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By A. J. Cañas, P. Reiska, M. Åhlberg, J. D. Novak, Sabine Fechner and Elke Sumfleth


Abstract. Teaching chemistry in everyday life contexts has been seen as one way to raise students ’ interest in science and to educate scientific literate citizens. Teachers, however, often doubt that the actual content knowledge of the field is adequately acquired if it is taught in contexts that might distract the learner. In order to guarantee enough emphasis to be given to the underlying concepts and their relation, this study investigates whether concept mapping as a learning strategy helps students acquire the content knowledge of a chemical topic better than by means of writing a summary. In a one-factorial control-group design, students revise and link the learnt concepts in a collaborative paper-and-pencil concept mapping task. The prior learning environment is highly collaborative in that a problem-solving task relating to a problem taken from the students ’ everyday experience is presented. Guidance is given by appropriate information material. The two groups are constant concerning their problem-solving task but only differ in the way the content knowledge is revised. According to recent meta-analyses, effects of concept mapping in chemistry are generally small. This has also been confirmed by this study. Positive achievement effects are found in the achievement tests administered directly after the session. However, students in the concept map group do not outperform the control group if achievement is measured in a pre-post comparison. The quality of concept maps and summaries is still to be scored and compared as to the level of performance in relation to achievement test results.

Year: 2014
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