Translating a Theory of Active Learning: An Attempt to Close the Research-Practice Gap in Education

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19 Scopus citations


Despite decades of research related to teaching and learning, the findings have made little impact on classroom teaching and learning. This paper briefly describes the four existing methods to close this gap, with more extensive analyses of the limitations of one of the four methods, which is to consolidate and distill robust laboratory findings reported over the past decades and attempt to translate them for classroom practice. An alternative method is proposed, which is to translate a theory of how students learn, called Interactive, Constructive, Active, Passive (ICAP), so that teachers and practitioners can translate their understanding of such a theory into practice themselves, thereby giving teachers autonomy, flexibility, generalizability, and ownership of their own designed interventions based on ICAP. The paper proposes that in order to close the research-practice gap, a multi-step empirical translation research framework is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-463
Number of pages23
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Active learning
  • How students learn
  • ICAP
  • Research-practice gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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