Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 23, 2013

Learner-generated versus author-provided computer-based flow diagrams in medical education

Andrzej A. Kononowicz and Jakub Kenig


Graphic organizers are popular tools which support meaningful learning. The aim of this study was to compare the learning outcomes of two educational scenarios involving the use of learner-generated or author-provided flow diagrams. Thirty-six third to fifth year medical students worked in pairs in the ‘Bit Pathways’ computer-aided learning environment. The group using author-provided graphic organizers performed significantly better on a knowledge retention test 1 month after the learning activity, requiring less preparatory time than the group generating their own graphic organizers (Cohen’s d effect size=0.84, p=0.03). Students liked both learning activities; however, the preference for learning-by-viewing was clear. Students’ quality of flow diagrams were correlated positively with the outcomes of the knowledge post-test (Spearman’s R=0.75, p=0.03). The generally poor quality of learner-generated diagrams indicated that better guided instructional designs for the learning-by-doing scenario are needed. This paper outlines further development directions of both tested scenarios.

Corresponding author: Andrzej A. Kononowicz, Department of Bioinformatics and Telemedicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Łazarza 16, 31-034, Kraków, Poland

Received: 2012-10-18
Revised: 2013-1-22
Accepted: 2013-1-24
Published Online: 2013-02-23
Published in Print: 2013-03-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston