Teaching Science for Understanding: The Positive Impact of Simultaneous Use of Concept Mapping and Computer Simulations

  • Mohammad HassanzadehEmail author
  • Javad Hatami
  • Saeed Latifi
  • Mohammad Reza Farrokhnia
  • Tahereh Saheb
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 635)


Concept map as an effective tool allows learners to deal with an in depth analysis rather than keeping more information which is transferred through lecture based teaching. Concept map also improves the efficiency of computer assisted simulation techniques in learning environments. This research especially focuses on effectiveness of a computer simulated environment and concept mapping and its effect on conceptual understanding of science. In this study, we selected 60 high school students and divided them into two groups (30 students in Group A and 30 students in Group B). The goal of this research is to investigate how the concept maps influence the learning of Direct Current (DC) concept in electric circuits. We collected data by using Determining and Interpreting Resistive Electric Circuit Concepts Test (DIRECT). Covariance analysis indicates significant difference between two groups. Adjusted pretest scores also approve the significant effect of learning with simulation plus concept map in comparison with the sole simulation among learners (Partial eta Squared = 0.08; F = 4.84; p < 0.03). We conclude that students who used simulation along with a concept map (group B) showed better learning than students who used only a simulation software.


Concept mapping Science education Computer simulation 


  1. 1.
    Tunnicliffe, S.D.: Where does the drink go? Prim. Sci. Rev. 85, 8–10 (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Granklint Enochson, P., Helldén, G., Lindahl, B.: Students’ understanding about the function of the human body in relation to their own health. In: Paper Presented at the Conference ESERA, Malmö University, Sweden (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rowlands, M.: What do children think happens to the food they eat? J. Biol. Educ. 38(4), 167–171 (2004). Skolverket (two thousand and seven). Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lichtenberger, A., Vaterlaus, A., Wagner, C.: Analysis of student concept knowledge in kinematics. In: Constantinou, C.P., Papadouris, N., Hadjigeorgiou, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the ESERA the 2013th E-Book Conference: Teaching and Coherence in Learning Science Education Research for Evidence Based, Part 11 (Millar, R. & Dolin, J.), pp. 38– 50. ESERA, Nicosia (2014)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gardner, J.: Testing the efficacy of Merrill’s first principles of instruction in improving student performance in introductory biology courses. All graduate theses and dissertations, Utah State University (2011)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Michael, J.: Where’s the evidence that active learning works? Adv. Physiol. Educ. 30(4), 159–167 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Halpern, D.F., Hakel, M.D.: Learning that lasts a lifetime: teaching for long-term retention and transfer. New Dir. Teach. Learn. 89, 3–7 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mayer, R.E.: Thinking, Problem Solving, Cognition, 2nd edn. WH Freeman, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    DiCarlo, S.E.: Cell biology should be taught as science is practiced. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 7(4), 290–295 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ebert-May, D., Brewer, C., Allred, S.: Innovation in large lectures: teaching for active learning. Bioscience 47, 601–607 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Freeman, S., O’Connor, E., Parks, J.W., Cunningham, M., Hurley, D., Haak, D., Dirks, C., Wenderoth, M.P.: Prescribed active learning increases performance in introductory biology. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 6(2), 132–139 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Salomon, G., Perkins, D.N., Globerson, T.: Partners in cognition: extending human intelligence with intelligent technologies. Educ. Res. 20(3), 2–9 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Perkins, D.N.: PERSON PLUS: a distributed view of thinking and learning. In: Salomon, G. (ed.) Distributed Cognitions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1993)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kuhn, D., Dean, D.J.: Is developing scientific thinking all about learning to control variables? Psychol. Sci. 16(11), 866–870 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Abdullah, S., Abbas, M.: The effects of inquiry-based computer simulation with cooperative learning on scientific thinking and conceptual understanding. Malays. Online J. Instr. Technol. (MOJIT) 3(2), 1–16 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ausubel, D.P., Novak, J.D., Hanesian, H.: Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View, 2nd edn. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York (1978)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Novak, J.D., Gowin, D.B.: Learning How to Learn. Cambridge University Press, New York (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Raisa, B.G., Jeanette, A.B.: Concept mapping a strategy for teaching and evaluation in nursing education. Nurse Educ. Pract. 6, 196–203 (2006)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jonassen, D.H., Marra, R.M.: Concept mapping and other formalisms as mindtools for representing knowledge 2(1) (1994)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Materna, L.: Impact of concept mapping upon meaningful learning and metacognition among foundation level associate degree nursing students. Dissertation, Capella University. (2000)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Horton, P.B., McConney, A.A., Gallo, M., Woods, A.L., Senn, G.J., Hamelin, D.: An investigation of the effectiveness of concept mapping as an instructional tool. Sci. Educ. 77(1), 95–111 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    McCagg, E.C., Dansereau, D.F.: A convergent paradigm for examining knowledge mapping as a learning strategy. J. Educ. Res. 84(6), 317–324 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Chiou, C.C.: The effect of concept mapping on students’ learning achievements and interests. Innov. Educ. Teach. Int. 45(4), 375–387 (2008)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Abbasi, J., Abdullah Mirzaee, R., Hatami, J.: Usage of concept maps in teaching high school chemistry. J. Educ. Train. (97), 29–52 (2009). New Courses, Spring 1388Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zare, M., Zrbkhsh, C., Sarikhani, R.: Effect of concept mapping on academic achievement and high levels of self-regulated learning in physics lessons. Media Mag. 4(4), 18–24 (2012). Winter 92Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Huber, F.E.: Effects of concept mapping on learning anatomy and transfer of anatomy knowledge to kinesiology in health sciences students. Doctoral dissertation, West Virginia University (2001)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Markow, P.G., Lonning, R.A.: Usefulness of concept maps in college chemistry laboratories: students’ perceptions and effects on achievement. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 35(9), 1015–1029 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Beissner, K.L.: Use of concept mapping to improve problem solving. J. Phys. Ther. Educ. 6(1), 22–27 (1992)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Rahmani, A.: Effect of concept mapping in the second semester nursing student nurses learning process. End of a Master, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (2005)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bremner, M.N., Aduddell, K., Bennett, D.N., VanGeest, J.B.: Usage of human patient simulators: best practices with novice nursing students. Nurse Educ. 31(4), 170–174 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rodgers, D.L.: High-Fidelity patient simulation: a descriptive white paper report. Healthcare Simulation, Charleston (2007).
  32. 32.
    Wieman, C.E., Perkins, K.K., Adams, W.K.: Interactive simulations for teaching physics: what works, what does not, and why. Am. J. Phys. 76(4&5), 393–399 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Mustafa, M.I., Trudel, L.: The impact of cognitive tools on the development of the inquiry skills of high school students in physics. Int. J. Adv. Comput. Sci. Appl. (IJACSA) 4(9), 124–129 (2013)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Finkelstein, N.D., Adams, W.K., Keller, C.K., Kohl, P.B., Perkins, K.K., Podolefsky, N.S., Reid, S., LeMaster, R.: When learning about the real world is better done virtually: a study of substituting computer simulations or laboratory equipment. Phys. Rev. Spec. Top. - Phys. Educ. Res. 1, 010103 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Engelhardt, P.V., Beichner, R.J.: Students’ understanding of direct current resistive electrical circuits. Am. J. Phys. 72(1), 98–115 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Hassanzadeh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Javad Hatami
    • 1
  • Saeed Latifi
    • 1
  • Mohammad Reza Farrokhnia
    • 1
  • Tahereh Saheb
    • 1
  1. 1.Tarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran

Personalised recommendations