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Can Concept-mapping Exercises Enhance Learning in Online Courses? Public Deposited

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  • Prior research has suggested that homework activities that encourage learners to think more conceptually about to-be-learned material can have positive benefits on overall content learning. Can such activities be implemented successfully in online coursework, and does it produce the anticipated benefit? In two sections of an online Psychology course, participants were asked to either complete a concept-mapping exercise or control exercise for each chapter. The type of exercise, by chapter, was counterbalanced across sections. Results indicate that while students might initially struggle to realize the purported benefit of concept-mapping relative to learning, this effect does seem to begin to emerge later in the term, perhaps once students have become more comfortable with the activity. Students also appear to rate both the educational utility and enjoyment in completing the concept-mapping homework similarly to control exercises, so these novel activities do not appear to strongly alienate students. As such, while concept-mapping does seem to have some positive aspects, the positive impact of such exercises is not without some important caveats.
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  • Sanchez, C. A. (2019). Can concept-mapping exercises enhance learning in online courses? White Paper. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit.
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