eLearning Technology Blog

Faculty workshop: Concept maps enrich learning

by Ruth Gregory 5. February 2015 14:51

 

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Global Campus

PowerPoint presentations divide information into bullet points. “Concept maps” use the opposite approach: They require students to connect information—and that takes them to what WSU Assistant Professor Olusola Adesope calls “a higher level of cognitive process.”

Adesope, of the College of Education, is one of the world’s leading researchers on concept maps. He shared his findings at a recent faculty-led workshop co-sponsored by the WSU Provost’s Office, Teaching Academy and Global Campus.

Concept maps have two parts: Concepts and relationships. Concepts are drawn as nodes and relationships are linear links that connect them together. (Here’s an example.) It sounds simple, but faculty at the CUE 518 workshop learned that even a three-node map—bacteria, pneumonia, and antibiotics—can be constructed in several ways, highlighting different relationships and thinking processes. 

The approach has gained attention after a glowing description in Kenneth Sufka’s “The A Game,” which cites Adesope’s research. Adesope offered examples of how concept mapping can enhance learning, discussed studies that show it can be more effective and enjoyable than text or lectures, and said it was a more natural way to learn: “It aligns with the way that knowledge is stored in the long-term memory.”

Susan Poch, assistant vice provost, is considering using concept mapping as part of UNIV 104, an academic success class for freshmen. “It could be interesting to have students use the materials we introduce to them during the semester to create a map showing what they learned about the university and themselves,” she said.

Kimberly Green, director of the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, said concept mapping could have a role in assessing student learning. “It’s a way for students to demonstrate deeper understanding and connections among  core concepts and ideas,” she said, “as distinct from the body of factual knowledge they’re also building up in their discipline.”

To view Adesope’s presentation, visit the Global Connections YouTube page.

Upcoming faculty-led workshop topics include academic integrity, reaching first-generation students, and making sense of course evaluations. For the full schedule and sign-up info, go to the WSU eLearning Services training page and select “faculty-led” from the drop-down box. 

This information was originally featured in the WSU news.

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