College students’ use of self-generated tagclouds for knowledge integration: evidence from reflections

  • Shu-Yuan LinEmail author
  • Ying Xie


Student-generated tagclouds provided an intuitive overview of a group of learners’ collective knowledge. Although such tagclouds may have the potential to be used as effective learning tools, it has not been clear how students use this tool for knowledge construction. In this paper, we report a two-stage study that investigated college students’ experiences of using tagclouds for developing their domain knowledge, culminating in individual concept maps and research papers. Based on the results of the qualitative analyses of students’ reflections from the first stage, an intervention was introduced: group discussions on tagclouds generated from different groups. The result of Study Stage II showed that group discussions highlighted the utility of the tagclouds. Treatment group participants were more likely to use tagclouds as metacognitive strategies for planning, searching, retrieving, and organizing their learning. The two-stage study also underscored the importance of collecting students’ reflections earlier in the learning process when introducing a new technology tool to promote learning.


Group discussion Metacognitive strategies Tagcloud Tagging 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The two authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

This study was approved by IRB at Idaho State University. When this study was conducted, the two authors were faculty at Idaho State University.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and Educational Studies, College of EducationIdaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Technology, Research and AssessmentNorthern Illinois UniversityDekalbUSA

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