In this section, Sanjoy Mahajan describes how Chi and Wylie’s (2014) ICAP Framework shapes how he understands how flipping the classroom in 6.01 Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I enables students to engage in deep active learning experiences during lectures and labs.
The ICAP (Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive) Framework, developed by Michelene Chi and Ruth Wylie (2014), is central to my understanding of how 6.01 Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I functions as a flipped classroom . This framework is a way of thinking about active versus passive learning, and about how different levels of active learning are associated with different depths of learning.
Passive learning involves the learner taking in new knowledge without interacting with the information. Watching television and reading books are good examples of passive learning. This kind of learning leads to minimal understanding. Chi and Wylie’s lowest level of active learning involves learners doing something with their hands or bodies but not adding new information to what they’ve been given (an example is highlighting). This kind of learning leads to what Chi and Wylie refer to as shallow learning.
They describe their next level of active learning as constructive. At this level, students add to the information they’re learning. For example, perhaps they summarize the information as opposed to merely highlighting it. Another example would be learners creating a new answer, as opposed to selecting a response from multiple-choice answers. This creates deeper understanding that has the potential to transfer.
The highest level of active learning in the ICAP Framework is called interactive learning. At this level, students engage in dialogue with others about the new concepts. This leads to understanding that has the potential to create new ideas.
Students use these materials to build robots during design labs.
In 6.01 Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I we flip the classroom in the sense that we have students do as much as they can outside of class to climb the active learning hierarchy so that when we’re together in class we can focus on constructive and interactive learning. Outside of class, students not only have readings, but also exercises that require them to write short programs checked by the online tutor. That’s a constructive activity. It’s also a bit interactive in the sense that students are given multiple submission opportunities. The online tutor will tell them, “Your program ran fine on these particular test cases, but not on these.” Students can try to figure out what went wrong with the program and make corrections.
During lectures, we’re constantly giving students multiple-choice concept questions . Students argue with each other about the responses, and engage in what Eric Mazur (1997) calls peer instruction. Those are active experiences.
In labs, students are doing constructive and interactive activities. They’re building things, and they are interacting with each other and the teaching staff. These deep active learning experiences are enabled because students complete foundational readings and exercises outside of class.
Chi, Michelene and Ruth Wylie. “The ICAP framework: Linking Cognitive Engagement to Active Learning Outcomes.” Educational Psychologist, 49(4) (2014): 219-243.
Mazur, Eric. Peer instruction: A User’s Manual. Prentice Hall, 1997. ISBN: 9780135654415.