A Concept Analysis of Conceptual Learning: A Guide for Educators

J Nurs Educ. 2019 Jan 1;58(1):7-15. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20190103-03.


Background: Concept-based curricula, coupled with conceptual approach to teaching, fosters conceptual learning. There is a need for clarity in the definition of conceptual learning.

Method: Walker and Avant's method of concept analysis was used.

Results: Conceptual learning is a process in which learners organize concept-relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes to form logical cognitive connections resulting in assimilation, storage, retrieval, and transfer of concepts to applicable situations, familiar and unfamiliar. Attributes identified were (a) recognizing patterns in information, (b) forming linkages with concepts, (c) acquiring deeper understanding of concepts, (d) developing personal relevance, and (e) applying concepts to other situations. Antecedents were (a) learner cognitive potential, (b) organized conceptual framework, and (c) conceptual approach to teaching. Consequences were (a) enhanced synthesis and analysis, (b) improved problem solving, (c) ability to translate theory to practice, (d) appreciation of linear/nonlinear ways of thinking, and (e) enhanced concept construction.

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

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational