Handbook of Research on Collaborative Learning Using Concept Mapping

Handbook of Research on Collaborative Learning Using Concept Mapping

Patricia Lupion Torres (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Brazil) and Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott (University of Birmingham, UK)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 1 More Indices
Release Date: July, 2009|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 548
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-992-2
ISBN13: 9781599049922|ISBN10: 1599049929|EISBN13: 9781599049939
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Description & Coverage

Educators are now seeking new methodologies to respond to the demand for personal education and knowledge acquisition and production. Concept mapping, a powerful learning and teaching technique, provides these educators with new methods that are beginning to be implemented at all educational levels in many institutions worldwide.

The Handbook of Research on Collaborative Learning Using Concept Mapping presents innovative educational and learning models that meet current complex educational demands, providing educators and teachers, as well as researchers, tutors, and students with a comprehensive understanding of the current research and trends of both theory and pedagogy in e-learning, involving collaborative learning and concept mapping. Compiling authoritative studies from an interdisciplinary network of education and instructional technology experts, this reference collection is essential to academic and research libraries and to a full range of stakeholders in the research and practice domains of education.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Active Learning
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Concept mapping
  • Critical teaching
  • Distance Learning
  • E-Learning
  • Information Society
  • Online Learning
  • Teaching pedagogy
  • Virtual Universities
Reviews and Testimonials

"Collaborative Learning meets the demands of the knowledge and information society, in which the 'information explosion' and the demands for greater and more varied supply make it necessary to convert new knowledge produced by science and technology into educational resources and content as a matter of urgency."

– Patricia Lupion Torres, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Brazil

The book can be recommended as a reference collection, and most readers should find chapters relevant to their field of interest.

– Online Information Review, Vol. 34, No. 2

"This collection of research on concept mapping for collaborative learning is aimed at educators, IT professionals, and software designers who need to respond to the current demands for personal education, knowledge acquisition, and production. [The editors] have collected research from experts in the field that covers the use of concept mapping in E-learning environments and face-to-face situations at the preschool, primary, and secondary school levels. A final section addresses the use of concept mapping and formative assessments to support literacy and learning."

– Book News, Inc., Research Book News
Table of Contents
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Editor Biographies
Patricia Lupion Torres has been a professor at PUCPR (Pontifical Catholic University of Parana/Brazil) since 1982. She was Head of the Education Department from 1994 to 1998 and again from 2003 to 2005. She was the coordinator of Research and Assessment of the Distance Learning Department from 2002 to 2003. She was also a lecturer at UFSC (Federal University of Santa Catarina/Brazil) on the Media and Knowledge Masters Course from 1999 to 2002. A Pedagogue, she is a Specialist in Psycho-pedagogy and in Sociological Theories and has a Master in Education from PUCPR. She took her doctorate on Media and Knowledge at UFSC. She was on the Board of Directors of PUCWEB from 2003 to 2005. She is currently the Pedagogical Coordinator of the National Service on Rural Learning – SENAR-PR. She manages projects on the use of virtual learning environments for distance learning in Higher Education, teaches the Masters and Doctorate in Education Courses at PUCPR whilst is the Director of Distance Learning at the same institution.
Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott BA, MEd, is a member of the academic staff in the Department of Hispanic Studies and at the Centre for Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham UK, where she is a Portuguese Language Tutor. She has lectured at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (PUCPR) and at Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR) in Brazil in subjects including EFL, ESP, Collaborative Learning Online, Translation Studies, New Technologies in Education in the Department of Languages and the Department of Education at graduate and post-graduate levels and has also given Teacher Training Courses related to Computer Assisted Language Learning at CELIN (UFPR’s Language Centre). She has participated in several projects involving e-learning and CALL and has been a member of the research group on Education, Communication and Technology at PUCPR since 2004. She is a founder-member of Braz-TESOL (1983), and since 1986 she has presented papers at various events nationally and internationally. Her research interests include language teaching, learning and acquisition, CALL, e-learning, new technologies in Education and the use of concept maps for language learning/teaching, and she has published in several of these areas including a book, chapters in books, articles in Journals and conference contributions. She is currently a doctoral student in E-Learning and Language Acquisition in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham UK.
Editorial Review Board
Editorial Advisory Board
  • Marcelo de Carvalho Borba, UNESP (Sao Paulo State University at Rio Claro), Brazil
  • Chaka Chaka, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
  • Fermín González , Public University of Navarra, Spain
  • Ria Hanewald, The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Robert R. Hoffman, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, USA
  • Marcus Vinicius Santos Kucharski, Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná - Brazil
  • Marco Antonio Moreira, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Alexandra Okada, The Open University - Knowledge Media Institute, UK
  • Claudio Rama, Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), Argentina
  • Bento Duarte Silva, Universidade do Minho, Portugal
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    It is our privilege to have this opportunity to introduce to a wide audience this important first effort to present the good work that is being done with the use of the concept mapping tool to facilitate collaborative learning. Patricia Torres and Rita Marriott have solicited and edited chapters from scholars who have been using the concept map tool in their work. The chapters cover work with a wide range of ages, from pre-school to adult education, and for a wide range of subject matter fields. The chapters provide illustrations for the improvement of curriculums, facilitation of learning, new methods of assessment, community learning, metacognitive learning, and enhanced self-concept.

