Learning in a foreign environment: The perception and use of concept mapping strategy by Saudi International students in Higher Education
Learning in higher education demands the assimilation of a wide range of complex information. One way in which learners are able to represent complex information in a meaningful way is through concept mapping. This multiple case study aims to provide an in-depth picture of how six Saudi women students, who use concept mapping to support their learning, view concept maps; and what factors that constrain or enhance their use of this strategy within university study in New Zealand .Through think alouds, one-to-one interviews and a focus group discussion, these students revealed their use and understanding of concept maps. The findings of this study indicate that concept mapping is a useful tool for learning and can be used effectively by international students to support their learning. However while concept mapping was found to support the development of critical and creative thinking skills, this study suggests that concept mapping by itself does not teach these skills. This research concludes that Saudi women at university in New Zealand need support to develop their own academic voice and to become confident in their ability to study independently and think critically and creatively. One of the ways in which this support can be provided is through participating in the collaborative development of concept maps.