Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.2, 110-116
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciR e s .
Developing Concrete Research Proposals and Facilitating
Self-Directed Learning via Concept Mapping
Keetam D. F. Alkahtani
Department of Special Education, College of Education, King Saud University, R iyadh, KSA
Received November 8th, 2012; revised December 10th, 2012; accepted December 24th, 2012
Self-direction in learning and writing viable research proposals are considered by higher education insti-
tutions as essential skills for graduate students to start their careers as researchers. This is an evi-
dence-based practice study focuses on the use of concept mapping to facilitate self-directed learning and
enhance research proposal writing in teacher education. An action mixed methods research design was
used in this study with quantitative and qualitative data. Participants were 29 graduate students who were
enrolled in a core course aimed to provide learners with an in-depth understanding of research methods.
All students, at the beginning of the course, were asked to write a research proposal and complete the
Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS). They then were given training in the use of concept
mapping technique throughout the course to develop research proposals. Students’ scores prior to and af-
ter the intervention were compared. Results indicate that students developed significantly more concrete
research proposals, and displayed higher scores at post-intervention assessment. Findings of this study
value and support the use of concept mapping to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of
the knowledge of their area of study as they reflect on every element of their proposals.
Keywords: Concept Mapping; Meaningful Learning; Self-Directed Learning; Research Proposals; Action
Research; Higher Education
Conceptual Framework
We usually are unaware of our beliefs, values, and assump-
tions about how knowledge is created. Objectivity cannot be
isolated from subjectivity, and the connection between them
constructs our knowledge. Thus, we learn through collective
reflection and action (Gee, 2005; Novak, 1998; Roberts & Dick,
2003). Authority gaps between educators and students might
lead students to undervalue their own knowledge and abilities.
Narrowing gaps in authority elevate the worth of students’ in-
vestigative skills, practical and experiential knowledge. This
assumption is in line with action research philosophy which
views the research as shared ownership and the researcher, or
research team, should not work for or about the participants, but
rather with them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). Participants, there-
fore, co-construct knowledge through shared experience and
reflection (Roberts & Dick, 2003). I view action research,
which is the method that I adopted for this study, as a process
that pay attention to issues of experiential knowledge and em-
powering participants to change some part of their circum-
stances or experiences for the better. Eventually, as a teacher-
action researcher, this will led me to better understand and im-
prove my practice. It will also empower my students to exam-
ine their knowledge and gain a sense of their own understand-
ing and needs as they learn. Critical constructivist paradigm is
the philosophy that I have adopted in this research. This para-
digm theorizes that all knowledge is socially constructed and
our knowledge is co-constructed by our understanding and
experiences with the social world. Thus, there is neither one
truth, nor one knowledge (Bergman, 2008; Carr & Kemmis,
1983; Charmaz, 2006). The idea of multiple realities, truths and
ways of knowing was a key in the development of this research.
Research Purpose
Teaching a course of research design is challenging. Most of
my students, even when they have the ability to write a good
course paper, they lack the ability of writing a clear, structured,
articulate and persuasive proposal. Writing a viable research
proposal requires knowledge, wisdom, and reflective thinking.
The state of my students’ learning is best described in one of
Eliot’s most famous quotes “Where is the life we have lost in
living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” The
quote portrays the relationship between life, wisdom, knowl-
edge, and information. This relation is the origin of the data-
information-knowledge-wisdom hierarchy (also known as the
DIKW pyramid). According to the DIKW sequence informa-
tion is build from data. Yet, information is not a collection of
data. Attributing meaning to data within context will be crucial
to translate data to information. Understanding of the relations
between data provides the foundation of information needed to
answer who, what, where, and when questions. Knowledge is
constructed from information, but it is not a collection of in-
formation. Relations between information can be stated in pat-
terns which have the potential to represent knowledge. Under-
standing of the relations between patterns is fundamental to
understand those patterns and generate knowledge that can be
used for answering how questions. Wisdom arises from knowl-
edge, but it is something much more than a collection of
knowledge. Understanding of the founding principles for the
patterns is a vital step towards achieving wisdom that will serve
in answering why questions (Ackoff, 1989; Bellinger, 2004;
Rowley, 2007; Zins, 2007). Meaningful knowledge is required
to evaluate understanding and grasp the truth which is the value
we extract from wisdom. Meaningful knowledge can be ob-
tained via meaningful learning (Novak, 1998). In this action
research, I utilize self-directed learning (SDL) and conceptual
approach in conjunction with concept maps to endorse mean-
ingful learning. Promoting the development of meaningful
learning is crucial to enjoy and understand research process.