    There is a growing worldwide recognition that globalization is placing new demands on individuals and societies. More than ever, we need individuals who are flexible and creative in their thinking and who have the self confidence needed to be creative and competitive. It is also widely recognized, as is well illustrated in these chapters, that we need to move learners from traditional rote learning methods to more effective meaningful learning methods.

    Traditionally, most learning has taken place in settings and with methods that are directed toward individual learners. Collaboration in learning in extreme cases had been regarded as “cheating”. The consequence of these methods has not only limited the development of social and cognitive skills but has also lost the important advantages that collaborative learning confers to individual learners in these areas. The dialogue between learners that is encouraged with collaborative learning mirrors more closely the kind of skills that are needed in the real world exchanges for most occupations. Moreover, there is a need for increasing collaboration between individuals in different countries with widely differing cultures. Collaborative learning can help to build the skills needed with this increasing of diversity in work environments.

    Another important change that has occurred in the last decade is the explosive development of the World Wide Web and the range of resources available to learners from the WWW. The resources available go beyond those in traditional texts and include various kinds visual media. These resources can enhance work by research groups, as is illustrated in some of the chapters. If we want to build individual and team problem solving skills, the data presented show that collaborative learning using concept maps can be highly effective.

      Alberto J. Cañas
      Associate Director of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, USA

      Joseph D. Novak
      Professor Emeritus, Cornell University
      Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, USA


    Currently, one of the major discussions taking place concerns the lack of a clear coherent definition, by the different actors involved in classroom and distance learning, of the pedagogical approach that each of them defends and follows in terms of theory and practice.When those involved in the educational process are asked about the pedagogical approach that they defend, the answers given nearly always lead to the defence of critical teaching. Interactivity, cooperation, collaboration, dialogue, exchange, knowledge production and group communication are constantly stressed in speeches and projects, although few programmes actually incorporate pedagogical strategies that guarantee such practices. These terms are frequently used without any corresponding commitment to them in practice. Very often, the pedagogical method used involves transmitting information under the guise of a new approach based on the use of new communications and information technologies to disseminate information. (Bochniak and Torres, 2003)

    The methods used by current e-learning programs rely very little on interactivity. In this form of transmissive pedagogy, the student “receives” the content by means of a continuous monologue in which he does not participate, which gives him little opportunity to express himself and which he can neither modify nor even criticize. Dialogue and group communication, together with interaction, are highly valued in current educational thinking, although little used. Interactive exchanges between learners form the basis of methods currently advocated because they promote meaningful learning. Such learning only takes place when the student participates actively in the process of building his own knowledge (Henri, 1992).

