According to Novak (2010), a concept map (CM) is a (hierarchical) network comprised of concept terms (nodes) and directed lines linking pair of nodes; at the same time, CMs provide a window into students’ mind, reflecting students’ knowledge structures. Seen as an educational tool, the CM encourages students to organize and make explicit their knowledge. CMs are considered effective as teaching and learning tools that assist the development of conceptual knowledge, allowing visual observation of relationships and connections between multiple areas and pieces of information (Novak & Gowin, 1984). Moreover, the ability to recognize connections between different pieces of information or aspects of a problem facilitates problem-based learning (PBL) (Schaal, 2010). The latter assists the development of higher-order thinking skills, helping students to become independent, self-directed learners who appropriately respond to situations in a logical and reasonable manner (Savery & Duffy, 1995). Taking into account the previous approaches, a CM can be studied from different perspectives, for instance: The creator/s perspective. The construction of a CM can be performed either in individual or in collaborative mode. Several studies have investigated the use/potential of CMs as supporting processes of self-knowledge management (Conceicao, Desnoyers, & Baldor, 2008; Tergan, 2005; Tergan, Keller, Graber, & Neumann, 2006; Vodovozov & Raud, 2015). Other authors, on the other hand, have explored the potential of collaborative CMs to facilitate knowledge construction as a study/collaborative tool (Gao, Thomson, & Shen, 2013; Koc, 2012; Lee, 2013; Lin, Wong, & Shao, 2012; Molinari, 2015; Rafaeli & Kent, 2015). Although originally developed to assist individual learners, collaborative use of CMs emphasizes brainstorming among group members, leading to visualization of new ideas and synthesis of unique concepts (Novak, 2010), requiring communication/negotiation processes, which guide learners to grow in their conceptual understanding (Kwon & Cifuentes, 2009). The quality perspective. The quality of a CM (QoCM) can be defined through quantitative/qualitative metrics in different spaces, e.g., on the basis of the correct propositions that it includes, and/or on the characteristics that concern its construct as a network or even its construction procedure. Upon the evaluation of such qualities, appropriate feedback could be provided. In general, the CM quality refers to the amount, depth, and breadth of information and the number of connections made among different items included in it (Gurupur, Jain, & Rudraraju, 2015). The technology perspective. Concept mapping has been described as a technique that can increase student’s learning in the traditional classroom (Alvarez-Montero, Saenz-Perez, & Vaquero-Sanchez, 2015; Novak & Canas, 2008). However, several studies have clearly demonstrated the efficacy of computer and/or online concept mapping tools/techniques in supporting the learning process (Kwon & Cifuentes, 2007; Omar, 2015). The teaching-learning environment perspective. The technological possibilities added flexibility that allows the integration of the CM in blended (b-) learning experiences (Adams Becker et al., 2017). These include face-to-face (F2F) and online modalities that are formed through the mediation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), rather than being completely online or F2F (Michinov & Michinov, 2008). So far, limited efforts have been made to understand the development and use of theory in the particular domain of b-learning research (Drysdale, Graham, Spring, & Halverson, 2013; Graham, 2013). The concept of b-learning is embedded in the idea that learning is not just a onetime episode but also a continuous/dynamic learning process. Blending different delivery modes/tools can be seen as an imaginative solution in educational contexts, since it has the potential to balance out and optimize the learning development (Dias, Diniz, & Hadjileontiadis, 2014). The computer-based learning environments (CBLEs) that can be integrated in b-learning assist individuals in learning, using multiple representations of information for a specific educational purpose (Ifenthaler, 2012). CBLEs frequently confront learners with a number of support devices (also referred as tools) in order to enhance learning, to help learners in their learning, and to provide a learning opportunity (Collazo, Elen, & Clarebout, 2015; Garcia-Alvarez, Suarez Alvarez, & Quiroga Garcia, 2014). However, according to Bates and Sangra (2011): “Teachers must decide which tools are most likely to suit the particular teaching approach” (pp. 44–46).

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call