Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Health Sciences


Health and Medical Sciences


Genevieve Pinto-Zipp, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Michelle D'Abundo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deborah Deluca, JD


Learning strategy, critical thinking, mind mapping, physician assistant


Physician Assistant (PA) students need to assimilate and integrate voluminous information quickly and effectively to promote critical thinking skills needed to deliver competent care. Mind mapping is an innovative strategy used to facilitate students’ recognition and recall of key information and ensure depth in their understanding via making connections between pieces of information. Based on the establishment of relationships between concepts expressed in mind maps, critical thinking skills are further developed.

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 were then instructed on how to construct mind maps and create weekly mind maps for nine weeks. The SNTG followed their own method of study 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. 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.