Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Irvine, HJ, Cooper, K and Jones and G, Concept mapping to enhance student learning in a financial accounting subject, in Kent, J (ed), Proceedings of the Accounting Educators Forum, Sydney, 24-25 November 2005, 1-19. CPA Australia and Charles Sturt University.


The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the potential of concept mapping as an aid to enhancing students’ understanding of the interrelationships between financial accounting concepts. The paper integrates student learning literature with an actual case study of a concept mapping exercise. Concept maps prepared by students are described and analysed, as is student feedback on the effectiveness of the exercise in increasing their understanding. While this is a first attempt at concept mapping, it shows promise of providing students with a deeper understanding of subject matter and a greater appreciation of the linkages between various financial accounting concepts and modes of delivery in the subject. Further studies of the refinement and application of concept mapping to accounting courses at tertiary level have the potential to add value to existing accounting education literature. Concept maps can assist accounting students in developing positive attitudes to life-long learning and in becoming self-directed learners, by enabling them to integrate new knowledge into the framework of their existing conceptual understanding. Future attempts will need to integrate improvements in technique on the part of teachers. The benefits of concept mapping will increase as students gain more practice in thinking conceptually. While concept mapping is a well accepted and widely used technique in other discipline areas at all levels of education, little or no research has been reported on its use by accounting educators. This paper addresses that gap.