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The Effects of Knowledge Maps on Acquisition and Retention of Visual Arts Concepts in Teacher Education

DOI: 10.1155/2014/902810

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This study examined the use of knowledge maps as a tool for teacher education students to increase knowledge acquisition and retention of concepts related to the visual arts design elements: line, color, and shape. Participants were randomly assigned to either the no map or knowledge map group. Three instruments—Student Autobiography, Elements of Design Tests (EDT), and Knowledge Map Questionnaire—were used to collect data. Results revealed significantly higher means on the immediately administered posttest for the elements line and color and the delayed posttest for line map group. Questionnaire responses indicated positive attitudes toward knowledge map use as a study strategy. Specifically, endorsement was reported toward maps’ clarity, effectiveness for learning concepts, and enjoyment of use. 1. Introduction Recent years have seen the adoption of a standards-based approach to education within the United States [1, 2] and abroad [3]. “As the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was used to stimulate the economy, the Obama Administration employed the Race to the Top fund to encourage states to apply for grants to pursue reforms by adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and compete in the global economy….” [4, p. 92]. Within the current sociopolitical climate of standards-based education reform, the escalating emphasis for learning outcomes and meeting standards in an increasingly information overloaded context is not likely to diminish. From kindergarten to higher education, increasing amounts of time and resources are being committed to assessment and documentation of outcomes that meet local, state, and national criteria or standards. As educators and students strive to facilitate and utilize efficient and effective teaching and learning strategies in an increasingly outcomes-accountable environment, they are also discovering that, in the realm of overwhelming information access, the current methods used to create meaning may need to be reexamined. The variety and fluidity of contexts in which teachers and learners operate necessitate solid subject matter knowledge as well as vast pedagogical knowledge; educators, like learners, must also make connections between ideas and integrate their knowledge in order to achieve meaningful learning [5]. Bransford et al. [6] asserted that “there is no universal best teaching practice,” (page 22) since teaching strategies are mediated by numerous variables including the learner, course, subject matter, and desired outcome. Yet according to

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