Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dr. Chi & how levels of engagement affect learning

I just heard a presentation by Dr. Micki Chi, a learning and cognition researcher and professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University.

Her ICAP hypothesis lays out four forms of interacting during learning: Passive (just listening/taking in information), Active (selecting, e.g., underlining), Constructive (creating something new, such as drawing a graph to better understand a prompt), and Interactive (interacting with another person). Interaction leads to more successful learning outcomes than construction; construction leads to more successful learning outcomes than action; and so on (ICAP). She's taken a lot of other people's research and viewed it through this perspective, and seen her hypothesis bear out.

Here's a Q&A with Dr. Chi, and her research paper Active-Constructive-Interactive: A Conceptual Framework for Differentiating Learning Activities.
I was interested to hear that construction is beneficial regardless of whether the student's answer is correct. Dr. Chi also briefly talked about sequencing, and noted that some studies show that a constructive activity followed by something passive (e.g., a lecture) can be most effective. I've been dipping into inquiry-based learning and constructivism, and these seem to be approaches that fit naturally with integrating digital tools.

She also sparked my interest in looking at how the tutoring model can be used in bigger classes. She presented research showing that the learning outcomes were better when students viewed a video of a tutor and tutee vs. a video of a single person lecturing, and she talked briefly about what it is in the tutor-tutee model that helped the viewers learn better. She found "students learned to solve physics problems just as effectively from observing tutoring collaboratively as the tutees who were being tutored individually" ("Observing Tutorial Dialogues").

Speaking of inquiry-based learning, I started reading up on the Quest to Learn school in New York, which the Institute of Play is helping to develop. Fascinating to me, but I shut down from the jargon in the MacArthur Foundation Report when I was trying to find out more about the curriculum.

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