Purpose - This paper describes a multi-year research, developed to verify the validity of Concept Mapping as a resource to promote meaningful learning, in order to cope with students' heterogeneity in a real estate education environment.Design/methodology/approach - Three quasi-experimental, multi-year case studies were conducted at the Real Estate Management discipline of an MBA course. Each time the discipline was given, the procedure was to develop activities that involved the drafting of concept maps about specific topics on Real Estate Management; more specifically, the alignment between business strategies and real estate management. After each activity, the maps were analyzed in terms of the nature of concepts, their relations and hierarchy. The effects of the use of Concept Mapping on students' learning experience were then analyzed.Findings - The results show a clear evolution between the concept maps produced at phase 01 (diagnostic evaluation) and phase 02 (months later), but the most important thing is that after months from phase 02, when the same activity took place in another context (phase 03), students were able to develop concept maps as complex as the ones produced at phase 02. The findings support the assertion found in literature that the knowledge acquired through the use of concept maps is anchored in students' prior knowledge, consolidating itself as new subsumers in students' cognitive structure. The use of Concept Mapping helped the educator to cope with students' heterogeneity in terms of professional experiences and academic backgrounds.Research limitations/implications - Due to the non-randomization of the students, this research does not allow a generalization of the findings, but it does provide empirical evidence that supports the didactic use of Concept Maps in real estate education. Some practical difficulties related to the drawing of the maps were occasionally related, and future research will try to evaluate whether or not more agile, software-supported Concept Mapping techniques are appropriated to be used within this didactic framework.Originality/value - There is no bibliography on concept mapping techniques applied to real estate education. In this paper an overview of concept mapping is provided, and presented as straightforward way to cope with student heterogeneity.

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