Physician Assistant (PA) students need to assimilate and integrate voluminous information quickly and effectively to promote the critical thinking skills required to deliver competent care. Mind mapping is an innovative strategy used to facilitate students’ recognition, recall essential information, and ensure depth in their understanding by making connections between information pieces. In addition, the establishment of relationships between concepts expressed in mind maps promotes critical thinking skills.
Seventy-four PA students were randomly assigned to Standard Note Taking Group (SNTG) or Mind Mapping Group (MMG) to complete the pre-HSRT (Health Science Reasoning Test). MMG constructed mind maps for nine weeks. The SNTG followed their study method and did not make mind maps for nine weeks. Differences in the mean pre- and post-overall HSRT scores between the groups and within the groups were analyzed using independent and dependent t-test, respectively. There was no significant difference between pre-and post-overall critical thinking scores as measured by HSRT post nine weeks of intervention in both groups. In addition, there was no significant difference in the mean pre-HSRT overall critical thinking scores between the groups. However, there was a significant difference in the mean overall post-HSRT scores between the groups (p=.026). Hence, mind mapping is a viable active learning strategy to promote critical thinking in PA students.
Keywords: critical thinking, mind mapping, Health Science Reasoning Test