Original Publication
Open Access

Concept Mapping for Enhanced Comprehension in Pharmacology

Published: November 18, 2015 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10281

Included in this publication:

  • Creating a Concept Map Instructor's Guide.pdf
  • Assignment Instructions For Students.pdf
  • Concept Maps - What Why How.pdf
  • Creating a Concept Map.pdf
  • Grading Rubric and Concept Map Software Options.pdf
  • Introductory Slides.pptx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: Concept maps aid comprehension of complex topics and can be useful tools for students who understand course material, but have difficulty organizing the information that would be required for examination or professional purposes. This concept mapping resource was created to address a recurring issue in a pharmacology course set within an intensive 3-year dental curriculum. Methods: Documents provided in this resource include a teacher's instructional guide, a short introductory presentation, an instructional overview document, a step-by-step guide for students and instructors, and a grading rubric with additional resource information. The documents, while broadly generic, may be further altered to tailor for any pharmacology course. The activity took place over a 2-week period during which time students create a concept map summarizing the links between pharmacokinetic parameters and dental clinical considerations for a drug. Results: With implementation of this project, there was high compliance with the suggested map format, although some students submitted highly creative maps with images and hypertext links. In the first year of implementation, the large majority of students created maps above base requirements. Fewer than five percent of the students submitted concept maps that did not follow the format suggested by the instructional document. One student presented the required information in a creative format that did not resemble a concept map but instead comprised boxed lists lined in a linear manner but with no other interconcept relationship links. Discussion: This proved to be a useful framework for implementing concept mapping in a dental pharmacology course. Future directions include a survey of the students participating in this assignment in order to measure the ease of performance, the usefulness of the assignment for the chosen assignment topic, and subsequent use of the concept map tool for both pharmacology and nonpharmacology coursework.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, facilitators will be able to:

  1. Increase students’ comprehension of dental pharmacology and therapeutics.
  2. Assist students’ critical integration of specific drug knowledge with patient planning.
  3. Help students identify knowledge gaps.

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Summarize the pharmacokinetic parameters and dental clinical considerations for a drug from available information sources.
  2. Create a concept map demonstrating the link between these data sets.

Author Information

  • Benjamin Zeitlin, PhD: University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Homayon Asadi, DDS: University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

None to report.

None to report.


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Zeitlin B, Asadi H. Concept mapping for enhanced comprehension in pharmacology. MedEdPORTAL. 2015;11:10281. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10281

This publication is co-sponsored by the American Dental Education Association.