text (i.e. the relativized positions of particular authors), as well as affective relationship towards the subject and its speakers. The discussion focuses on academic reading/writing as a simultaneous process of dialogue and design and a view of the imaginative function is developed that is relevant to science education, as much as to literary criticism. The implications for university teaching are considered and some suggestions are made for future research.
... Perry, 1970;Flower, 1994), detailed longitudinal studies of university students are rare. Moreover, while there is some data on issues of changing epistemology or writing, these are seldom accompanied by simultaneous analysis of the knowledge objects (Entwistle & Marton, 1994;Entwistle & Entwistle, 2003) or the representational forms by which students pattern and visualize their study subjects (Hay, 2008). ...
... These reports are important because they help to throw light on the interplay between student prior knowledge and the sense that is made of teaching (review by . But as Hay (2008) explains, the concept-mapping data of higher education needs to be treated with caution for several important reasons. First, Novak's concept-mapping method depends on certain rules of map construction that shape a-priori what can and cannot be said using concept-mapping. ...
... Third, the theoretical position of concept-mapping is grounded in Ausubel's theory of assimilation learning (Ausubel, 1963;Ausubel, Novak & Hanesian, 1978). This makes concept-mapping suited to just those university disciplines with a corresponding theory of knowledge, whilst also predisposing the interpretation of concept-mapping data towards particular educational theories (like Vygotsky's model of learning in the zone of proximal development), because it presupposes that learning is essentially cognitive rather than being also a function of the social imagination (Hay, 2008). Widening the utility of concept-mapping for a broader use in both research and facilitation of leaning is part of the purpose of this paper. ...
... These reports are important because they help to throw light on the interplay between student prior knowledge and the sense that is made of teaching (review by). But as Hay (2008) explains, the concept-mapping data of higher education needs to be treated with caution for several important reasons. First, Novak's concept-mapping method depends on certain rules of map construction that shape a-priori what can and cannot be said using concept-mapping. ...
... Third, the theoretical position of concept-mapping is grounded in Ausubel's theory of assimilation learning (1963; Ausubel et al, 1978 ). This makes concept-mapping suited to just those university disciplines with a corresponding theory of knowledge, whilst also predisposing the interpretation of concept-mapping data towards particular educational theories (like Vygotsky's (1986) model of learning in the zone of proximal development ), because it presupposes that learning is essentially cognitive rather than being also a function of the social imagination (Hay, 2008). Exploring the utility of a broader use of concept-mapping for the facilitation of leaning at the university level is part of the purpose of this paper. ...
... Of course, many modern concept-mapping technologies do make use of images and graphics or symbols; but these are almost invariably used to illustrate a map after construction, rather than acknowledging that the act of constituting the image-form is at least as significant as making a map using concept labels (Kress & van Leuwen, 2001). Thus the problems of concept-mapping for higher education are that: 1) the method does not fully acknowledge that interactions between mind and language (or whatever form of expression can be seen to constitute the communicative act) are mediated through various symbolic structures, only some of which might be accommodated by the concept-mapping method (Hay, 2008); 2) that without denying that knowledge is somehow patterned in mind, nevertheless, concepts are rather more malleable, vicariously distributed, conditional and tentative in the very process of 'language' use (Vosniadou, 2007); and 3) finally, by taking the essentially cognitive stance to begin with, traditional concept-mapping theory does not easily accommodate the multiple perspectives encountered in university settings (e.g. primary texts, secondary analysis, teachers' views and students' changing understandings over time). ...
Article
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This paper combines a critique of the underlying theories of concept mapping for university level learning and case study data from two students, one in Classics and one in Neuroscience. A shift from the cognitive perspectives of assimilation learning theory towards a more narrative and representational visualisation is described and used to foreground a more dialogic approach. The results and conclusions show how higher edu-cation learning research can be developed by focusing on students' changing understandings of their discipline. The analysis shows that theories and methods addressing language use provide richer learning data and a more explanatory account of understanding in an academic context.