Meaningful learning might lead my students to a deeper under-
standing and possibility of benefit from the experience of doing
research. As my students are beginning their journey into the
research arena, self-directedness in learning and knowing more
about their own knowledge construction process can have a
major impact on their ability and skills as researchers. The
purpose of this research is to promote dialogue among graduate
faculty to better understand the problems graduate students
have with writing viable research proposals, and to investigate
some practical solutions. The overarching research question
used to frame this action research was: Do using concept map-
ping promote self-directed learning (measured by Self-Directed
Learning Readiness Scale, Guglielmino and Associates, 2004)
and influence the production of a viable research proposal?
Self-Directed Learning
In learning, self-direction has two aspects. The first is as a
goal of education. Individuals are not equally self-directed.
Educational practice should be designed to develop or enhance
the learner’s ability to be self-directed. Developing self-direc-
tion is essential for success in understanding one’s own learn-
ing needs, as well as identifying goals for the learning and the
proper resources needed to accomplish these goals (Candy,
1991). Therefore, individual’s ability to be self-directed assists
in the natural progression of learning as lifelong quest for
knowledge which is a highly desirable goal of education.
The second aspect of self direction is as method of learning.
In this method of learning, the learner willingly teaks higher
levels of responsibility and control over her own learning ex-
perience and eventually will arrive at a point where her learning
is completely independent (Candy, 1991; Knowles, 1975).
There are three basic models of how to develop self direction as
method of learning: linear, interactive, and instructional. The
linear model (Knowles, 1975) is very linear in nature and in-
volves steps in a linear process. The teacher must let the learner
assume most of the responsibility for planning and completing
the learning task and learn at her own pace (Knowles, 1975).
The interactive model (Garrison, 1997) is based on the premise
that the natural state of learning is through inquiry and does not
always follow a set pattern. The teacher provides guidance with
locating or organizing resources and assessing learning. How-
ever, the achievement of specific goals by planning, imple-
menting, completing, and evaluating the learning task is the
learner’s primary responsibility (Garrison, 1997). The instruc-
tional model (Grow, 1991) consists of instructional methods
and assignments which can be incorporated into the learning
environment to aid the learner in becoming more self-directed.
Learners, according to this model, can be identified as: De-
pendent learners (play a very passive role in their learning, and
fully dependent on the teacher), Learners of moderate self-
direction (willing to take part in their learning), Learners of
intermediate self-direction (have the ability to perceive them-
selves as active participants in the process of their learning),
and learners of high self-direction (have the ability, with little
or no help from a facilitator, of planning, carrying out, and
evaluating their own learning) (Grow, 1991). In these three
models, regardless of their structure, the major goal is to aid
learners in becoming more self-directed and the role of the
teacher is a facilitator of the learner’s learning experience.
Building on the promising practices of the literature, my pri-
mary role as a teacher-action researcher was providing my stu-
dents with the skills necessary to plan, implement, and assess
their own learning.
Meaningful Learning and Concept Mapping
Ausubel’s assimilation theory focused on the process through
which humans acquire knowledge. The main notion of this
theory is centers on representing learning as either rote learning
by memorization or meaningful learning by “choosing to relate
new knowledge to relevant concepts and propositions” (Ausu-
bel, 1968: p. 7). Ausubel premise is that the individuals’ prior
knowledge is highly important to their ability to assimilate new
information and learning in a meaningful context to gain a
deeper, most lasting and more complex understanding. He
stated, “the most important single factor influencing learning is
what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him
accordingly” (1968: p. iii). Ausubel’s view backed by construc-
tivism which is a theory had its beginnings with learning ideas
from John Dewey who draw attention to the use by learners of
their individual experiences to make sense of novel information
they were exposed to and also the benefits of social interaction
for the learner. The work of Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, and
Lev Vygotsky have influenced constructivism as a learning
theory that could be used to develop new cognitive structures
that are more sophisticated and allow learners to increasingly
organize new knowledge (Lambert et al., 2002). From a con-
structivist point of view, prior knowledge influenced what new
ideas learners would be able to grasp and how they would in-
terpret that new information. Therefore a person’s conceptuali-
zation of new knowledge is individual because of the prior
experiences and memories she had, including emotions and
feelings associated with the experiences. Concept mapping,
within this framework, is an effective teaching and learning
strategy to assimilate the previous knowledge with newly in-
troduced concept and therein derive meaningful learning. In the
early 1970s Joseph Novak and his colleagues at Cornell Uni-
versity presented concept mapping as a tool to represent know-
ledge structures. Novak, building on Ausubel’s assimilation
theory, created concept mapping as visual representations of
concepts and the meaningful relationships that exist among or
between related concepts in the form of propositions. Thus, a
concept map is a form of knowledge representation and will
reflect the learner’s knowledge structure in a given topic, sub-
ject, domain or area under discussion and search (Novak, 1977).
