Concept mapping in a multimedia, World Wide Web environment
Gordon Kenji Niguma, Simon Fraser University , Canada
Simon Fraser University . Awarded
Traditional educational pedagogies focus primarily on the behaviorist's view of knowledge transfer from the instructor to the learner through the instructor's interpretation of meaning. However, research in education indicates that this method of teaching is not always the most effective one. Students often fail to understand the deeper meaning of concepts and relations using the behaviorist model.
Conversely, the constructivist view focuses on a student's own construction and interpretation of concepts and associated relationships. The constructivist approach requires individuals to organize and structure knowledge in their own manner which leads to "a more complete and coherent understanding" (Scardamalia and Bereiter (6)). This thesis focuses on one specific tool that supports the constructivist method of learning, known as concept mapping. The purpose of the concept map is to identify key concepts and the relationships between these concepts in an instructional setting under various levels of abstraction. The learner is encouraged to think reflectively about what they have studied using the concept map.
Concept maps are graphical representations created by learners which consist of polygons (to represent students' concepts and ideas) and labeled lines connected between polygons which represent relationships between concepts and ideas. We will refer to the polygons as "nodes" and the lines as "links". Traditionally, paper and pencil has been used to create concept maps but this method limits students to a flat representation of knowledge is also difficult to edit. A computer-based tool can allow easy modification of concept maps as well as providing high resolution graphics, Internet resources and multimedia to the user.
This thesis will describe the design and implementation of a computer-based concept mapping tool. A small study was conducted to evaluate the ease of user interaction and the effectiveness of the tool in assisting understanding.
Niguma, G.K. Concept mapping in a multimedia, World Wide Web environment. Master's thesis, Simon Fraser University.
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