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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-43

Concept mapping: A learning strategy

Assistant Professor, Department of Mental Health Nursing, Parul Institute of Nursing, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Date of Submission05-Feb-2021
Date of Decision06-May-2022
Date of Acceptance23-May-2022
Date of Web Publication05-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Betty Koshy
202 Nisarg Residency, SunPharma Road, Vadodara - 390 012, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcn.ijcn_14_21

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Concept mapping (CM) is an innovative educational strategy that promotes meaningful learning. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of structured teaching programme regarding the use of CM as a learning strategy on knowledge, psychiatric care plan presentation and satisfaction among B.Sc nursing 3rd-year students of selected nursing colleges in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. A pre-experimental (one group pre-test and post-test), evaluative research approach was used to achieve the objectives of the study on 60 B.Sc nursing 3rd-year students using a purposive sampling method. The findings revealed that 60 (100%) of them improved on the pre-test scores in terms of their conceptual understanding in the post-test with a mean score of 8.9 (standard deviation [SD] = 1.2) with 't' = 35.15 which is highly significant at 0.00001 level. The assessment of satisfaction regarding CM revealed that 60 (100%) students were highly satisfied with CM as a learning strategy with a mean score of 54.4 (SD = 3.6) and 't' = 27.68 which is highly significant at the 0.00001 level. The coefficient of correlation between post-test knowledge and satisfaction scores was found to be r = −0.01 at P > 0.05 (P = 0.93). The coefficient of correlation between post-test psychiatric care plan and satisfaction scores was found to be 0.4 at P < 0.05 (P = 0.001).

Keywords: Innovative teaching–learning strategy, meaningful learning, satisfaction

How to cite this article:
Koshy B, Fernandes A. Concept mapping: A learning strategy. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2022;23:40-3

How to cite this URL:
Koshy B, Fernandes A. Concept mapping: A learning strategy. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 7];23:40-3. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2022/23/1/40/349816

  Introduction Top

Nursing students are exposed to a vast amount of information and reading material that is very specific, technical, and new to the students. Unless nurse educators provide a learning environment that promotes understanding through interaction, students might only commit unassimilated information to their short-term memory through rote learning, and no meaningful learning will occur. Concept mapping (CM) is such innovative teaching–learning strategy that promotes meaningful learning.[1] Su and Osisek[2] stated that CM assists learners to self-critique learning using the decision-making process. Self-awareness is critical to the learning process and transfer of knowledge into practice. Thus, the goal of education should be to develop educational experiences that facilitate meaningful learning and reduce the need for rote learning. Hinck et al.[3] identified the need for new teaching methods to be developed and implemented by nurse educators to assist students to think critically, understand complex relationships, integrate theoretical knowledge into nursing practice and become lifelong learners one technique that has been suggested is CM. This study examines the use of concept maps as a technique for learning.

The effect of CM in developing critical thinking (CT) was studied by many researchers, whereas the acceptance of the students related to CM as a teaching–learning strategy was rarely studied. The attempt to assess the satisfaction of students towards the CM had brought out a positive feedback about the CM. The study was primarily done to assess the satisfaction and thereby find out the students' acceptance and perception towards CM as a novice learning strategy. The ultimate aim was to create independent or self-directed learners.

Yadav and Mohammad[4] stated that nurses in the frontline should be a critical thinkers to be able to work independently in the clinical set-up. The traditional teaching methods provide students with theoretical knowledge and invariably fail to prepare them for keeping up with the clinical challenges in healthcare. Various strategies are employed in nursing education to improve CT, knowledge and clinical practice. This study was done with an aim to provide a brief introduction to CM and assesses the effect of CM on knowledge of nurses and nursing students compared to conventional teaching methods. A narrative review method was undertaken to identify the evidence of effectiveness of CM on knowledge of nurses when compared to conventional teaching methods. PubMed-MEDLINE database was used as search engine for literature review. Specific search strategies and key terms were used to search database. Six research studies, out of 20 reviews supported that CM was better than conventional teaching methods. The review concludes that CM is useful and more successful in stimulating CT among nursing students. CM was found to be more effective than the conventional teaching method in increasing meaningful learning, encouraging them to connect current knowledge to their prior learning and also providing an opportunity to gain further knowledge. The study concludes that CM can be used as a clinical teaching–learning method to enhance CT in nursing students.[4]

Moahmed[5] expressed that building CT skill is a teacher's role but it may require systematic planning and inculcation of new innovative teaching methods in the curricula. A quasi-experimental design was conducted to evaluate the effect of using CM as a learning strategy on students' knowledge, attitude and satisfaction in developing care plan. The study questionnaire was developed to measure students' knowledge towards using CM. To measure students' satisfaction with using CM in developing care plan for Adult-II course, a modified version of the satisfaction scale was used.[6] There was a significant improvement of the CMs over time (t = 5.11, df = 18, P = 0.03) indicating that utilising CM had significant effect on students' learning. There were no significant differences between the mean scores between the control and intervention groups (t = 4.03, df = 23, P = 0.19) which indicates that students in the intervention and control groups have similar knowledge and learning abilities. Results also showed a high level of satisfaction among students regarding their learning experience and affective recognition of CM. The study concluded that the CM can be used to teach all the subjects and it helps in memory retention eliminating the chances of rote learning.[5]

