Empirical evidence of the effectiveness of concept mapping as a learning intervention for nuclear medicine technology students in a distance learning radiation protection and biology course

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Abstract

Metacognitive learning strategies are based on instructional learning theory, which promotes deep, meaningful learning. Educators in a baccalaureate-level nuclear medicine technology program demonstrated that students enrolled in an online, distance learning section of an introductory radiation protection and radiobiology course performed better when traditional instruction was supplemented with nontraditional metacognitive learning strategies. Methods: The metacognitive learning strategy that was used is best known as concept mapping. The concept map, in addition to the standard homework problem assignment and opportunity for question-answer sessions, became the template for misconception identification and remediation interactions between the instructor and the student. The control group relied on traditional homework problems and question-answer sessions alone. Because students in both the "treatment" groups (i.e., students who used concept mapping) and the control group were distance learning students, all personal communications were conducted via e-mail or telephone. The final examination of the course was used to facilitate a quantitative comparison of the performance of students who used concept mapping and the performance of students who did not use concept mapping. Results: The results demonstrated a significantly higher median final examination score for the concept mapping group than for the non-concept mapping group (z = -2.0381, P = 0.0415), with an appropriately large effect size (2.65). Conclusion: Concept mapping is a cognitive learning intervention that effectively enables meaningful learning and is suitable for use in the independent learner-oriented distance learning environments used by some nuclear medicine technology programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine Technology
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Concept map
  • Distance learning
  • Nuclear medicine technology
  • Online education
  • Radiation protection
  • Radiobiology instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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