Concept Mapping for Higher Order Thinking

Susan Marie Zvacek, Maria Teresa Restivo, Maria Fátima Chouzal

Abstract


Engineering education is facing a changing world in which how one thinks is becoming more important than what one thinks; that is, our course content is important but constantly changing and we need to help students learn how to think about that content.

Today’s students have grown accustomed to immediate rewards, multi-channel stimuli, and rapid-fire communications.  As a result, they are often impatient and suffer a lack of focus. When reflection is called for in the learning process - a time consuming practice - students may find it difficult to overcome the conflict between their typically speedy management of priorities and the focused, time-intensive thinking required to acquire a strong foundation of declarative knowledge.

Therefore, the exploration of tools to facilitate the formation of deep knowledge structures is essential. One instructional strategy that shows promise is the use of concept mapping, a learning activity that requires students to explain their understanding of important ideas and the relationships among those ideas.  This paper describes a pilot project to integrate concept mapping into a Mechanical Engineering Course and the preliminary results of that project.

This project has been established within the Working Group of “Tools for Developing High Order Thinking Skills”, of the Portuguese Society for Engineering Education, in which the first author is the leader and the other two co-authors, are working group members.


Keywords


Concept maps, Higher Order Thinking, Student Engagement, Teaching and Learning

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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