... The high degree of explicitness made concept maps an exceptional vehicle for exchanging ideas during collaborative knowledge construction (Schwendimann, 2015). In addition, this tool helped the teacher identify students' misconceptions and correct them (Daley & Torre, 2010;Torre et al., 2007) and promoted dialogue between teachers and students (Hay, 2008;Kinchin, 2003). The collaborative concept mapping enabled understanding and exploring the team's potential capacities (George-Walker & Tyler, 2014). ...
... Student frustration toward concept mapping could be reduced by having an instructor available for consultation or peer discussions (Harrison & Gibbons, 2013). Collaborative concept maps are more motivating, especially for promoting dialogue and feedback between students and teachers (Cañas & Novak, 2008;Hay, 2008;Kinchin, 2003). ...
Article
Undergraduates need to develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and deep understanding of concepts. Concept maps are considered an educational tool that promotes meaningful learning and that has demonstrated potential effects in the learning process. Based on studies carried out in adult/higher education, the aim of this review is to identify the effects of concept mapping activities and to discuss their benefits and challenges in pedagogical practices. Findings show that concept maps promote development of critical thinking skills, facilitate integration between theory and practice, develop meaningful learning, promote technology inclusion, promote student collaboration, can lead to better academic scores, and can be used as a tool for the learning progress and assessment. The findings also indicate challenges in integrating concept mapping in academic practices such as students having difficulties in concept and link selection, student resistance, and software difficulties. Despite the limitations, concept maps are well accepted by students.
... One challenge that emerged in this study was the need to discourage students from merely copying an existing mind map. The social constructivist benefits of iterative map creation, as described by Davies (2011) and Hay (2008) will be lost if students merely 'copy' the answers. A tool that supports collaboration in the creation of mind-map resources, should therefore discourage students from using 'cut & paste' as a substitute for engaging in the activity of map construction. ...
... Similarly, an individual learner can iteratively construct their own mind map as a reflective exercise (Hay, 2008) as observed with a student who initially resisted using the technique. Johnson and O'Connor (2008) describe combining individual mind maps to extract a shared team mental model. ...
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Graphic organisers, specifically concept maps, have been used to measure learning quality in higher education. This paper examines the use of an alternate graphic organiser to assess and improve learning quality. Mind maps interactively created within groups of learners, in support of specific constructivist learning practices, are assessed here. Results indicate that the mind map is an appropriate alternative to the concept map for observing constructivist learning within a technical discipline. Further, the practice of collective mind map creation, using an initial spoke structure, positively impacts learning quality within a community of learners
... One challenge that emerged in this study was the need to discourage students from merely copying an existing mind map. The social constructivist benefits of iterative map creation, as described by Davies (2011) and Hay (2008) will be lost if students merely 'copy' the answers. A tool that supports collaboration in the creation of mind-map resources, should therefore discourage students from using 'cut & paste' as a substitute for engaging in the activity of map construction. ...
... Similarly, an individual learner can iteratively construct their own mind map as a reflective exercise (Hay, 2008) as observed with a student who initially resisted using the technique. Johnson and O'Connor (2008) describe combining individual mind maps to extract a shared team mental model. ...
Article
Graphic organisers, specifically concept maps, have been used to measure learning quality in higher education. This paper examines the use of an alternate graphic organiser to assess and improve learning quality. Mind maps interactively created within groups of learners, in support of specific constructivist learning practices, are assessed here. Results indicate that the mind map is an appropriate alternative to the concept map for observing constructivist learning within a technical discipline. Further, the practice of collective mind map creation, using an initial spoke structure, positively impacts learning quality within a community of learners. http://libraries.sta.uwi.edu/journals/ojs/index.php/cts/article/view/358/308
... The process of explaining to other enquirers fosters deep conceptual understanding as weaknesses, inconsistencies or limitations in the "knowledge object" tend to become more salient (Hatano & Inagaki, 1992); recognising inadequacies is likely to motivate its improvement through joint activity. Creating concrete representations and receiving feedback allows learners to oscillate productively between their own tentative explanations and critique of their externalised representations from another's perspective according to Hay's (2008) account of dialogical concept mapping. This is expected to apply to use of the IWB too (which incidentally constitutes a potentially powerful forum for concept mapping). ...
