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

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Presentation on theme: "Concept Mapping (CM) Roxana Anghel Jo Fox SWAP Symposium, London 15 th May 2009."— Presentation transcript:

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

2 A. Theoretical underpinnings of 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)


6 A. r B. 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

7 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

8 Description of linkScoreEx. False connections, whether indicated through concept links or only by ‘???’ Tautologies 0 Relevant concepts linked by ‘????’ (no concept link) * Where the ‘???’ cannot be assumed with certainty by the scorer, as there could be more than one alternative explanation to ‘???’ * Where the scorer can assume with certainty the meaning of ‘???’ as the only possible alternative, please score depending on the relevance of the concept to the main concept/question 1 2 or 3 Debatable links - Propositions have sense, but are true only in some circumstances2 Contextual – propositions that are relevant to social work but are far from the core of the main concept 2 Lists – where a number of concepts are attached to one concept link but individually do not add theoretical value to the map – score once the entire bunch 2 Relevant – propositions that are relevant to the concept (the degree of relevance should be captured in the qualitative analysis) 3 Cross-links The links that connect two concepts belonging to two different branches that helps the reader see how concepts in two different domain of knowledge in the map are related and indicate meaningful learning - where the cross-link is not specifically relevant to the main subject – score as contextual link - where the cross-link appears as ‘???’ but the meaning is obvious and it’s close to the main concept – give full cross-link value

9 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

10 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.

11 C. 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

12 Concept map completed on return from Berlin

13 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

14 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’

15 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

16 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

17 Ana A. l B. J C. k D. 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

18 Free software -

19 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), Novak J & Canas AJ (2008) The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them yingConceptMaps.htm yingConceptMaps.htm Hay DB (2008) Developing dialogical concept mapping as e-learning technology British 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, 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), Jarvis P (2006) Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning: lifelong learning and the learning society, Vol 1. London, Routledge

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