The phrase concept maps has been used interchangeably with
mind maps and knowledge maps. However, Cañas and col-
leagues distinguished concept maps from other mapping sys-
tems by their theoretical basis in Ausubel’s assimilation learn-
ing theory and constructivist epistemology, their semi-hierar-
chical organization, the use of unconstrained and meaningful
linking phrases, and the way concepts are defined (Cañas et al.,
2003: p. 13). Given that a concept map is a two-dimensional
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 111
diagram that displays relationships between concepts through
using linking words, hierarchically structured with progressive
differentiation, from general to specific. When these relation-
ships are made, learners can draw on what they know and re-
shape it in new and meaningful ways. Therefore, concept map-
ping which “developed specifically to tap into a learner’s cog-
nitive structure” is effective metacognitive mechanism that
increases learner knowledge of a particular topic (Novak &
Gowin, 1984: p. 40). Seeing that the literature stresses the im-
portance of the conceptual mapping, I designed my courses to
introduce students to this method of organizing and forming
information into meaningful learning.
A total of twenty-nine graduate students who were enrolled
in a core course titled Research Design and Its Application in
Special Education (SPED 520). Fifteen students were enrolled
in the first semester and fourteen were enrolled in the second
semester of the academic year 2011-2012.
Integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches (mix-
ed-methods) in a participatory action research (PAR) with pre
and post-evaluations.
Data Collection
The quantitative data consisted of three parts: 1) students’
results at the Assessment Rubric for Research Proposal (ARRP);
2) students’ scores on Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale
(SDLRS); and 3) students’ responses to anonymous 29-item
course and faculty evaluation survey that used a 5-point Likert
rating scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The
qualitative data included analyses of students’ concept maps,
and semi-structured individual and focus groups interviews.
This action research is as much about process as it is about
product. The process of this study is relatively simple and con-
sisted of the Plan-Act-Observe-Reflect research cycle (Creswell,
2008; Mertler, 2006; Taylor et al., 2008). Students were
co-researchers who actively involved in generating and collect-
ing information (Mordock & Krasny, 2001). Evidence for the
problem was gathered from group discussions and results of
ARRP and SDLRS. Results of the pre-assessment were consid-
ered the baseline data and also used to shape the plan of action.
The plan of action is to promote self-direction in learning by
employing strategies which aid learners in learning how to
learn and think for themselves. I utilized concept mapping
strategy as it is aim is aiding learners during their learning
process. Essential elements of implementing the plan were
weekly reflection, focus groups interviews, constructing con-
cept maps, and tracing the progress of the research proposals of
the student. At the end of the course, final research proposals
were assessed using the ARRP. Students were asked to com-
plete the SDLRS and the SPED 520 course and faculty evalua-
tion survey.
Implementation of my action plan requires learners to be
cognizant of the concept mapping process. Therefore, to ensure
familiarity with concept mapping, all students participating in
this study were introduced to this technique by receiving in-
struction on how to develop a concept map in a two-hours ses-
sion. This training was presented, in the second session of the
course, based on Novak and Gowin’s recommended strategy of
teaching concept mapping construction to learners (Novak &
Gowin, 1984: pp. 32-34; Novak, 1998: p. 227). Training mate-
rial consisted of two sections. The first section included a con-
ceptual framework and illustration of concept mapping tech-
nique and instructions on how to create a concept map. The
second section included an article of the students’ own choice
so the students use it to create a concept map. The article se-
lected by the students to reduce unnecessary cognitive overload
caused by unfamiliar content. This allowed them to focus on
concept mapping practice itself. I, at the end of the training
session, asked the students to generate concept maps for their
research proposals. These maps were used throughout the
course to develop research proposals. Concept maps should be
extensions of the learner’s natural cognitive chunking and link-
ing, therefore I asked my students to revise and reflect on their
maps weekly. I was aware of the fact that with no controls on
the students this would be “soft” data, but I believe that the
personal nature of the concept mapping manifested itself by
establishing consistent differences between learners. I also be-
lieve that comparing students to another on the basis of their
concept maps would not be fruitful as I was not looking for one
pattern among learners but rather for consistent pattern exhib-
ited by an individual.
