Journal article Open Access
This meta-analysis reviews experimental and quasi-experimental studies in which students learned by constructing, modifying, or viewing node-link diagrams. Following an exhaustive search for studies meeting specified design criteria, 67 standardized mean difference effect sizes were extracted from 55 studies involving 5,818 participants. Students at levels ranging from Grade 4 to postsecondary school used concept maps to learn in domains such as science, psychology, statistics, and nursing. Posttests measured recall and transfer. Across several instructional conditions, settings, and methodological features, the use of concept maps was associated with increased knowledge retention. Mean effect sizes varied from small to large depending on how concept maps were used and on the type of comparison treatment. Significant heterogeneity was found in most subsets.