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Concept Mapping (CM)

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  1. Concept Mapping (CM) Roxana Anghel Jo Fox SWAP Symposium, London 15th May 2009

  2. Theoretical underpinningsof CM • Goal of HE is to move the student from rote to meaningful learning (All & Havens, 1997; Hay et al., 2008) – retention and reflective thinking • Learning = personal change(Jarvis, 2006);the absence of change is non-learning • Meaningful learning(Novak & Canas, 2008): • relevant prior knowledge (learners construct new meaning by assimilating new knowledge in pre-existing frameworks); • meaningful material; • meaningful learning set. • Prior knowledge must be measured to identify complexity, structure and misconceptions. Without it teaching could be inaccessible to students who could choose rote learning • ‘The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows; ascertain this and teach him/her from there’(Ausubel, 1968) • Concept mapping is a tool that can be used to measure prior knowledge with large samples

  3. Concept Mapping: • Schematic representation of the summary of an individual’s understanding of a knowledge domain in the form of specific concepts meaningfully linked in propositions (Novak & Gowin, 1984) – a visual road map • Hierarchical(Ausubel, 1968) - most inclusive and general concepts are usually at the top of the map – these are then connected to less inclusive more specific concepts and propositions • However hierarchy is not always relevant (White, 1987, Shorelson, 1994) – concept can be located in the middle (Taber, 1994) • Judged on the validity of the concept-links and by the spread of knowledge (complexity)

  4. The key features of concept maps. Concept maps tend to be read progressing from the top downward (Novak & Canas, 2008)

  5. r • Concept Mapping as formative assessment tool • Formative assessment is advocated by educationalists (Black & William, 1998; Taras, 2008) as one of the most important aspects of classroom teaching and learning. • Most obvious with lower achieving students who have been found to increase their level of achievement following formative assessment. • Gives constructive individual feedback on how to resolve the gap between current performance and desired goal

  6. 2 groups of students on MA (13 pairs) and Year 3 BA (11 pairs) • CM at the beginning and end of a module • Analysis – qualitative and quantitative • Qualitative - followed by individual (written, closed) and collective formative feedback focused on strengths and areas that need further reflection in preparation for their assignments (e.g. critical reflection on abstract concepts, and the links between practice and policy framework) • Formative feedback after T1 and T2 for BA module • Formative feedback after T2 for MA module • Feedback after T2 – at three weeks to a month before the assignment deadline • Quantitative using the scoring instructions developed by the team

  7. Findings • MA Module • 72% T2 maps increased significantly in complexity and quality • From describing process and micro-skills, to more abstract and contextual concepts • Some important concepts consistently omitted (e.g. impact of culture, age, policy and legislation) • BA Module • 46% T2 maps increased the size and quality of the maps • Qualitatively the maps showed expected levels of knowledge, but recurrent omissions of very important ideas (e.g. involvement of service users, reflection, power, etc.) • Some correlation between marks with CM maps but inconclusive

  8. Implications • Concept Mapping – a potentially valuable method for monitoring learning progress in social work education prior to formal assessment. • Found as useful when used as formative assessment method (81%) • Informative; richness of map reading was surprising; helped expand awareness of areas important to the subject; helped them focus; confirmed their knowledge before the assignments; useful for preparation for assignments • 19% - not useful: limited time for completion didn’t allow inclusion of all knowledge thus the feedback was seen as irrelevant • Used at the beginning of the module can give lecturers a better grasp of the needs of the group early in the module, potentially leading to changes in delivery to accommodate the students’ prior learning.

  9. Concept Mapping as learning tool and self-assessment method Dialogical concept-mapping(Hay, 2008) • It is about ‘facilitating and recording the outcomes of the cognitive processes that underpin personal understanding’. (Hay 2008, p. 1057) • Learner centred • Begins with learner externalising his / her thoughts at the beginning of the course • As the learner progresses s/he begins a recursive dialogue with the text books / teaching / tutorials and begins to develop the concept map • The process is formative so that the teacher can see the workings and development of the learner

  10. Concept map completed on return from Berlin

  11. How does this support me in my learning? • Enables me to see the gaps in my learning • Enables me to see what I have learnt • Enables the recursive cycle • Begins a dialogue with myself and my supervisors

  12. Advantages of CM as learning tool • It illustrates what is meaningfully learned and what is not as deeply understood and therefore learning needs support • Detects gaps and misconceptions (either by working with tutor or by self-assessment) • It can cover a large area of knowledge in shorter time than expressed textually; it is visual and limited as space • Supports the understanding of complex material, retention, and enhances the ability to organise knowledge and communicate abstract concepts (Royer & Royer, 2004) • ‘Felt significance’ increases motivation in learning (Novak & Gowin, 1984) • Confirmed by feedback from 22 participants • 64% - CM easy to use • 72% - CM useful for learning - visual, awareness of knowledge and connections; confirmation; focus; feedback • ‘One thing leads to the next which may not have been noticeable to begin with’

  13. Limitations • 36% - not easy to use • Dyslexia (CM software useful); blank moments intensified by time pressure; not fitting learning style - ‘I struggle with the idea of putting logical thought patterns down on paper’ • 28% - not useful • Didn’t understand how it works; stressful ‘as it’s difficult to me’; time constraint prevented wide exploration of answer • Takes a while to train students to use CM • Can be daunting when used for the first time

  14. Concept Mapping as interactive/ dialogical tool in social work practice • Freeman & Jessup (2004) assessed the interaction (videotaped) between expert and user using CM to collaborate in problem-solving. • CM - beneficial and helpful by both • Sense of shared understanding • Balance of power of the relationship • Allowed greater participation by the user • The interaction was analysed re type of questions, quality of voice and tone, who led the task, what type of information was included and omitted although mentioned in the meeting; whether the expert reviewed the map with the user before ending the meeting. • CM can be useful in working with service users on assessment, planning, reviews – it can be an empowering tool if used within a partnership relationship – suggested also by one student • Can be used in assessing student interaction with service users and partnership in practice

  15. Ana • l • J • k • Constructing a Concept Map • Find a concept or a subject matter of interest (e.g. cultural sensitivity in social work, trust, empowerment) • Task – discuss concept or answer question • Brainstorm – find concepts that are relevant to your main concept or question (parking lot) • Draw connections between concepts (concept-links) and explain their meaning • Find how concepts that belong to separate propositions/branches in the map connect – indicate meaningful learning • Contextualise • A concept map is never finished – revise

  16. Free software -

  17. Selected bibliography • Novak JD & Gowin DB (1984), Learning how to learn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Book preview on Google Book Search • Ausubel D (1968) • Freeman LA & Jessup LM (2004), The power and benefits of concept mapping: measuring use, usefulness, ease of use, and satisfaction, International Journal of Science Education, 26(2), 151-169 • Novak J & Canas AJ (2008) The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them • Hay DB (2008)Developing dialogical concept mapping as e-learning technologyBritish Journal of Educational Technology 39(6) 1057–1060 • All AC & Havens RL (1997) Cognitive/concept mapping: a teaching strategy for nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25, 1210-1219 • Hay D, Kinchin I, Lygo-Baker S (2008) Making learning visible: the role of concept mapping in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(3), 295-311 • Jarvis P (2006) Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning: lifelong learning and the learning society, Vol 1. London, Routledge