Concept-based Strategies

Concept Mapping

This strategy, sometimes referred to as mind-mapping, requires the learner to create a visual outline of related concepts that identifies the purposes, functions, and relationships among concepts, data or tools, and their application to a particular case, and the connections among these. This process can help students learn how to devise a framework for sorting through large amounts of information. 


This strategy calls for educators to create questions or design learning situations (e.g., case scenarios, assign patient cases) that will invite disparate approaches, reasoning or interpretations, or where the facts involved create a conundrum to be resolved. This strategy may be employed with individual  learners or in small group or lecture situations.  Dissonance requires the learner to (re)establish harmony among the data presented or competing interpretations of data or perspectives. Learners should be able to identify this dissonance and articulate a plan how to resolve it. Sometimes, the dissonance will not be addressed during the learning process, but affords students an opportunity to reflect on cognitive error in their failure to recognize the dissonance at the critical decision-making moment.

Paradigm shifting

This strategy asks the learner to examine the problem or case from a different perspective in order to expand their differential diagnosis or identify alternate possible solutions.


This strategy calls for the learner who has mastered specific knowledge or procedure, and re-presents or reframes it or extends or adapts its application to a a context other than the one in which the knowledge or concept was first learned. This is also based upon the premise that the process of teaching something reinforces learning. This strategy can be used by lecturers, small group facilitators or in bedside teaching, by asking students to consider the patient case, medical knowledge or scientific concept in various contexts or from different perspectives.