As the idiosyncratic nature of self-directed learning is pre-
served by allowing learners to pursue their own paths, I wanted
my students to have enough freedom to apply their concept
maps in whatever way they will find helpful and fit their needs.
I informed my students that the strength of their concept map is
what the map meant to them, not what someone else understood
from it. I also advised them not to compare their concept maps
to anyone else’s, but rather use these maps to their advantage
by linking new information, from the course lectures and read-
ing assignments, with their previous knowledge. I asked my
students to hand in a copy of their concept map in progress
before each lecture. By the end of the course, I collected thir-
teen concept maps from each student, the first and last maps
were considered as the pre and post-intervention concept maps.
Credibility (validity and reliability) of knowledge acquired
from an action research is immediately recognized as workable
and effective in solving problems or developing practice by
those in similar situations (Somekh, 2006). Enhancing the
credibility of action research can be acquired by using data-
triangulation (Creswell, 2008; Mertler, 2006; Taylor et al., 2008;
Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). In this study triangulation of data
sources include quantitative data (students’ scores on ARRP
and SDLRS, students’ responses to course and faculty evalua-
tion survey) and qualitative data (multiple interviews, analyses
of students’ concept maps).
Results and Discussion
Data from both the first and the second semesters were
merged to represent an accurate representation of SPED 520
Copyright © 2013 SciR es .
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 113
praxis. Quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical
Package for the Social Science s, SPSS-20. The paired-sample t
test was used to quantify the effect of the concept mapping
strategy on students’ production of viable research proposals as
measured by ARRP. The mean of the pre-intervention scores
were compared with the mean of the post-intervention scores.
The results indicated that the two scores were significantly
different (t = 53.219, p = 0.000) suggesting that students dis-
played significantly higher post-intervention scores at the 0.01
level compared to their pre-intervention scores on ARRP. Ef-
fect sizes was (9.88) by Cohen’s d and (0.99) by effect-size r
for paired data. Both are large effect sizes. Results of the analy-
sis are summarized in Table 1 and Figure 1.
To verify if there was a difference between the pre-interven-
tion and the post-intervention scores on the SDLS the paired-
sample t test was used. The mean of the pre- and post-interven-
tion scores were compared. The results revealed that the two
scores were significantly different (t = 2.626, p = 0.014) which
signify that the students demonstrated significantly higher
post-intervention scores at the 0.05 level compared to their
pre-intervention scores on SDLR. Effect sizes was (0.5) by
Cohen’s d and (0.18) by effect-size r for paired data. Both are
medium effect sizes. Results of the analysis are presented in
Table 2 and Figure 2.
Pearson’s correlation coefficient was conducted to evaluate
the relationship between students’ level of self-direction in
learning and their ability of writing viable research proposals. A
strong positive correlation was found between students’ scores
on the SDLS and their scores in the ARRP, for the pre-inter-
vention’ scores was (r = 0.692, p < 0.0001) and for the post-
intervention’ scores was (r = 0.670, p < 0.0001). This correla-
tion shows a significant relationship at the 0.01 level between
the students’ scores on the SDLS and ARRP in both the pre-
and post-intervention. Table 3 and Figure 3 present this re-
Of the 29 participants, 27 completed the anonymous stan-
dardized university evaluation survey. This course and faculty
evaluation survey compare faculty performance with the aver-
age of other faculty members in the department, college, and
university. Analysis of the group mean score revealed that
SPED 520 course rating were higher than classes throughout
the department, college, and university. Group means are
shown in Table 4 and Figure 4.