In a study done by Nirmala and Shakuntala[7] in identifying the strategies that develop and strengthen CT skills are gaining momentum. The study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of CM in the development of CT skills among B.Sc nursing students using a pre-test, post-test control group design. The 4th-year B.Sc nursing students were included in the experimental group (n = 40) and control group (n = 44). The experimental group was given a training to prepare nursing care plans using CM. The training programme was for 12 weeks where the participants were given case study scenarios every week to prepare nursing care plans using a concept map. The experimental group and control group were again assessed for the CT skills. The concept maps were evaluated using scoring criteria. In the post-test, there was a significant difference in the CT scores of both groups at 0.05 level (t = 2.16). A significant improvement was identified between the pre-test and post-test CT scores of the experimental group at 0.05 level (t = 2.0). A comparison of CM scores of the experimental group in the pre-test and post-test showed a highly significant difference at 0.041 level. In nursing education, the CM is adapted to develop nursing care plans from the assessment data collected from the patients instead of the common column-wise prepared care plans which is well reported in the study.

  Methods Top

The study was conducted on nursing students from two nursing colleges. The sample size for the study was estimated as 60. Using the purposive sampling method and based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 60 students were recruited for the study. All the students in B.Sc nursing 3rd year were willing to participate in the study. The first college had 32 students and 28 students from the second college which made a total of 60.

For this study, data were collected from the students to assess knowledge and satisfaction regarding CM as a learning strategy. After extensive review of literature and suggestions from experts following tools were developed for attainment of objectives and to test the hypothesis. Data were collected in the classroom of two different nursing colleges. The schedule for data collection was prepared and was followed strictly to avoid any unforeseen events.


Knowledge questionnaire

Comprises 10 multiple choice-based questions on CM. This tool was used to assess the student's knowledge regarding CM. It included questions such as history, definition, characteristics, theoretical basis and uses of CM. Each correct answer was given a score of one and unanswered or wrong answer was given a score of zero. The highest score is 10 and the lowest score is 0. The reliability value was found to be r = 0.94.

Psychiatric care plan evaluation rubric

To evaluate the students' CT and problem-solving ability which definitely comes from the analysis of cognitive domain, case scenarios were developed to determine students' ability to utilise the theoretical knowledge and solve the problems by preparing care plans based on CM. The rubric was developed by examining other concept map rubrics and making an outline of the major points that should be included in the concept map care plan evaluation. Students' CT skill was analysed before and after intervention. Rubrics comprise 10 major areas on which the student is evaluated highest score in each area was 3 and the lowest score was 1. The overall score ranges from 10 to 30. The reliability value was calculated to be r = 0.86


Self-structured 3-point Likert scale was used in the study. It was designed to investigate experimental students' level of satisfaction for adopting CM as a learning strategy to develop psychiatric care plan. The scale comprises 20 statements which were rated on a 3-point Likert scale from agree, uncertain and disagree. Scoring key developed for satisfaction scale was given as agree = 3, uncertain = 2 and disagree = 1. The reliability was found to be r = 0.84. The tool was validated by content experts.


Structured teaching program

A systematic teaching program on the theory of concept maps and psychiatric care plans using CM was developed and validated. On day one, the students were taught about the theory of concept maps and on how to develop psychiatric care plans through incorporating the elements of a concept map. On day two, students were given case scenarios and were instructed to prepare a psychiatric care plan using CM for the given case followed by case discussion.


The demographic variables are presented as frequency and percentage. Paired 't'-test was used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention and Pearson correlation was performed to check the relationship between knowledge and satisfaction.

  Results Top

Among the 60 students, 95% of students belong were in the age group of 20–23 years, 98.3% were female students whereas 1.67% were male students. About 91.7% of students were 12th students passed, 5% were diploma and 3.33% students were graduates. In their previous class test, 60% of students had obtained 61%–70%, 36.68% gained 71%–80% and 1.67% students had obtained 81% or more marks. No students had previous knowledge regarding CM [Table 1].
Table 1: Frequency and percentage distribution of demographic variables

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Data presented in [Table 2] depict that mean post-test knowledge score (9.03) of students was higher than mean pre-test knowledge scores (2.3) with mean difference (6.73). The overall mean percentage score was found to be 23% in pre-test and 90% in post-test with an enhancement of 67% and standard deviation (SD) of 1.2 and 0.8, respectively.
Table 2: Effectiveness of structured teaching programme on knowledge, satisfaction and psychiatric care plan scores

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The 't' = 35.15 for df (59) was found to be statistically significant at P > 0.05 (P = 0.00001 level. This showed that obtained mean difference was a true difference and not by chance.

Data presented in [Table 2] depict that mean post-test satisfaction score (54.4) of B.Sc nursing 3rd-year students was higher than mean pre-test knowledge scores (29.7) with mean difference (24.7). The 't' = of 27.68 for df (59) was found to be statistically significant at P > 0.05 (P = 0.00001) level. This showed that obtained mean difference was a true difference and not by chance.

