Feasible ways to Personal Meaning Mapping in out-of-school contexts?

Morten Raahauge Philipps, Bjørn Friis Johannsen, Thomas Dyreborg Andersen, Henrik Levinsen, Kristian Kildemoes Foss

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Though most teachers find formal learning activities an important part of a class visit to a science center, research shows that formal learning is seldom the outcome. Instead, school visits tend to become "soda visits" without preparation and learning goals, and are rarely with explicit connection to the subjects taught back in school. To accommodate these challenges at the science center Experimentarium, a partnership with University College Copenhagen was initiated in 2017. In collaboration, ten Flipped Learning based teaching materials were developed to assist visiting teachers in supporting students’ learning - before, during, and after the visit. To evaluate this intervention, a tool was developed to assess students’ learning outcomes using Personal Meaning Mapping (Falk, Moussouri and Coulson, 1998). This paper investigates and discusses this tool as an effective means for measuring ‘actual learning’ (Bundsgaard and Hansen, 2011) in contexts involving interventions aimed to integrate out-of-school visits with in-school activities. Specifically, a pre- and post-test setup was conducted in order to measure development in students conceptual understanding. Data from students’ Personal Meaning Maps were analysed quantitatively using four defined dimensions for coding: extent, breadth, depth, and mastery. The empirical data were collected from 26 students in the same class, of which 12 provided full data sets. Two central results are presented 1) the data shows development in students learning when engaging in the learning material 2) extent and breadth seem to be able to predict depth and mastery, opening up for adjustments to research method. While Personal Meaning Mapping is rather resource-intensive, and although some of these learning outcomes will remain hidden using this method, we still find it a useful and powerful tool for gaining nuanced insights into the development of students’ conceptual understanding. In conclusion, we offer some suggested modifications to the method to make it more feasible to integrate in out-of-school contexts focussing on formal learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on E_Learning : Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark. 7-8 November 2019
EditorsRikke Ørngreen, Mie Buhl, Bente Meyer
Number of pages10
Publication date7 Nov 2019
ISBN (Print)9781912764426
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019
EventEuropean Conference on e-Learning - Aalborg Universitet, København, Denmark
Duration: 7 Nov 20198 Nov 2019
Conference number: 18th


ConferenceEuropean Conference on e-Learning
LocationAalborg Universitet
Internet address


  • method
  • theory-practice
  • blended learning

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