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Michelene T. H. Chi, 2020 Prize Winner

Learning Science Research
Regents Professor, Dorothy Bray Endowed Professor of Science and Teaching at Arizona State University and Director of the Learning and Cognition Lab

A global leader in cognitive and learning science research, Michelene (Micki) Chi has made numerous advances to our understanding of how students learn, particularly in STEM domains. Her breakthroughs in human cognition “have shaped a generation of cognitive and learning scientists,” according to the Cognitive Science Society. Highlights of her work include creating a powerful framework (ICAP) of active learning; developing an understanding of the power of self-explanation as a key way to learn; evolving our knowledge of the differences in how experts and nonexperts think; and influencing how we think about learning in more interactive settings. She has published more than 100 scholarly articles on these and related topics in the cognitive and learning sciences.

As director of the Learning and Cognition Lab at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Chi continues to oversee a number of projects focused on promoting deeper learning. Of particular relevance to education in the COVID era is the lab’s research on the benefit of incorporating tutorial dialogues in online learning videos, compared to lecture-style monologues.

Chi has been recognized with numerous honors throughout her career, including election to the National Academy of Education in 2010, the E.L. Thorndike Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association in 2015, and the prestigious David E. Rumelhart Prize for significant contribution to theoretical foundations of human cognition by the Cognitive Science Society in 2019. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

Before joining the faculty at Arizona State University in 2008, Chi was a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Born in Thailand, she immigrated to the United States from Indonesia with her parents and, at age 16, became a U.S. citizen.