A qualitative study on using concept maps in problem-based learning

Chung Yee Zenobia Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


However, the use of concept maps in nursing education has been under-explored. Objectives The aim of this study was to explore how students develop concept maps and what these concept maps consist of, and their views on the use of concept maps as a learning activity in a PBL class. Design A qualitative approach consisting of an analysis of the contents of the concept maps and interviews with students. Settings The study was conducted in a school of nursing in a university in Hong Kong. Participants A total of 38 students who attended the morning session (20 students) and afternoon session (18 students) respectively of a nursing problem-based learning class. Methods The students in both the morning and afternoon classes were allocated into four groups (4–5 students per group). Each group was asked to draw two concept maps based on a given scenario, and then to participate in a follow-up interview. Two raters individually assessed the concept maps, and then discussed their views with each other. Results Among the concept maps that were drawn, four were selected. Their four core features of those maps were: a) the integration of informative and artistic elements; b) the delivery of sensational messages; c) the use of images rather than words; and d) three-dimensional and movable. Both raters were concerned about how informative the presentation was, the composition of the elements, and the ease of comprehension, and appreciated the three-dimensional presentation and effective use of images. From the results of the interview, the pros and cons of using concept maps were discerned. Conclusions This study demonstrated how concept maps could be implemented in a PBL class to boost the students’ creativity and to motivate them to learn. This study suggests the use of concept maps as an initiative to motivate student to learn, participate actively, and nurture their creativity. To conclude, this study explored an alternative way for students to make presentations and pioneered the use of art-based concept maps to facilitate student learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Concept map
  • Nursing
  • Problem-based learning
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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