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Promoting Conceptual Understanding in Engineering Statics Through the Use of Adaptive Concept Maps

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.998.1 - 23.998.13



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Paper Authors


Jacob P. Moore Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Jacob Moore is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech.

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Christopher B. Williams Virginia Tech

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Chris North Virginia Tech


Aditya Johri Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Johri is an assistant professor of Engineering Education, Computer Science (courtesy), and Industrial and Systems Engineering (courtesy) at Virginia Tech. He studies the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for learning and knowledge sharing, with a focus on cognition in informal environments. He also examined the role of ICT in supporting distributed work among globally dispersed workers and in furthering social development in emerging economies.

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PROMOTING CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING IN ENGINEERING STATICS THROUGH THE USE OF ADAPTIVE CONCEPT MAPS This paper discusses the continuing work on a two year NSF funded project to explore thefeasibility and effectiveness of a scalable concept map based navigation system for a digitaltextbook. This tool, termed the Adaptive Map, is designed to promote the conceptualunderstanding in students by using a concept map of an expert’s knowledge as an advanceorganizer. Because large concept maps become visually cluttered and are therefore less effectiveas learning tools, information visualization techniques have to be used to manage the cognitiveload imposed on the learner. The prototype tool contains content that would be similar to thematerial in a traditional statics textbook, but the information is accessed through this conceptmap based visualization tool that is the focus of the proposed project. The adaptive map tooloptimizes the concept map visual for the current content based on the user’s current focus, givingthem a context for detailed content information. Researchers are evaluating the tool’s effect on conceptual understanding and cognitive loadusing a quasi-experimental setup, comparing two similar classes where one section has beengiven access to the tool (experimental section) and one section has not been given access to thetool (control group). To measure the tool’s effect on conceptual understanding, researchers usedthe Statics Concept Inventory as a primary measure and multi-faceted problem solving activitiesas a secondary measure. To measure cognitive load, researchers used self-reported values ofmental effort during the problem solving sessions, which were designed to ensure that studentsneeded to look something up using the adaptive map or their regular textbook. Results andanalysis of the Adaptive Map evaluation to date are presented.

Moore, J. P., & Williams, C. B., & North, C., & Johri, A. (2013, June), Promoting Conceptual Understanding in Engineering Statics Through the Use of Adaptive Concept Maps Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22383

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