Relationship between the mind map learning strategy and critical thinking in medical students

by D'Antoni, Anthony V., Ph.D., SETON HALL UNIVERSITY, 2009, 103 pages; 3386281


Background. One learning strategy underutilized in medical education is mind mapping. Mind maps are multi-sensory tools that may help students organize, integrate, and retain information. Recent work suggests that using mind mapping as a note-taking strategy facilitates critical thinking. The purposes of this study were to (1) investigate whether a relationship existed between mind mapping and critical thinking, as measured by the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT), (2) investigate whether a relationship existed between mind mapping and recall of domain-based information, and (3) assess student learning style with the Gregorc Style Delineator (GSD).

Methods. A sample of 131 first-year medical students was assigned to a standard note taking (SNT) group or mind map (MM) group. Subjects were administered a demographic survey, GSD, and pre-HSRT. They were then given an unfamiliar text passage, a pre-quiz based upon the passage, and a 30-minute break, during which time subjects in the MM group were given a presentation on mind mapping. After the break, subjects were given the same passage and wrote notes based on their group (SNT or MM) assignment. A post-quiz based upon the passage was administered, followed by a post-HSRT. Correlations were used to investigate whether any relationships existed between mind map depth, using a Mind Map Assessment System (MMAS), and critical thinking. Other correlations were used to investigate relationships between mind map depth, GSD learning style, and HSRT score.

Results. There were no significant differences in mean scores on both the pre-quizzes and post-quizzes between note-taking groups. No significant differences were found between pre- and post-HSRT mean total scores and subscores. The prevalence of dominant learning styles in all subjects regardless of note-taking group was: CS > AR > CR > AS. Interrater reliability of the MMAS was strong (ICC = .86).

Conclusion. Mind mapping was not found to increase short-term recall of domain-based information, or critical thinking, when compared to SNT. However, a brief introduction to mind mapping did allow novice MM subjects to perform similarly to subjects experienced with SNT. Future studies should be designed so that subjects gain proficiency in mind mapping prior to measuring critical thinking.

AdviserGenevieve Pinto Zipp
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducation Health Sciences
Publication Number3386281

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