... Mavers (2009) addresses this in her compelling account of how primary children focused on different aspects of a resource and reversioned texts for their own purposes when recording personal representations, even when 'copying' from a board or book; this involved making shifts in meaning in the course of doing important "semiotic work." Hay's (2008) work on dialogical concept mapping, along with successful employment of the stimulated recall interview technique in research studies in this area (eg Wegerif, et al., 2010), indicates that using digital artefacts as stimuli for discussion with or between students about their learning -either during a lesson or some time afterwards -may be a fruitful form of formative or summative assessment. Comparing artefacts such as concept maps produced at the beginning and end of a lesson sequence as did one primary teacher observed by Kleine Staarman (personal communication) powerfully illustrates to learners themselves how their thinking has moved on. ...
Article
This paper explores how the interactive whiteboard (IWB) might be harnessed to support student learning through classroom dialogue. This powerful and increasingly prevalent technology opens up opportunities for learners to generate, modify, and evaluate new ideas, through multimodal interaction along with talk. Its use can thereby support rich new forms of dialogue that highlight differences between perspectives, and make ideas and reasoning processes more explicit. The emerging account builds upon Bahktin's conception of dialogue and Wegerif's notion of technology ‘opening up a dialogic space for reflection’, but foregrounds the role of mediating artefacts. Classroom dialogue in the context of IWB use is construed as being facilitated by teachers and learners constructing digitally represented knowledge artefacts together. These visible, dynamic, and constantly evolving resources constitute interim records of activity and act as supportive devices for learners' emerging thinking, rather than finished products of dialogue. This primarily theoretical account is illustrated with examples from case studies of UK classroom practice. Analysing lessons in sequence has illuminated how teachers can exploit the IWB through cumulative interaction with a succession of linked digital resources, and through archiving and revisiting earlier artefacts. The tool thereby helps to support the progression of dialogue over time, across settings and even across learner groups. In sum, the article reframes the notion of dialogue for this new context in which students are actively creating and directly manipulating digital artefacts, and offers some practical examples.
... Concept mapping (Novak, 1990) is a method of diagrammatic representation, which is in the same family as mind mapping (Buzan, 1990) and spider diagramming (Trowbridge and Wandersee, 1998). Concept mapping has demonstrated the capacity to externalize understanding (Hay, 2008) and, used repeatedly, can facilitate learning through promoting self-reflection (Hay et al., 2008b) and dialogue (Kinchin, 2003). When students create concept maps repeatedly, their maps comprise a visual learning record (Hay et al., 2008b), and the quality of change in understanding can be measured empirically (Hay et al., 2008a). ...
... However, the qualitative approach advocated by Kinchin, Hay and Adams (2000) highlights changes in knowledge structures (Kinchin and Hay, 2006), which is useful because it draws particular attention to moments of knowledge transformation (Hay et al., 2008b), the integration of new information (Hay, 2007) and can be used in conjunction with 'expert' (lecturer) commentaries (Hay et al., 2008a). Furthermore, reflective accounts by learners viewing the visual record of learning held within their own maps allows for the addition of a personal narrative of learning (Hay, 2008). Used together, these various methods of analysis can comprise a rigorous approach to assessing personal understanding and personal learning. ...
Article
This study uses concept mapping and participant interviews to explore how differing professional viewpoints and levels of knowledge held by social workers and mental health nurses affect perceptions of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role during an interprofessional training programme. The results suggest that social workers entering the programme had a greater understanding of the role in comparison to mental health nurses; however, on completion of the programme, both professional groups demonstrated similar levels of learning. The study challenges assumptions that nurses may be inherently disadvantaged by their professional background in terms of learning about a role that is traditionally associated with social work practice. Study participants valued the concept mapping process and felt that the approach may be a valuable tool for clinical supervision.
... van den Bogaart et al. 2017). Within the concurrent (dialogic) construction of a map (Hay 2008) as per a map-mediated interview Kinchin 2012, 2013), Ian clearly has an influence on the structure of the final map. Even though Ian tried not to direct Emma in terms of content to be included or excluded, there is a dialogue in which Ian is probing understanding and 'interrogating' meaning in such a way that the resulting map would be different if Emma had produced it in solitude. ...
