• Study skill use, motivation and the efficacy of the "mind map" technique

      Hayes, Peter; Alexander, Roy; Shuttleworth, Joanne (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2005-06)
      The last decade has seen a considerable increase in the number of students entering Higher Education, coupled with this a lowering of entry requirements in terms of qualifications. This climate demands attention to study skill training, with particular emphasis on those students with problematic studying patterns (Entwistle et al, 1996). The present study was made up of two parts: the first part of the study used a questionnaire to investigate motivation and the frequency of use of study skills, the second part of the study involved an experiment to measure the efficacy of a study skill. The Study Skill Questionnaire was devised to examine differences according to gender, year of study, whether the students had taken a break in their study, degree type and main subject of study. The questionnaire also examined the relationship between academic motivation and study skill use. The results showed that in particular, mature students are considerably more motivated than their peers; however, they use the same techniques with the same frequency as their colleagues. The second part of the study continued to investigate a study skill's efficacy in an attempt to arm these motivated students with a superior learning technique. The mind map study skill was chosen for investigation. After some initial difficulty with task bias, the study showed that there was no significant difference between a self-selected technique (i.e. the study technique the student normally uses) and the mind map technique. Although this implies that the Mind Map Technique is not a superior study technique, other explanations may be possible. It could be that the technique cannot be mastered in a single session and that practice is required. It could be also possible that mind mapping only works for certain types of learners following the findings of Pask and Scott (1972; cited in Richardson, 1983). Future research could examine such possibilities.