Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), Vol 7, No 1 (2015)

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Concept maps which visualise the artifice of teaching sequence: Cognition, linguistic and problem-based views on a common teaching problem

David B. Hay, Martina Proctor


This paper is concerned with the ways in which undergraduates are first introduced to Law of Contract in a University Law School. Concept mapping is used to document students’ changing understanding in the course of one first year undergraduate module. Forty seven students (the members of four tutorial groups) made concept maps of “Law of Contract” at the start and at the finish of a twenty-four week study-programme and their maps were compared with two other concept maps made by their lecturer: 1) a map of the teaching sequence; 2) a map of the practices of Law of Contract. The analysis shows how the teaching sequence inscribes itself upon the students’ concept mapping structures even while this temporal pattern has little (or no) genuine accord with the knowledge-shape of legal analysis. The paper explores two different approaches to concept map analysis: First the more traditional perspective of cognition (and cognitive-structure); second the “linguistic-turn”. Both of these highlight the “artifice of teaching sequence” but they locate this problem in different arenas. While the cognitive approach suggests that the problem is a general issue of student learning quality, the linguistic approach is more specific, suggesting that the problem is confined to the lesson planning which does not actually involve the students. This paper also concludes that while concept mapping shows the acquisition of a new vocabulary of legal concepts, the method itself is rather less useful for showing whether or not students are developing the skills of making judgement.

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Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904


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Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong