A Conceptual Analysis of Conceptual Learning: A Guide for Educators



Concept-based curricula, combined with a conceptual approach to teaching, promote conceptual learning. There is a need for clarity in the definition of conceptual learning.


Walker and Avant’s conceptual analysis method was used.


Conceptual learning is a process in which learners organize knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to concepts to form logical cognitive connections resulting in the assimilation, storage, retrieval and transfer of concepts into applicable situations, familiar and unfamiliar. The attributes identified were (a) recognizing patterns in information, (b) forming connections with concepts, (c) gaining a deeper understanding of concepts, (d) developing personal relevance and (e) applying concepts to other situations. The antecedents were (a) the cognitive potential of the learner, (b) an organized conceptual framework and (c) a conceptual approach to teaching. The consequences were (a) improved synthesis and analysis, (b) better problem solving, (c) an ability to translate theory into practice, (d) an appreciation for linear / non-linear thought patterns, and ( e) improved concept construction.


This analysis provides a benchmark for recognizing the occurrence of conceptual learning and developing instruments to measure its results. [J Nurs Educ. 2019;58(1):7–15.]


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