Article
Background: Concept maps have been used extensively for developing higher order thinking skills and are considered significant artefacts in constructing understanding in educational contexts. Increasingly, they are being used as a tool to chart a way towards ‘new understanding’ rather than recording ‘accepted knowledge’. This study is set in an academic development department in a UK higher education institution in which previous research projects have utilised concept map-mediated interviews as a tool in data collection. This paper reports on the relationship between the process of the concept map-mediated interview and the resulting concept map and focuses on the talk during the interview process. Purpose: The purpose of the study was to explore the co-constructed nature of the concept map which resulted from the concept map interview. The research question was: how is the concept map accomplished through and in the interview talk? Sample: The three researchers and authors of this paper are colleagues in an Academic Development department in a UK higher education institution. The focus of the interview was to probe the research perspective underpinning the practice of one of the authors. Design and methods: The study used a qualitative, unstructured concept map interview. The aim of the interview was to elicit an understanding of one of the authors’ research frame and how it influenced her work with staff. The interviewer noted labels on post-it notes during the interview which both participants then arranged on a sheet of paper. The interview lasted 36 minutes and was transcribed verbatim. Sociocultural discourse analysis was used to examine the trajectory of concepts in the interview talk. Results: The results highlight the collaborative nature of the interview and how the concept map is co-constructed through the interview talk. We demonstrate how the concept map is co-constructed through and in the dialogue between interviewer and interviewee, not as a result of the interview. Results also reveal how the context of acquaintance interviews impacts on the co-construction and thus the resulting concept map. Conclusions: A concept map which results from such an interview is co-constructed with the interviewer playing a pivotal role in the talk and the mapping. The implications are that the interview as research tool needs to be recognised as a site for the co-construction of ideas and perspectives. Concept maps resulting from interviews need to be recognised as co-constructed. A further implication for research methods is that the transcripts from the interview itself can be used as data to provide a richer understanding of the concept map.
... It is a powerful teaching tool since it facilitates the declaration of understanding among teachers and students [5]. Some works on concept maps consider the importance of collaborative concept mapping [6], [7], [8], [9], with particular reference to the promotion of dialogue between teachers and students [10], [11]. A common but misleading myth is that the innovative economy is based on a few brilliant and creative inventors and entrepreneurs, nowadays we know that the most important creative insights typically emerge from collaborative teams and creative circles [12], [13]. ...
... These types of assessment focus on rote learning by asking learners to recall isolated ideas. Assessment of concept mapping shifts the focus away from rote recall of ideas to how learners construct meanings of inter-related concepts (Hay, 2008;Popova-Gonci & Lamb, 2012). Conceptualized in this manner, concept maps equate to the dependent variable and are used to measure effects of other teaching strategies, much like multiple-choice or true/false assessments. ...
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This article describes how an introductory online family science class used concept maps and the impact of the maps on higher order learning. A concept map is a graphical tool for organizing knowledge. Concept maps show relationships between concepts in a way similar to how road maps represent locations of highways and towns. Concept mapping has also been shown to increase higher order learning. This article describes the impact of concept maps on higher order learning by comparing pre-and post-student narrative summaries of internal dynamics of families. Based upon the described methodology, results showed that concept mapping did not improve higher order learning. When outliers were removed from data, results demonstrated a small but significant improvement in higher order student learning.
... We have been using a developed form of concept mapping to enable students to show their understanding of a topic. Iterations of the concept map over time enable both student and lecturer to see how understanding is developing and provide students with rich data for reflection (;Hay, 2008;Hay, Kinchin & Lygo-Baker 2008). The early stages of this research made it clear that students find it extremely difficult to learn from chains of information; expertise in any subject can better be represented as a net, with complex connections between different concepts (Kinchin, Cabot & Hay 2008). ...
