Using Cognitive Maps of Mental Models to Evaluate Learning Challenges: A Case Study


Mental models are organized knowledge structures that individuals form to make sense of the world around them. Cognitive maps are the externalized portrayals of mental models in graphical format. Mental models and cognitive maps have been used as an instructional design method, an assessment tool, and a learning strategy in college education. In this paper, we propose a novel use of mental models and cognitive maps as a device to elicit students' challenges in learning course materials. Our case study in an Information Systems class illustrates how cognitive maps are constructed from students' mental models, how learning challenges are identified from cognitive maps, and how learning challenges can be coped with in teaching. Our proposed use of cognitive maps and mental models can provide educators with insights into the learning challenges from students' perspectives, and help design instructional strategies for more effective teaching.

Meeting Name

23rd Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2017 (2017: Aug. 10-12 , Boston, MA)


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Education computing; Information systems; Information use; Students; Teaching; Cognitive maps; Concept mapping; Learning; Learning Challenges; Mental models; Cognitive systems

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS) / Association for Information Systems (AIS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2017