While great strides have been made to improve accessibility to higher education in South Africa, the educational excellence that is required to build a strong economy remains elusive, as evidenced by low throughput numbers. Research suggests that students’ lack of conceptual understanding might be at the heart of the problem. This study investigates the value of concept mapping as a scaffolding technique to improve conceptual understanding. Postpositivism served as the epistemological framework for the research. The quantitative dimension involved a quasi-experiment with a test and a control group, whereas the qualitative dimensions included questionnaire responses and observation. It was hypothesised that Accounting students in an extended programme who were introduced to the concept mapping technique would have an improved grasp of Accounting concepts, as would be indicated by an improvement in their marks when completing an explantory paragraph of Accounting concepts after the intervention. Qualitative data on students’ experience of using visual aids, and concept mapping in particular, were also analysed. Students’ post-intervention marks of the test group showed no improvement, and therefore no proof can be offered to support the claim that concept mapping improves conceptual understanding. An analysis of students’ attitudes towards concept mapping did, however, show enthusiam for the technique. Limitations of the study included the absence of a pilot study and the time required to become familiar with concept mapping. An unforeseen constraint on the study was the low student participation.