Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kevin M. Roessger

Committee Member

Michael S. Hevel

Second Committee Member

Christine E. Holyfield


learning transfer, adult learning, assimilation theory, relational frame theory, instructional design


Concept maps are a popular learning activity that have successfully demonstrated student learning outcomes. Research suggests that concept mapping has a positive effect on recognition, recall, and transfer. Likewise, researchers in cognitive psychology have shown the value of referencing oneself with a concept. Known as the self-reference effect, learners who connect their experiences or traits with new knowledge are more likely to remember that knowledge than if they used other mnemonic devices. Previous research suggests that integrating self-reference in concept mapping may improve recall. However, to date, no study has investigated the influence of this combination on higher order learning outcomes, such as transfer. In this study, I ask whether self-reference in concept mapping improves learning transfer. Using a segmented repeated measures design, I collected transfer scores across eight time points. Participants completed a concept map on a topic, followed one week later by a written assignment asking participants to apply that topic. After the fourth measure, I asked participants to reference themselves in their concept maps. Using a Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) model, I found a significant positive interaction in transfer over time after the intervention. However, after the intervention, there was no immediate effect, suggesting that practice and feedback are essential components of self-reference in concept mapping.