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Ron Gerrits

Biomedical Engineering Program

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Milwaukee, WI 53202

gerrits@msoe.edu

www.msoe.edu

 

 

Students of All Learning Styles Report that Knowledge Maps are Beneficial to Learning
R.J. Gerrits, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
 
I have used expert-generated knowledge maps (similar to concept maps but with greater levels of structure and detail) for my physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology students for the past few years. In order to obtain more information related to their usefulness to student learning, I designed a survey to test the hypothesis that they would be beneficial to students of varying learning styles. The survey was administered to thirty-one previous students who had not taken any courses with me for at least one academic quarter. The survey was administered in sections, with the first section asking students to take and report their scores on the VARK exam, the second section asking free response questions such as “what was most beneficial to learning in Dr. Gerrits’ class” and the third section asking questions focused specifically on knowledge maps. Of the 26 students reporting their VARK scores, 10 showed no learning style preference and the rest showed preferences for V, A, R, and K with the following breakdown; 5, 1, 4 and 6, respectively. Twenty-nine students completed the free-response portion of the survey, with 69% mentioning the knowledge maps as being a class attribute that was most helpful to learning (in comparison 28% of students listed “ability to explain” and 17% listed “learning outcomes”). A Chi-square analysis with William’s correction indicated there was no association between learning style and the mention of knowledge map on free response (p = 0.42). When asked specifically about knowledge maps, 100% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that they were useful to learning, 94% have referred to them in subsequent courses, and 58% of students reported drawing their own in subsequent courses (drawing their own was also not associated with learning style via William’s corrected Chi-square analysis). These results indicate that students found the knowledge maps useful during the course for which they were designed, as well as in subsequent courses.
 
Ron Gerrits, 414 277-7561, Gerrits@msoe.edu
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retrospective analysis is a great data to guide your prospective survey.
Posted 15:27, 17 Jul 2009
it would be good to hear how your knowledge maps influenced how your students studied in future classes
Posted 15:30, 17 Jul 2009
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