Title: Differences in concept maps caused by differences in cognitive structures

Authors: Erika Spoelma, Jeroen Olde Weghuis, Ronald Scheer

Addresses: University of Twente, Faculty of Educational Science and Technology, Division of Educational Instrumentation, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. ' University of Twente, Faculty of Educational Science and Technology, Division of Educational Instrumentation, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. ' University of Twente, Faculty of Educational Science and Technology, Division of Educational Instrumentation, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands

Abstract: Based upon the global notion that learners progress not only in their level of understanding and content expertise but also in the level of meta-cognition, the hypothesis was raised that first-year versus fourth-year students would show a difference in preference for conceptual support tools due to the variety in expressiveness. TextVision versus Inspiration were chosen as two contrasting concept-mapping tools. A medical subject domain was delivered in text on paper. It was expected that there would be a higher level of detail and graphical articulation in the concept maps drawn by the senior students, and also that the students in the matching condition (seniors with the more expressive tool) would reveal higher retention effects. Although the data did not support the presumed differential effect between the two tools, secondary analyses brought up the assumption that abundant representation features as in Inspiration inhibit the factual learning and integration of new information; too much attention to the spatial layout of the concept map distracts the learners| attention from the subject matter itself.

Keywords: concept mapping; cognitive structures; expressiveness of representations; learning; retention effects; TextVision; Inspiration; learner attention.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1998.030131

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1998 Vol.8 No.1/2, pp.141 - 153

Published online: 11 Dec 2009 *

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