Conventional wisdom in the world of academics holds that concept maps are tools useful only for science classes. Not so! Concept maps – also known as advanced organizers, graphic organizers, concept trees, visual maps, flowcharts, diagrams and mind-mapping – can be meaningful strategies for students who learn about technical accounting aspects discussed in the business classroom. Many educators promote concept maps – a component of visual learning – as an ideal teaching and learning strategy in the classroom due to its visual nature of organizing information and indicating relationships within that information.

Action research involving concept maps was conducted in an accounting classroom on a university campus geared for deaf and hard of hearing students. These students were taught by a deaf lecturer. These students majored in accounting or business while pursuing associate-level degrees: associate of occupational science, associate of applied science, or associate of science. Many deaf and hard of hearing students – likely visual learners by virtue of their hearing losses – can benefit from this visual learning and teaching tool.

This action research involved comparison of two accounting classes – an experimental class with concept maps as embedded curriculum components and a control class without the benefit of concept maps. All of the students in both classes studied the same accounting topics. Specific benefits of utilizing concept maps in the experimental classroom were observed, documented and analyzed. Active learning and meaningful student engagement took place in the experimental classroom. Software made specifically to create concept maps was utilized in this action research.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type


Degree Name

Secondary Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)


Gary L. Long

Advisor/Committee Member

Mary Beth Parker

Advisor/Committee Member

Gerald C. Bateman


RIT – Main Campus