Use of Conceptual and Procedural Knowledge Mapping to Improve Learning in a Lecture-Laboratory Microbiology Course

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Maurice Smith (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Frank E. Crawley

Abstract: Promoting successful learning is key in developing students from novice to professionals in their respective fields of study. In the field of science students have long practiced the art of memorization without complete understanding. To combat this common problem Joseph Novak and D. Bob Gowin constructed two metacognitive tools. These metacognitive tools concept mapping and Vee heuristic were developed with the hopes of providing students with a way to connect concepts principles and theories similar to their professors. The purpose of this study was to use these two tools as a way to promote successful learning among college-level science students. Both of these metacognitive tools were given to students enrolled in a microbiology lecture-laboratory course (BIOL 2110/2111 and BIOL 3220/3221). Concept mapping and the Vee heuristic were given to students in the guise of a study guide in hopes to promote constant use and easy access. As a way to measure students' improvement in learning two assessments general knowledge of microbiology (GKM) and public knowledge of microbiology (PKM) were constructed and given to students periodically throughout the course of the study. After the study's completion it was found that those students using the study guide regularly appeared to have a better understanding of the basic concepts required to successfully learn microbiology. Additionally students enrolled in BIOL 3220/3221 who used the study guide with help from a knowledgeable instructor significantly scored higher on the GKM assessment than the control group of students. Also discovered during the course of this study was nursing students attitudes towards scientific concepts. This particular find has important implications regarding the outcomes of this study. 

Additional Information

Date: 2013
Science education
Microbiology--Study and teaching (Higher)--Graphic methods
Concept mapping

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