It was not possible to correlate course evaluation scores with
ARRP and SDLRS scores, as the results were obtained without
Qualitative data were analyzed to provide additional insight
into the quantitative results. Following the individual and focus
groups interviews the qualitative data was coded based on the-
matic analysis. Themes emerged were: 1) self concept as
learner; 2) motivation for learning; and 3) using concept map-
ping for writing.
The first theme, self concept as learner, looks at participants’
perception of themselves as learners. At the beginning of the
course, students indicated that they mainly prefer teacher-cen-
tered learning approach. This was signified by their responses
to the question “How would you describe yourself as a
learner?” One student stated that “I understand that there are so
many innovative ways to learn but I prefer a lecture where the
teacher is the most active person and answers my questions
immediately. I prefer learning this way because my whole life
I’ve been taught to think that way.” Responses from the
post-intervention interviews suggest that concept mapping in-
creased students awareness and reinforced their views of their
personal identity as active learners. One student stated that
“using concept mapping made me more aware of how I can
intentionally make my learning more effective. I value the use
of concept mapping and how it can make such a difference in
my future education”.
The second theme, motivation for learning, concerns about
participants’ perspective of their motivation. The responses
received in pre and post-intervention interviews did differ. The
majority of respondents, at the pre-intervention interviews,
reveal external motivation for learning (e.g., achieving good
grades, social status) as evidenced by their responses to the
question “What motivates you to learn?” One student indicated
that “Having very good grades in classes and a high GPA, I
want to further my studies to doctoral degree. Having a PhD
will increase my career options and raise my social status” Re-
sponses from the post-intervention interviews suggest that stu-
dents become more motivated internally as they implemented
concept mapping in their learning. One student indicated that “I
Table 1.
Comparison betwee n the pre and post-intervention scores on the ARRP.
Variable MeasureNMean SD t-value dfp-value
Pre-test2926.48 7.03
ARRP ScoresPost-test2981.03 8.06 53.219 280.000
scor es
Students ARRPPre
Figure 1.
Comparison of participants’ pre- and post-scores on ARRP.
found using concept mapping to be very challenging and re-
warding at the same time. I enjoy reading more and how I put
my opinions across while creating concept maps that really
make reading and learning meaningful”.
The third theme, using concept mapping for writing, is based
on the claim that concept mapping might aid the writing proc-
ess. In response to the question “Did the concept mapping aid
you in writing your proposal?” the students stated that concept
mapping helped them to organize their knowledge and writing.
The following quote is representative of the comments made by
students who stated they benefit from concept mapping: “Map-
ping concepts from different reading materials helped me to
make sense out of literature and to identify the major themes to
be covered in my proposal. I also believe that concept mapping
helped me in studying different opinions and ideas which situ-
ate my research questions and design within the literature I
reviewed”. The least enthusiastic support for using concept map-
ping by the students, who were struggling with the mapping
Table 2.
Comparison betwee n the pre and post-intervention scores on the SDLS.
Variable MeasureNMean SD t-value dfp-value
Pre-test29212.4 13.78
DLS scoresPost-test29213.0 13.58 2.626 280.014
Table 3.
Comparison between the pre and post-intervention scores on the SDLS
and APRP.
Measure VariableNMean SD r-value p-value
ARRP 2926.48 7.033
Pre-scores SDLS 29212.4 13.78 0.692 0.000
ARRP 2981.03 8.059
Post-scores SDLS 29213.3 13.58
Score s
Students DSLSPre
Figure 2.
Comparison of participants’ pre- and post-intervention scores on DSLS.
01 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Figure 3.
Correlation between students’ scores on the SDLS and ARRP in the pre- and post-intervention.
Copyright © 2013 SciR es .
procedure, was reflected in the statement “Not really, although
concept mapping helped me to identify concepts they should
link with others, but it was difficult to find the right word to
link the different concepts. Instead of understanding the mate-
rial, I was focusing on finding linking words that made sense to
the concepts. I believe that concept mapping helped me in
finding key ideas for writing my proposal, but I need to have an
expert opinion and support during the writing process of my
Pre and post-intervention concept maps were compared in a
qualitative manner. Evaluation of concept maps was based on
several characteristics including number of nodes, propositions,
cross-links, structure classification, and overall perceptions.
