Studying and Constructing Concept Maps: a Meta-Analysis

Abstract

A concept map is a node-link diagram in which each node represents a concept and each link identifies the relationship between the two concepts it connects. We investigated how using concept maps influences learning by synthesizing the results of 142 independent effect sizes (n = 11,814). A random-effects model meta-analysis revealed that learning with concept and knowledge maps produced a moderate, statistically significant effect (g = 0.58, p < 0.001). A moderator analysis revealed that creating concept maps (g = 0.72, p < 0.001) was associated with greater benefit relative to respective comparison conditions than studying concept maps (g = 0.43, p < 0.001). Additional moderator analyses indicated learning with concept maps was superior to other instructional comparison conditions, and was effective across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and non-STEM knowledge domains. Further moderator analyses, as well as implications for theory and practice, are provided.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Hedges g is a commonly used mean difference effect size which represents the advantage of treatment expressed in standard deviations and adjusted for small sample sizes.

  2. 2.

    Throughout this article, k refers to the number of effect sizes averaged to calculate a weighted mean effect size.

  3. 3.

    For AERA papers, only paper titles were examined. Programs for the years 2007 and 2008 were unavailable at the time of the initial literature search. The programs were retrieved in 2015 and added 8 and 10 abstracts for consideration, respectfully.

  4. 4.

    The program for the year 2006 was unavailable at the time of the literature search.

  5. 5.

    We categorized studies as STEM or non-STEM due to the plethora of discipline-based research fields now prevalent in the scholarly community. We note that these coding categories are generally consistent with those used in Nesbit and Adesope’s (2006) analysis, which coded studies as physical science, general science (with subfields), or humanities (with subfields).

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Schroeder, N.L., Nesbit, J.C., Anguiano, C.J. et al. Studying and Constructing Concept Maps: a Meta-Analysis. Educ Psychol Rev 30, 431–455 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-017-9403-9

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Keywords

  • Concept map
  • Knowledge map
  • Meta-analysis
  • cmap
  • kmap