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This paper outlines the author’s intellectual journey towards a deeper understanding of the nature of information literacy and how IL learning can be supported. This work was stimulated by a consultancy in one UK university to recommend an appropriate IL framework for use on their VLE. The journey described here considers relevant principles of learning, the place of student reflection in IL learning, what IL in HE should encompass, the importance of context in developing IL, and the influence of the digital environment, especially Web 2.0. The main features of existing IL frameworks in HE are critiqued. A new IL framework is then offered along with a rationale for its appearance and use. The conclusion looks forward to continuing development of the ideas covered here.
... D. Novak, personal communication, 2012), and indeed within his "new model for education," Novak has repeatedly highlighted the importance of scaffolding student learning by, for example, the use of expert maps and feedback (Novak, 2005;Novak & Cañas, 2004;Cañas & Novak, 2008). Current literature on concept mapping considers the benefi ts of collaborative concept mapping (Kinchin, DeLeij, & Hay, 2005;van Boxtel, van der Linden, Roelofs, & Erkens, 2010;Torres & Marriott, 2010;Moon, Hansberger, & Tate, 2011), with particular reference to the promotion of dialogue between teachers and students (Kinchin, 2003;Hay, 2008). The importance of providing feedback on students' maps is emphasised by Morse and Jutras (2008), who concluded that "concept maps without feedback have no signifi cant effect on student performance, whereas concept maps with feedback produced a measurable increase in student problem-solving performance and meaningful learning, especially when the linking phrases are dynamic and explanatory. ...
Article
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This article aims to reexamine conclusions drawn by recent analyses of the literature on concept mapping as an educational tool by considering the wider literature on curriculum development. This is with the aim of enhancing the application of concept mapping to higher education. As part of an iterative review process, issues raised by previous analyses are reconsidered with reference to educational research papers that were not considered previously. A greater consideration of the context for learning provides alternatives to some of the assumptions that underpin the discipline-specific concept mapping literature. The methodological shortcomings in the literature on concept mapping revealed by earlier reviews are reevaluated to support reflection on how the tool may be profitably used and also how such reviews may be conducted to better inform practice. This article offers enhanced guidance on the contextualisation of concept mapping and recommendations for its future use in higher education.
... Making sense of oneself through experience demands learners who are able to cope with the 'unexpected' and who can develop new understandings through 'surviving' the uncertainty and the unfamiliar in order for cognitive processes to become possible. Deep learning concerning understanding of the world around us, demands effort and time spent on struggling with new links between information (Entwistle & McCune, 2009) and involves different forms and functions of understanding (Hay, 2008(Hay, , 2010a. Besides, in higher education, the power of knowledge, and the discourse on independent thinking and original ideas, particularly at postgraduate level, contribute to 'illusions' of omniscience and the idea that one may be able to learn without any reference to others. ...
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Only few studies have focused on how emotions, and especially how ways of relating with students, underlie learning in higher education. The academic demands and the nature of scientific knowledge increase anxiety in intensive learning situations. The article raises the paradox that, on the one hand, we want our students to acquire particular knowledge, but on the other hand we also want students to be able to make the knowledge that they acquire their own and develop personal understandings. The article follows a line of thought developed during the author's own experience of teaching, as a tutor of psychology, and during her experience of researching university students' approaches to studying and personal understanding. It is argued that aspects of the academic culture encourage regressed and surface elements of learning (see Entwistle & McCune, 2009) in which students work towards learning processes, the will to learn and sensitivity to context. In L. Zhang & R. Sternberg (Eds.), Perspectives on the nature of intellectual styles (pp. 29–62). New York: Springer) in which students work towards learning the same things as each other (including learning by rote or a predatory internalisation of the tutor and the subject). The wish of tutors to retain their power over students, their failure to appreciate students' faltering steps towards understanding, the value they place on answers which reflect their own perspective, and their narcissism and omnipotence, can result in their students feeling frustrated, humiliated, self-reproachful, vulnerable and dependent. It is suggested that an academic environment which is tolerant to paradox and the unexpected can increase the possibility of deep learning and relativistic reasoning. Such an environment is likely to increase students' tolerance of situations involving uncertainty and not knowing, enabling them to develop a more integrated self.
