F. Somovilla-Gómez1, M. Corral-Bobadilla1, R. Lostado-Lorza1, S. Íñiguez Macedo1, E. Jiménez Ruiz2

1University of La Rioja (SPAIN)
2Public University of Navarre (SPAIN)
This work proposes the application of conceptual maps on the topic corresponding to Fatigue of materials in the subject of Machinery and Manufacturing from the Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering during the 2018-2019 academic year at the University of La Rioja.

A concept map is an educational tool that was devised by Joseph D. Novak in the 70's, with the aim of facilitating teaching-learning processes, from the theories proposed by David Ausubel on meaningful learning. Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. This instrument facilitates the representation of knowledge, the organization of learning materials, the resolution of problems, etc. This tool helps distinguish between memorization and meaningful learning, because it is common for students to mechanically memorize concepts without relating them to their previous ideas. For this reason, the application of this technique was carried out so that students could relate the new concepts on the subject of material fatigue with the concepts they already know. The fatigue of materials is one of the most complex and extensive lessons of the Machinery and Manufacturing subject, and therefore of more difficult understanding for students.

This methodology was applied in the classroom as follows: it was proposed that students individually developed a concept map, on the topic of material fatigue using Cmaptools software, as a solution to this problem. Cmaptools is an open source software, this tool has the advantage that it is multiplatform (Windows, Unix, Mac OS, Linux, etc). The methodology followed by the students were, in the first place, to identify the key concepts corresponding to the materials fatigue lesson. Once the concepts were identified, they related to each other. Subsequently, the concepts were ordered according to the criteria of major to minor importance. The most important concept was settled at the top of the concept map, and at lower levels, the remaining concepts (more specific or less general) were placed. Then, the concepts were connected by lines and linking words, which define the meaning relationships between the concepts (propositions). Finally, it was verified that the established relationships were real and correct.

The application of this methodology demonstrates the improvement of students' learning skills. The results obtained in the written tests, in comparison with other topics of the same subject conducted by the traditional method, demonstrate that with this methodology achieve greater results and meaningful learning is improved.