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  • Topic: Concept map, Concept, Mind map
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  • Published : January 23, 2013
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Split, Pick, and Link (SPL): Creative way to introduce concept mapping Noemi de Castro Cabrera, MSN, RN, PCCN, CCRN
University of Cincinnati

Split, Pick, and Link (SPL): Creative way to introduce concept mapping Background
Nursing education has been using concept maps as teaching methodology to facilitate critical thinking in nursing students. Several research studies have shown that concept mapping facilitate students ability to recall, synthesize information, and to think critically thus promoting meaningful learning (Caputi and Blach, 2008). However, most of the novice nursing students are not familiar with concept mapping leading to anxiety and negative feelings about the use of this as a learning tool. Eppler (2006) stated that students often get overwhelmed and less motivated with designing concept maps because of its complexity. Findings reveal that nursing educators should develop and evaluate educational strategies that will equip nurses the essential critical thinking abilities which will promote decision making and improved patient care outcomes (Wilgis & McConnell, 2008). It is equally important for a nursing faculty to understand that students need a certain level of understanding and idea on how to formulate their own concept maps to promote teaching and learning. Students find it difficult to adjust in an environment wherein they are held responsible for their own learning (Ewan and White, 1996). Since concept mapping is a kind of learning tool, which is quite different from the previous experience, it is not enough for the nursing faculty to provide students guidelines, examples and live demonstration on constructing a concept map. The author believes it is crucial for the faculty to properly design an innovative educational tool to introduce concept mapping to students to avoid resistance. Educators should find educational strategies appropriate to the learning needs of a novice and advance beginner nursing students to facilitate meaningful learning (Benner, 1984). Guided by Benner’s Novice to Expert theory, the author developed a teaching/learning activity called “Split, Pick and Link (SPL)” to address these concerns. The activity aims to help student learn concept mapping in a fun and simple way by using a small group and putting pieces of information together by step-by-step process called SPL. Key words: Concept mapping, nursing students, learning resistance, meaningful learning, innovative teaching /learning strategies, groups, novice Purpose

The article will highlight SPL, a teaching strategy which can be adopted by nursing faculty and educators to introduce concept mapping to students in a less overwhelming process. It is the goal of the author that the effective and efficient implementation of this strategy will facilitate the achievement of a learning environment that will facilitate the generation of ideas for creating and experimenting with concept maps as meaningful learning tools. The concept behind SPL was driven by Benner’s Novice to Expert theory and previous teaching /learning studies and research. Likewise, the SPL approach was derived from the learning theory of andragogy which emphasized that teachers should act as a facilitator of learning instead of transmitters of information to enhance student meaningful learning experience. Teachers must energize the learners by encouraging them to be self-directed (Wang, 2012). The Ausubel’s Assimilation theory states that for a meaningful learning to occur, students must be actively engaged in the whole process, understand the material being presented, and are able to make connections between new and previous knowledge (Ausubel, Novak, & Hanesian, 1978). SPL has been utilized by the author in all the classes she taught in undergraduate BSN program; however a need for a formal study to generate evidence to support and evaluate its benefits and effectiveness is still needed to be done. Currently, measurement of SPL...
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