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Ways in which research into university teaching and student learning originated and developed over a forty-year period are illustrated by following a single line of research conducted by the author and his colleagues. The early research drew heavily on established psychological concepts, such as ability, motivation, and personality, to predict degree outcomes using inventories with statistical analysis. Subsequently, this approach was combined with in-depth interviews with individual students, which provided insights into distinctive approaches to learning and studying. The nature of academic understanding was also explored with students who explained the techniques they had used to remember what they had understood. Later, the research on student learning was expanded to explore the influences of teaching, and of the whole teaching-learning environment on students’ levels of knowledge and understanding, and on their feelings. Finally, problems in conveying research findings to university teachers are considered and directions of future research are suggested.
Chapter
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This chapter describes the origins and development of research into both student learning and the influences of teaching on studying, providing a rationale for many of the research and development studies described in this book. The research is traced back to the emergence of cognitive psychology, with its distinction between meaningful and rote learning and its emphasis on generalized psychological ideas, like intelligence and motivation. Such concepts were initially used in research on student learning, but more specific, contextualized, concepts were subsequently identified that provided stronger evidence to explain differences in student learning outcomes. Involving students more directly in the research process provided descriptions of student learning and studying more readily recognized and valued by university teachers. Students’ learning processes were found to be influenced by departmental policies and teachers’ distinctive ways of teaching, with subsequent research focusing more directly on the effects of the whole teaching-learning environment on students’ learning outcomes. The concepts developed by educational researchers have stimulated university teachers’ ways of thinking about their practice and are still relevant in planning for an uncertain future. The value of this research depends crucially on its impact on practice, with studies increasingly taking account of the crucial variations in the implications of research across different subject areas and institutional contexts. This process is leading to a greater involvement of subject teaching staff and study advisers in considering and using research findings.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter describes the origins and development of research into both student learning and the influences of teaching on studying, providing a rationale for many of the research and development studies described in this book. The research is traced back to the emergence of cognitive psychology, with its distinction between meaningful and rote learning and its emphasis on generalised psychological ideas, like intelligence and motivation. Such concepts were initially used in research on student learning, but more specific, contextualised, concepts were subsequently identified that provided stronger evidence to explain differences in student learning outcomes. Involving students more directly in the research process provided descriptions of student learning and studying more readily recognised and valued by university teachers. Students’ learning processes were found to be influenced by departmental policies and teachers’ distinctive ways of teaching, with subsequent research focusing more directly on the effects of the whole teaching-learning environment on students’ learning outcomes. The concepts developed by educational researchers have stimulated university teachers’ ways of thinking about their practice and are still relevant in planning for an uncertain future. The value of this research depends crucially on its impact on practice, with studies increasingly taking account of the crucial variations in the implications of research across different subject areas and institutional contexts. This process is leading to a greater involvement of subject teaching staff and study advisers in considering and using research findings.
Chapter
Of the numerous techniques for eliciting output of various types from students, we focused on a tool called a “concept map.” We chose this technique because it is relatively easy to incorporate into a class, even a mass lecture class, and because it is effective as a learning tool for students in that it helps them to digest and understand a wide range of concepts in their own way. In this chapter, we will present a case study on introduction of concept maps into so-called “traditional” lecture classes, using the maps as a tool with potential for promoting deep active learning and developing a rubric for concept map assessment.
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This paper reports a study into the development of staff understanding of assessment and assessment practice. Eight teachers from two universities constructed an initial concept map about assessment that was discussed in a one-to-one semi-structured interview. A year later, a new map was created and the interview focused on change in thinking and practice. Multiple models of assessment were evident in the participants’ understandings at the same time and change was characterised by subtle evolution in thinking. Development in practice was more significant and often associated with the foregrounding of assessment for learning. Vignettes are used to illustrate the variation in nature and scale of development. Interplay between this development of practice and understanding was multidirectional and external context played an important role. The approach offers detailed insight into the relationship between assessment thinking and practice and demonstrates that both research and academic development need to go beyond conventional approaches to conceptualising the development of academics and take account of the finer grained complexities of assessment thinking and practices.
