Concept Maps as a strategy to asses learning in biochemistry using educational softwares

A. M. P. Azevedo, G. B. Lazzarotto, V. R. Lando, M. I. Timm, M. A. Zaro


This abstract reports  the  use of concept  maps applied  to the evaluation of concepts  learned  through the use of an educational software to study  metabolic  pathways called Diagrama Metabolico Dinamico Virtual  do Ciclo de Krebs (DMDV).  Experience  with the use of this method  was carried  through  with two distinct groups  of students.  The  first  group  was composed  by 24 students (in  2003) who used DMDV during  the  classes (computer room).  The second group was formed by 36 students (in 2004) who could access DMDV software anytime  through  the intranet. The construction of the conceptual map by the student permits  the representation of knowledge, the mental  processes that were absorved and the adaptation during the study,  building new mental schemes that could be related to the concept of reflexioning  abstraction (Piaget, 1995) during  the  process of operation  with  these  concepts.   The evaluation of knowlegde was made by the analysis  of three conceptual  maps constructed by each one of them:   (a)  one map  before initiating the  study  with  DMDV,  (b)  the  second just  after  the  study and (c) the third  one two months  later.  We used the following criteria  for the analysis:  predominance of associative  over classificatory  character; correct concepts  and  relationships; coherence;  number  of relationships;  creativity and  logic.   The  initial  maps  showed  that all  students had  some  previous mental scheme  about  the proposed  concept.    All final  concept maps  showed  an  expansion  of the concepts  as compared  to the initial  maps, something  which can be seen even by a mere glance at the size of graphics.  A purely visual comparison  between the maps indicated  that new elements have been added.   The  associative  character has been shown to predominate as compared  to the  classificatory one.  The  results  obtained  suggest the  validity  of using concept  maps  as a strategy to  monitor  the cognitive process, both  by the teacher  and by the student him/herself.


DMDV, educational softwares.

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