Combining concept maps and interviews to produce representations of personal professional theories in higher vocational education: effects of order and vocational domain

Antoine C.M. Van den Bogaart*, Harmen Schaap, Hans G.K. Hummel, Paul A. Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article is about the use of personal professional theories (PPTs) in Dutch higher vocationaleducation. PPTs are internalised bodies of formal and practical knowledge and convictions,professionals use to direct their behaviour. With the aid of high-quality representations of students’PPTs teachers can access, monitor, and support the professional development of students. Twoqualitatively equivalent techniques for representing PPTs are (computer-supported) concept mapping and interviewing. This article reports on a study of the effects of combining these techniques todetermine whether (1) this results in higher quality representations and (2), if so, whether techniqueorder will make a difference. The study was conducted in two very different vocational domains:accountancy with 29 participants and teacher education with 20 participants. The results of acounterbalanced quasi-experiment with two factors (i.e. domain and order) show in both domains thatcombining the techniques improves quality but order does not matter. This order independence haspractical importance as the computer-supported analysis of a student generated concept map andsubsequently discussing the results with the student, fosters learning and fits in educational practicewell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
JournalInstructional Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • personal professional theories
  • interviews
  • concept maps
  • vocational education
  • accountancy
  • teacher training

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