Type of Document Dissertation Author Gao, Hong URN etd-11132007-094755 Title The Effects of Key Concepts Availability and Individual Preparation in the form of Proposition Formation in Collaborative Concept Mapping on Learning, Problem Solving, and Learner Attitudes Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Susan Carol Losh Committee Chair Jeannine Turner Committee Co-Chair Janice Flake Committee Member Walt Wager Committee Member Keywords
- Collaborative Concept Mapping
- Instructional Strategy
- Concept Mapping
Date of Defense 2007-09-25 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study on collaborative concept mapping investigated how the availability of key concepts and individual preparation in the form of proposition formation affected learning, problem-solving, and learner attitudes. The sample for this study consisted of 140 pre-service teachers who enrolled in an educational psychology course. Three dependent variables were considered in two separate analyses: a MANOVA conducted for learning and problem solving and an ANOVA for the factors related to learner attitudes.
For the entire sample, there were no significant group differences for learning and problem-solving. However, there were significant differences in one aspect of learner attitudes: collaboration and group effectiveness. Participants who were provided with both key concepts and individual preparation were significantly more positive about collaboration and group effectiveness than either the key-concepts-only group or the control group. Effect sizes were calculated for the multivariate and univariate omnibus tests as well as for the multivariate and univariate contrasts.
Most of the participants had positive reactions to either treatment (i.e., key concepts and individual preparation) and their comments provided more insight into how concept map support was used. Positive feedback on the availability of key concepts indicated that they enabled participants to brainstorm other related concepts and proceed more efficiently. Some participants viewed the key concepts as further instruction on the formation of their concept maps. On the other hand, negative feedback about the key concepts indicated that some participants felt constrained from generating their own ideas. Some also felt that the provided concepts slowed down their mapping process. As for the individual preparation session, some participants used it to organize their understanding of the basic concepts, which helped them feed each other ideas later in the collaborative session.
A separate analysis was conducted on a sub-sample of the third year students. That analysis generated similar findings on both problem-solving and learner attitudes, but different findings on learning. Significant group differences were found learning and the control group significantly outperformed the both-treatments group.
Comparisons of the various effect sizes between the two samples showed similar findings. The group overlap index suggested a weak relationship between the grouping variable and the response variables. The multivariate contrasts in both samples indicated that the farthest distances in group centroids in learning and problem-solving lay between the control group and the both-treatments group.
There was a contradiction between the both-treatments groupís low performance in learning but their positive attitudes towards collaboration and group effectiveness. Further investigation is needed to explain this contradiction.
Based on both qualitative and quantitative data on learner attitudes, it is evident that the learners appreciated the collaboration opportunities and learning brought about by the collaborative concept mapping activity.
This learning that occurred particularly among the third-year students in this study suggests that brief training and appropriate concept mapping technique may facilitate the establishment of a basic understanding of the concepts. To achieve the goal of deep understanding and concept application to real-world problems through concept mapping, however, requires much more than studentsí knowledge and experience with the technique itself. Research on expert performance, deliberate practice, and critical thinking suggests that further efforts are needed to address methods and strategies that help learners organize their domain knowledge so that its representations are conducive to problem-solving.
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