Is concept mapping favourable for undergraduates with different learning styles?

Julia S.W. Wong, Baaska Anderson, Martin Gough


Background and objective: Concept mapping is a powerful metacognition and visual learning tool. However, human beings are born to understand and perceive the world using five basic senses. According to Neil Fleming’s VARK model, there are five different types of sensory modality groups which include visual, auditory, read/write, kinaesthetic and mixed modality. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effects of CM on students’ overall academic performance among visual, auditory, read/write, kinaesthetic and multi-modal dominant learners.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional quantitative research study. The participants were nursing undergraduates in a private higher education institute and enrolled in the same course offered in the spring and summer semesters. At the beginning of the semester, the VARK questionnaire version 7.8 was used to identify students’ sensory modality groups. Concept mapping was adopted for teaching the course. After the semester, students’ overall academic performance was used to compare the differences between different sensory modality groups.

Results: The mean grades of the spring students were: visual (M = 80.80, SD = 7.30), aural (M = 81.49, SD = 4.19), read/write (M = 81.16, SD = 8.69), kinaesthetic (M = 78.27, SD = 7.56) and multimodal (M = 79.56, SD = 7.65). The means grade of summer students were: visual (M = 74.68, SD = 8.59), aural (M = 78.79, SD = 9.38), read/write (M = 74.89, SD = 3.87), kinaesthetic (M = 77.10, SD = 9.69) and multimodal (M = 75.96, SD = 9.74). After comparing the average grades between different sensory modality groups in both spring and summer semesters using One-way ANOVA testing, there were no statistically significant differences found.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that teaching with animated CM in PowerPoints and co-construction of CM seems to be applicable to learners with different sensory modality groups.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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