Is Free recall active: The testing effect through the ICAP lens

Christiana M. Bruchok, Christopher Mar, Scotty Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Amidst evidence in favor of "active learning," online instruction widely implements passive design and tests learners' retrieval performance as opposed to learners' understanding. Literature reporting the testing effect promotes recall as a learning tool. The Interactive>Constructive>Active>Passi ve taxonomy would place quizzing during instruction somewhere on the active learning spectrum since learners manipulate the content in some way. Studying without physical manipulation of the content, the typical comparison group for the testing effect, is inherently passive; therefore, the superiority of testing to studying reflects the superiority of active to passive learning. Tests can elicit an array of engagement behaviors, and ICAP differentiates some as leading to better learning outcomes than others. The present preliminary study found free recall, germane to the testing effect literature and easily implemented in online instruction, to be only an active activity per ICAP criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-148
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interactive Learning Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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