Data from analyzing the post-intervention concept maps indi-
cate that there is an improvement in concept map quality over
time. This result is in line with previous research (e.g., Fisher et
al., 2000; Jacobs-Lawson & Hershey, 2002) showing that the
level of concept map’s complexity enhan c ed with practice.
I further wanted to understand how concept mapping influ-
ence students’ research proposal development and writing.
Therefore, using “soft” data measure classification, I classified
the students in groups based on their performance on the
post-concept map and the ARRP final scores. There were three
categories of students’ performance as follows: 1) students who
created rich maps and produced good proposals; 2) students
who created average maps and produced average proposals; and
3) students who created average maps and produced good pro-
posals. Results of the classifications are presented in Table 5.
The result regarding group C was not predicted, I was ex-
pecting that all the students who created rich maps will also
produced good proposals. I was wrong, there were five students
who performed well above average on the APRP but their maps
contain less information and detail than the maps of other stu-
dents who produced good proposals. One important question
came to my mind: How did my students decide the amount of
information to put in their maps? I, to find an answer to my
question, contacted three students and set up interviews with
them. The three students were not chosen randomly, they were
selected from each group. Students’ responses to my question
were interesting and crystallizing moment for me to understand
their maps. All the three students thought that their maps are
readable and useful as they tried to include all the information
that they think they will need. It is clear that my students did
what I have told them to do. They use their maps as highly
personal learning tools to understand, remember, or summarize
information. The student from group A (S. A.) said that “con-
cept mapping is a useful way to understand by tying together all
the new information with what I had learnt”. The student from
group B (N. A.) used concept mapping to summarize informa-
tion, she state “I primarily use concept mapping to summarize
information that I have gathered and is important for my sub-
ject”. The student from group C, which is the group I was
deeply concerned about, (B. H.) declared that concept mapping
had helped greatly in defining and writing her research proposal.
I placed her map on the table and asked how did this help? She
pointed at the map and said “those links and different layers let
me see the big picture and remember. It’s surprising how much
I forget. I think concept mapping is a good tool for reviewing
and remembering. My map only include the key concepts that I
need to remember the information”. I concluded from the stu-
dents’ comments about their maps that the strength of the con-
cept mapping is not only the amount of information (number of
nodes), but also how it sparks in the mind of the map creator.
There was no student who could created rich map and produced
average proposal which indicate the importance of concept
mapping in the process of creating a concrete research proposal.
Finally, I was pleased to find that 79% of the students had pro-
duced good proposals using concept mapping as a learning
In general, the post-intervention assessment data point to-
ward positive changes. All students developed significantly
Table 4.
Mean scores of course and faculty evaluation survey.
Classes Mean score
Classes throughout the University 3.83
Classes throughout the College of Education 3.97
Classes throughout the Departme n t of Special Education 3.91
SPED 520 Cl ass 4.36
3.83 3.97 3.91
UniversityCollegeDepartment SPED520
Figure 4.
Mean scores of course and faculty evaluation survey.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 115
Table 5.
Students’ classifications based on their performance on the post-con-
cept map and the ARRP final scores.
Examples of student perfo rmance
(post-interve nti on s c ore s)
Group No. of
students Student Post-map ARRP Students’ Comments
A 18 S. A. 88 95 Maps were used
to understand information.
B 6 N. A. 63 78 Maps were used
to remember information.
C 5 B. H. 65 96 Maps were use d to
summarize in f o rmation.
more concrete research proposals. They also created more
complex concept maps and their scores on SDLRS were in-
creased. Findings from analyzing qualitative data suggest that
using concept mapping assist and motivate students to generate
more concepts and assimilate the previous knowledge with
newly generated concepts. This conclusion backed by Novak
and Canas argument that “while at first glance concept maps
may appear to be just another graphic representation of infor-
mation, understanding the foundations for this tool and its
proper use will lead the user to see that this is truly a profound
and powerful tool” (2006: p. 31). I also believe that using con-
cept mapping develop tendencies for self-directed learning
among my students. However, results should be interpreted
with caution due to limitations pertaining to the design and
participants. Further research should be conducted to imple-
ment concept mapping in higher education as I believe this
approach aid learners and teachers in reshaping their knowledge
in progress and meaningful ways. Finally, not only the results,
but the whole experience I had during this study as a teacher-
action researcher has taught me to value meaningful education
I would like to thank the Deanship of Scientific Research at
King Saud University for supporting this research financially.
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