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This study examined the reflection interview as a tool for assessing and facilitating the use of ‘systems language’ amongst 11th grade students who have recently completed their first year of high school biology. Eighty-three students composed two concept maps in the 10th grade—one at the beginning of the school year and one at its end. The first part of the interview is dedicated to guiding the students through comparing their two concept maps and by means of both explicit and non-explicit teaching. Our study showed that the explicit guidance in comparing the two concept maps was more effective than the non-explicit, eliciting a variety of different, more specific, types of interactions and patterns (e.g. ‘hierarchy’, ‘dynamism’, ‘homeostasis’) in the students’ descriptions of the human body system. The reflection interview as a knowledge integration activity was found to be an effective tool for assessing the subjects’ conceptual models of ‘system complexity’, and for identifying those aspects of a system that are most commonly misunderstood.
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Background: Literature contends that a teacher’s knowledge of concept map-based tasks influence how their students perceive the task and execute the creation of acceptable concept maps. Teachers who are skilled concept mappers are able to (1) understand and apply the operational terms to construct a hierarchical/non-hierarchical concept map; (2) identify the legitimacy of the constructed concept map by verifying its graphical structure and its educational utility; and (3) determine the inherent ‘good’ and ‘poor’ qualities of the resulting graphical structure to reiterate the ‘good’ qualities and to coach and provide feedback to alleviate ‘poor’ qualities. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of prospective teachers’ knowledge underpinning the technique used to construct concept maps and thus, explicate their facility to construct concept maps. Sample, Design and Methods: Data consisted of 200 concept maps constructed by prospective teachers in an elementary science methods course. Results: Analysis revealed that the prospective teachers had predominantly constructed either hierarchical and/or non-hierarchical concept maps. It is likely that their maps reflect the teaching that they themselves would have experienced in their science classrooms during their own education. Additionally, most of these concepts maps only contained the root concept and subordinate concepts and lacked directional linking lines, linking phrases, labelled lines and propositions. Conclusions: We argue that teacher educators need to assess their prospective teachers’ understanding of concept mapping in relation to the legitimacy (the nature and quality) of the end-products (graphical structures) of such practices. Prospective teachers also need to understand the educational utility of concept mapping in terms of how these end-products impact and/or effectuate learning.
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Knowledge is getting increasingly more complex. Learners, from Kindergarten to higher education, require powerful tools to connect complex ideas. This paper explores the range of studies that investigated concept maps as learning, metacognitive, collaborative, and assessment tools to support integrating complex ideas. Research suggests that concept maps can be successfully implemented in a wide variety of settings, from K12 to higher and professional education. However, the effectiveness of concept maps depends on different factors, such as concept map training and choosing a suitable form of concept map to match the task and learner. Developing proficiency in concept mapping takes time and practice and should not be first introduced in higher education. Concept map training could start as early as Kindergarten and include concept map generation, interpretation, and revision. This paper concludes that, if implemented thoughtfully, concept maps can be versatile tools to support knowledge integration processes towards a deeper understanding of the relations and structures of complex ideas and facilitate life-long learning.
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This article discusses how mapping techniques were used in university teaching in a humanities subject. The use of concept mapping was expanded as a pedagogical tool, with a focus on reflective learning processes. Data were collected through a longitudinal study of concept mapping in a university-level Classics course. This was used to explore how mapping can be applied in the discursive context of the humanities in relation to teaching, learning and assessment. A theory was developed of how to facilitate the externalization of the relationship between public and personal reflection through combining social and psychological aspects of learning. The article concludes with suggestions for how this can be applied as a learning and assessment tool to assist the writing and reflection process in the humanities. This situates broader developments in educational theory and research in the unique character of learning and teaching in Classics.
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This article develops the concept-mapping method as a tool for enhancing teaching quality in higher education. In particular, it describes how concept mapping can be used to transform abstract knowledge and understanding into concrete visual representations that are amenable to comparison and measurement. The article describes four important uses of the method: the identification of prior knowledge (and prior-knowledge structure) among students; the presentation of new material in ways that facilitate meaningful learning; the sharing of 'expert' knowledge and understanding among teachers and learners; and the documentation of knowledge change to show integration of student prior knowledge and teaching. The authors discuss the implications of their approach in the broader context of university level teaching. It is not suggested that university teachers should abandon any of their tried and tested methods of teaching, but it is shown how the quality of what they do can be significantly enhanced by the use of concept mapping.
