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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Concept mapping : does it promote meaningful learning in science? Hembling, Paul Eric

Abstract

Concept mapping is a learning strategy based on constructivist theory that students leam by incorporating new knowledge into pre-existing frameworks, or constructs. This study attempts to determine whether on-going use of concept mapping by Biology 11 students facilitates meaningful learning. The study utilizes both qualitative (student interviews) and quantitative (statistical analysis of unit test scores) methodologies. For the quantitative analysis, the control and experimental groups consist of four classes of Biology 11 students where two blocks were exposed to concept mapping, while two were not (n=67; 33 concept mappers, 34 non-concept mappers). The findings are that although no statistically significant difference is found between the experimental and control groups, the statistical analysis suggests a trend of increasing test performance by concept mappers over non-concept mappers. The degree of difference increases the longer students have been exposed to concept mapping. Additionally, students provide insights into how concept mapping should be introduced, and shed light on common problems encountered while they learn the technique. Overall, students find concept mapping to be a valuable learning tool that most feel they will continue to utilize. Implications for teaching strategies are examined in light of students' experiences. A further study over a longer time frame could confirm the suggestion that with a longer exposure to concept mapping, a significant difference could be found between the experimental and control groups.

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