Organization Management Journal


On the first day of class most management faculty review or “go over” the syllabus, typically through an instructor-led presentation. However, research indicates that students retain little, if any, of the syllabus material, leading to frustrating outcomes for both students and instructors. Here we report the results of a post hoc natural experiment, where we compared the effectiveness of the traditional, review-and-discuss method to the effectiveness of a mind map approach used in another undergraduate management course. Before we conceived of the natural experiment, each faculty member reviewed the syllabus using his or her preferred method. One week later, the faculty members administered the same unannounced quiz in each section to measure both the amount and type of information the students recalled. Overall, the mind map approach was more effective, with mind-mapping students correctly answering more questions, especially regarding higher order concepts like course learning objectives and the nature of major assignments.