The mean post-test psychiatric care plan scores (21.03) was significantly higher than mean pre-test score (5.2) with a mean difference of 15.83 at P < 0.005 level of significance.

[Table 3] depicts that the relation between knowledge and satisfaction computed by Karl Pearson coefficient was found to be r = −0.01 showing that there is no or negligible relationship between knowledge and satisfaction. Hence, it is inferred that students' satisfaction is not merely related to knowledge (basic understanding and recalling the concepts).
Table 3: Correlation between knowledge and satisfaction

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  Discussion Top

The mean post-test knowledge score (9.03) of B.Sc nursing 3rd-year students was higher than mean pre-test knowledge scores (2.3). The overall mean percentage score was found to be 23% in pre-test and 90% in post-test with an enhancement of 67% and SD of 1.2 and 0.8, respectively, which is found to be statistically significant at 0.00001 level which indicates that structured teaching programme using concept map-based care plans is an effective medium to improve knowledge scores. The findings are supported by Taie's study (2014).[8] This study was conducted by the Faculty of Nursing – Helwan University. Participants were composed of all 4th-year students (102) in the Faculty of Nursing – Helwan University. Knowledge about CM before and post-awareness session was assessed. In pre-test, 82% of students had low scores, 17% of students had moderate scores and none of the students had high scores. However, in the post-test, 5.88% of students had low scores, 17% obtained moderate scores, whereas 76.47% attained high scores. Findings revealed that there was a high significant (P < 0.001) difference between pre-test and post-awareness sessions regarding their knowledge about CM.[9]

Psychiatric care plan scores were assessed by rubrics. The mean post-test psychiatric care plan scores (21.03) was significantly higher than mean pre-test score (5.2) with a mean difference of 15.83 at P < 0.005 level of significance [Table 2].

Similar findings can be seen in the study regarding the application of concept map scoring rubric for experimental group assignments which showed that the majority (86.27%) of the students had moderate score in the first assignment and only (13.73%) had high score, while, in the second assignment (90.2%) of them had high score and only (9.8%) had moderate score. On the other hand, no one in both assignments had low score.

Data presented in [Table 2] depict that satisfaction score in post-test was significantly higher than pretest. Therefore it can be concluded that using CM in care plans was found to be highly satisfactory. These findings are supported by the study conducted by Taie.[8] Findings revealed that students perceived CM positively as a learning tool and 98.04% of students agreed that they can soon adapt to CM and 96.08% of students were satisfied with using CM to learn course of nursing administration.[7] This study, therefore, indicates the advantage of using CM as an innovative teaching–learning strategy. The advantages have been reported consistently by another study conducted by Clayton and Sarhangi et al.[9] CM is one of the active teaching methods that can help nurse educators to train graduates who are capable of CT and problem-solving.[9],[10]

  Conclusion Top

Productive teaching is so intertwined to learning that the products of teaching such as knowledge, skills and attitude acquisition are much dependent on teaching strategies. The learning environment should be one that creates meaningful learning. Content planning and selection of audio-visual materials should focus on how students learn rather than what they learn. The use of CM may be one educational strategy to aid in developing significant learning in the nursing curriculum. The concept map method may also be useful in evaluating the progression of higher cognitive skills in undergraduate nursing students.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Chabeli M. Concept-mapping as a teaching method to facilitate critical thinking in nursing education: A review of the literature review of the literature. Health SA Gesondheid 2010;15:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Su WM, Osisek PJ. The Revised Bloom's Taxonomy: Implications for educating nurses. J Contin Educ Nurs 2011;42:321-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hinck SM, Webb P, Sims-Giddens S, Helton C, Hope KL, Utley R, et al. Student learning with concept mapping of care plans in community-based education. J Prof Nurs 2006;22:23-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Yadav S, Mohammad I. Concept mapping, conventional teaching methods and knowledge of nurses. Indian J Contin Nurs Educ 2018;19:21.  Back to cited text no. 4
Moahmed HF. Concept mapping in clinical nursing: A meaningful learning. Life Sci J 2013;10:1037-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Chiou CC. The effect of concept mapping on students' learning achievements and interests. Innov Educ Teach Int 2008;45:375-87.  Back to cited text no. 6
Nirmala T, Shakuntala BS. Attitude of students on concept mapping – An innovative teaching learning strategy. J Health Allied Sci NU 2012;2:39-43.  Back to cited text no. 7
Taie ES. Concept mapping as an innovative teaching strategy to enhance cognitive learning in nursing administration course. Int J Innov Educ Res 2014;2:11-25.  Back to cited text no. 8
Clayton LH. Concept mapping: An effective, active teaching-learning method. Nurs Educ Perspect 2006;27:197-203.  Back to cited text no. 9
Sarhangi F, Masumi M, Ebadi A, Seyyed Mazhari M, Rahmani AZ. Comparing the effect of lecture-and concept mapping based learning on cognitive learning levels. Iran J Crit Care Nurs 2010;3:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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