University of Aveiro, Águeda School of Technology and Management (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 2355-2362
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Given the need of a growing internationalization of business, to have a good command of English is most of the times important for the development of technical (specific) competences. Additionally, authors as House (2003) defend that English, as lingua franca, should not be seen as a menace, by making a distinction between ‘language for identification’ and ‘language for communication’. It is, thus, critical that professionals use accurate terminology to set ground to a well-succeeded communication. Furthermore, business communication is increasingly moving to ICT-mediated sets and professionals have to able to promptly adjust to these needs, resorting to reliable online information sources, but also using technologies that better serve their business purposes. In this scenario, the main objective of this study is to find evidence as to the utility of concept mapping as a teaching and learning strategy for the appropriation of business English terminology, enabling students to use English more efficiently as language of communication in the business context (Godwin-Jones 2010).

In fact, many students tend to communicate using general English and have difficulties to understand and/or employ specific terminology. Thus, concept mapping was the infographic technique selected to help students to tie new cognitive structures to prior knowledge, once it makes it easier to establish and retain new connections based on a diagrammatic overview of a topic. In this case, the tool selected was Cmaptools (available at it is user-friendly and allows users to export statistical data. Besides, the online collaboration functionalities are also an important asset, once they allows students to work synchronously and asynchronously. This study was based on a case study methodology, mainly of exploratory nature (Popov et al. 2012). Participants were students (n= 30) enrolled in the subject English Applied to Management II at Águeda School of Technology and Managent – University of Aveiro (2013/14 edition). They were asked to create three concept maps (cmaps) in groups, with different complexity and collaboration levels, and there was also peer review of the cmaps. The data gathered were treated and analysed resorting to quantitative (descriptive statistical analysis) and qualitative (content analysis) techniques. Results of the data analysis unveil that the use of a collaborative concept mapping tool, led participants, not only to develop linguistic competences in terms of terminology and communication accuracy but also to develop collaboration competences; and, last but not least, it was a very important motivation element in the students’ engagement with the subject content.

[1] Godwin-Jones R. (2010). Emerging technologies from memory palaces to spacing algorithms: approaches to second-language vocabulary learning. Language Learning & Technology, 14(2), pp. 4–11. ISSN 1094-35014.
[2] House J. (2003). English as Lingua Franca: A threat to multilingualism?. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 7(4), pp. 556-578. ISSN: 1467-9841.
[3] Popov V. et al. (2012). Multicultural student group work in higher education: An explorative case study on challenges as perceived by students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36, pp. 302–317. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.09.004.
Concept mapping, business English terminology, teaching and learning strategies, ICT use.