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The article argues that we make best use of learning technologies if we begin with an understanding of educational problems, and use this analysis to target the solutions we should be demanding from technology. The focus is to address the issue from the perspective of teachers and lecturers (the ‘teaching community’), and to consider how they could become the experimental innovators and reflective practitioners who will use technology well. Teachers could become ‘action researchers’, collaborating to produce their own development of knowledge about teaching with technology. For this to be possible, they must be able to share that knowledge, and the article proposes the use of an online learning activity management system as a way of capturing and sharing the pedagogic forms teachers design. An action research approach, like all research, needs a theoretical framework from which to challenge practice, and the article shows how teachers could use the conversational framework to design and test an optimally effective learning experience. Examples of ‘generic’ learning designs illustrate how such an approach can help the teaching community rethink their teaching, collectively, and embrace the best of conventional and digital methods. In this way they will be more likely to harness technology to the needs of education, rather than simply search for the problems to which the latest technology is a solution.
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This paper shows how concept mapping can be used to measure the quality of e-learning. Six volunteers (all of them 3rd-year medical students) took part in a programme of e-learning designed to teach the principles of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their understanding of MRI was measured before and after the course by the use of concept mapping. The quality of change in individuals' maps was assessed using criteria developed to distinguish between meaningful and rote-learning outcomes. Student maps were also scored for evidence of conceptual richness and understanding. Finally, each map was compared directly with the content of the electronic teaching material. The results show that many of the student misconceptions were put right in the course of their learning but that many of the key concepts introduced in the teaching were ignored (or sometimes learnt by rote) by the students. This was because the teaching material locked these new ideas in structures and terminology that precluded meaning-making among non-experts. Our data suggest that students' prior knowledge is a key determinant of meaningful learning. We suggest that this must be acknowledged if the design and use of electronic teaching material is also to be meaningful. Ultimately, measures of student learning are the only authentic indicators of the quality of teaching through technology.
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As faculty, our goals for students are often tacit, hidden not only from students but from ourselves as well. We present a conceptual framework for considering teaching goals – what we want our students to achieve – that encourages us to think more broadly about what we mean by achieving in our knowledge domains. This framework includes declarative knowledge (“knowing that”), procedural knowledge (“knowing how”), schematic knowledge (“knowing why”) and strategic knowledge (“knowing when, where and how our knowledge applies”). We link the framework to a variety of assessment methods and focus on assessing the structure of declarative knowledge – knowledge structure. From prior research, we know that experts and knowledgeable students have extensive, well-structured, declarative knowledge; not so novices. We then present two different techniques for assessing knowledge structure – cognitive and concept maps, and a combination of the two – and provide evidence on their technical quality. We show that these maps provide a window into the structure of students declarative knowledge not otherwise tapped by typical pencil-and-paper tests. These maps provide us with new teaching goals and new evidence on student learning.
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The publication of this volume was assisted in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency whose mission is to award grants to support education, scholarship, me-dia programming, libraries, and museums in order to bring the results of cultural activities to the general public. Preparation was made possible in part by a grant from the Translations Program of the endowment.
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This fully revised and updated edition of Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge recognizes that the future of economic well being in today's knowledge and information society rests upon the effectiveness of schools and corporations to empower their people to be more effective learners and knowledge creators. Novak's pioneering theory of education presented in the first edition remains viable and useful. This new edition updates his theory for meaningful learning and autonomous knowledge building along with tools to make it operational - that is, concept maps, created with the use of CMapTools and the V diagram. The theory is easy to put into practice, since it includes resources to facilitate the process, especially concept maps, now optimised by CMapTools software. CMapTools software is highly intuitive and easy to use. People who have until now been reluctant to use the new technologies in their professional lives are will find this book particularly helpful. Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge is essential reading for educators at all levels and corporate managers who seek to enhance worker productivity.
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This paper is developed from my earlier paper, "Why Design Research" (Glanville 1980).
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