    Even institutions which develop distance-learning programmes based on the use of new technologies in an integrated-media model still face challenges related to the virtualization of teaching.

    Faced with this new knowledge society and with so many socioeconomic and technological pressures arising from a globalised world, methodological solutions need to be reviewed. At such a unique conjuncture, with unprecedented resources, the opportunity of making learning situations more flexible and of advancing, enriching and socializing them must not be missed.

    Educators are seeking new methodologies to respond to the demand for personal education and knowledge acquisition and production.

    A study by Laister & Kober (2008) identified a number of reasons for the success of Collaborative Learning (CL) as a teaching approach. Of these reasons, the following stand out:

    • the effectiveness of both short-term learning, in terms of the subject / material being studied, and long-term learning, in terms of cognitive skills and self-esteem (both considered by many theoreticians as necessary conditions for the development of both independence and skills needed for long-term learning).
    • when Collaborative Learning is compared with individual and competitive learning scenarios, it can be seen to help students perform better by increasing their ability to resolve problems and helping develop personality traits that will be of benefit to them in both their academic and professional lives.
    • Collaborative Learning empowers the individual and gives him/her the skills to live a more independent, collaborative and pleasant life.

    Collaborative Learning thus offers the possibility of methodological innovation, as it is “based on the notion that knowledge construction is basically a social event, and adequate collaboration is particularly important for learning complex knowledge and higher order cognitive skills.” (Lehtinen et al., 2001, p. 24).

    Therefore, it seems clear to us that Collaborative Learning meets the demands of the knowledge and information society, in which the ‘information explosion’ and the demands for greater and more varied supply make it necessary to convert new knowledge produced by science and technology into educational resources and content as a matter of urgency.

    The technological advances that have taken place in this new knowledge society have made it much easier both to access and to disseminate this knowledge. Nevertheless, in spite of the extraordinary advances in communications and in all areas of knowledge, the enormous amount of information available has given rise to concerns and worries among teachers the world over regarding how to understand and learn about the information that is being disseminated and use it to construct knowledge.

    Many institutions and organisations, which also face the same pedagogical challenges and seek ever-greater educational excellence and quality, believe they have found a technique that may help them in their search: the construction of concept maps.

    A concept map is a graphical representation of concepts and propositions. For Boxtel, it “represents the main concepts and relationships within a domain. It is a network in which the nodes represent concepts, the lines linking the nodes represent relationships, and the labels on the lines represent the nature of the relationships.” (2002)

    Concept mapping is a powerful learning and teaching technique. Based on Meaningful Learning, one of Ausubel’s most important principle in his theory of Cognitive Learning (Caòas and Novak, 2008), learners learn meaningfully by anchoring new concepts and propositions to ones they already know.

    In the light of the above and considering our experience in the development, research and evaluation of methodologies that encompass the latest educational trends, we felt that a publication aimed at educators which relates the innovative Collaborative Learning methodology to the technique for constructing Concept Maps would be of great benefit and relevance.

    Therefore, in the first two chapters in section 1, we present the methodologies involving the use of concept mapping and collaborative learning developed by Torres (2002) in her Doctoral research and by Marriott (2004) in her Masters research which inspired the production of this handbook.

    The subsequent chapters and sections interweave theory and practice. They focus on authors’ innovative experiences in the face-to-face, blended and distance learning modes of delivery, at four educational levels, namely pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education, reporting on the complex challenges and demands of education in the digital age.

    Thus the Handbook of Research on Collaborative Learning using Concept Mapping can easily meet the aims it set out for. How? With accounts that skillfully blend theory with practice and which allow for the adaptation of the methodologies utilized into other knowledge domains.

      Patricia Lupion Torres
      Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil

      Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott
      University of Birmingham, UK