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Free Content The Use and Perceptions of Concept Mapping as a Learning Tool by Dietetic Internship Students and Preceptors

Critical thinking and problem solving skills are currently emphasis areas in the education of allied health professionals. Use of concept maps to teach these skills have been utilized primarily in nursing and medical education, but little has been published about their use in dietetics education. Therefore the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential efficacy of concept mapping as a learning tool for nutrition assessment among dietetic interns and its acceptability by internship preceptors. Nineteen dietetic interns and 31 preceptors participated in a quasi-experimental pre-/post-design in which the concept mapping strategy was taught as a replacement for the traditional nutrition care plan. The pre-concept map mean score was significantly lower than the post-concept mean score (28.35 vs. 117.96; p=0.001) based on the Student t-test, thus indicating improved critical thinking skills as evidenced through concept mapping. Overall students' perceptions of concept mapping as a teaching-learning method were more positive than the preceptors' perceptions. In conclusion, internship preceptors and dietetic interns perceived concept mapping as effective in assisting interns to engage in critical thinking, to problem solve, and understand relationships among medical nutrition therapy concepts. However, preceptors had more negative attitudes toward concept mapping than the dietetic interns related to time and effort to complete and evaluate the concept map.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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