Document Type

Conference Paper

Conference Name

International Conference on Assessing Quality in Higher Education


School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan

Conference Location

Lahore, Pakistan

Publication ( Name of Journal)

Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on Assessing Quality in Higher Education, 1st – 3rd December, 2008, Lahore - Pakistan


Critical thinking is an important outcome of higher education in any discipline. International literature reveals that teaching strategies—such as reflections, self-directed learning, questioning, and concept mapping—which ask for active engagement of students in their learning, foster critical thinking. Social context of the learning environment, and the instructor’s competence and approach to teaching also influence students’ critical thinking abilities. Contrary to the required teaching practices, didactic teaching and rote learning are still prevalent in most teaching institutions and disciplines in Pakistan. The focus of this paper is to report on the process and findings of a quasi-experimental study in which students at Aga Khan University School of nursing were taught and encouraged to use concept mapping as a way for knowledge acquisition. A total of 97 nursing students in their first year of the programme were enrolled in the study. In the pre-intervention phase all students were assessed for their level of self-directed learning and ways of knowing, using two instruments, named- SDLRS (Self Directed Learning Readiness Scale) and WOKAT (Ways of Knowing Assessment Tool). The students were allocated to experimental and controlled groups based on their score on WOKAT. Those in the experimental group were taught to develop concept-maps. In the post-intervention phase, all students were reassessed on SDLRD, WOKAT, and GPA and their scores were compared between the groups. Findings of the study showed significant difference between the controlled and experimental groups in terms of students GPA but no substantial change was noted in their scores on SDLRS and WOKAT.