Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Digital Curriculum | Architecture

Apex Learning vs. iCEV: Which is Best for Principles of Architecture?

March 7th, 2023 | 8 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

Print/Save as PDF

If you teach architecture in high school, finding the right curriculum to use in your class is critical. Whether you are establishing a new program or your current resources are no longer meeting your needs, picking the right CTE principles of architecture curriculum will set your students up for success in their future careers.

Two architecture curriculum providers you may have heard of are Apex Learning and iCEV. While both offer comprehensive resources for teaching an introductory-level CTE architecture course, there are important differences between these options and what they provide to students.

In this article, you'll discover the differences between Apex Learning and iCEV for a principles of architecture course. Specifically, we'll look at the following:

  1. What Is the Principles of Architecture Course?
  2. What Is the Instructional Focus of Apex Learning and iCEV?
  3. How Are These Architecture Courses Structured?
  4. What Instructional Materials Are Included?
  5. Which Principles of Architecture Course is Right for You?

After reading, you'll have a more complete picture of the differences between Apex Learning and iCEV so you can choose the best resource for your architecture class.

1. What Is the Principles of Architecture Course?

Principles of Architecture is an introductory course in the CTE Architecture and Construction career cluster. It's designed to acquaint learners with core concepts in architecture, design, construction, maintenance, and operations to prepare them for a wide range of careers in this pathway.

While not an exhaustive course in architecture, students typically take this course during high school to help prepare them for interdisciplinary work in the architecture and construction pathway.

Apex Learning and iCEV both offer courses for principles of architecture. However, there are differences in how these courses are designed.

What Is the Apex Learning Principles of Architecture Course?

Apex Learning's principles of architecture course comes from an outside vendor, Pointful Education. Pointful Education is a third-party provider of CTE courses in computer-based fields.

This class adheres to Pointful Education’s course format, which emphasizes using various instructional techniques to create a student-focused experience.

What Is the iCEV Principles of Architecture Course?

iCEV's principles of architecture course is designed in-house by the company's curriculum team. 

The course follows iCEV's student-friendly format of combining traditional instruction with multimedia lessons and projects to improve student outcomes.

2. What Is the Instructional Focus of Apex Learning and iCEV?

Apex Learning and iCEV cover core concepts in their introductory architecture courses, but their specific focuses differ.

In this section, you'll discover the unique instructional focus of each provider.

What Is Apex Learning's Instructional Focus?

For its course, Apex Learning and its provider Pointful Education center their instruction on the more technical aspects of architectural design.

Students learn about architectural drafting equipment and how to prepare drawings by hand and with AutoCAD software. The course culminates with instruction in three-dimensional drawing and design.

After taking the course, learners are most prepared for work in careers related to architectural drafting.

What Is iCEV's Instructional Focus?

iCEV takes a more interdisciplinary approach to its architecture class. While iCEV does include instruction in design principles, the course also prepares students in many of the more practical aspects of working in architecture and construction.

Students learn rudimentary content related to construction, including measurement, physics, installation, and emerging technologies. They'll also learn about maintenance and operations and have the opportunity to explore careers in the industry.

When they've finished the course, students will have knowledge and experience to help them in opportunities throughout the architecture and construction career cluster.

3. How Are These Architecture Courses Structured?

Apex Learning and iCEV structure their curriculum in different ways. For example, Apex Learning refers to individual instructional sections as "modules," while iCEV calls similar units of information "lessons."

Below, you'll find a comparison between Apex Learning's modules and iCEV's lessons for principles of architecture.

How Is the Apex Learning Course Structured?

The Apex Learning architecture course is structured to take an in-depth look at the processes and practices of architectural design.

The course is structured around a series of 14 learning modules that teach foundational architectural ideas:

  1. Basic Drafting
  2. Design and Drawings Part I
  3. Design and Drawings Part II
  4. Design and Drawings Part III
  5. Dimensioning and Annotation
  6. Working Drawings
  7. Pictorial Drawings and Surface Developments
  8. Sequential Processes Part I
  9. Sequential Processes Part II
  10. Sequential Processes Part III
  11. Sequential Processes Part IV
  12. Sequential Processes Part V
  13. Three-Dimensional Drawing Part I
  14. Three-Dimensional Drawing Part II

After progressing through the modules, students should have a working knowledge of basic architectural principles.

How Is the iCEV Course Structured?

The iCEV architecture course is structured to first introduce architecture and construction careers before looking at specific aspects of design, construction, and maintenance.

The course is divided into 19 lessons introducing students to essential concepts:

  1. Exploring Careers: Architecture and Construction
  2. Design/Pre-Construction
  3. Construction
  4. Maintenance/Operations
  5. Personal and Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Mathematics in Construction
  7. Measurement in Construction
  8. Physics in Construction
  9. Introduction to Construction Drawings
  10. Project Management Skills
  11. Understanding Construction Codes, Regulations, and Contracts
  12. Construction Machines and Equipment
  13. Installation: Foundation and Subflooring
  14. Installation: Framing
  15. Installation: Drywall
  16. Installation: Doors
  17. Installation: Windows
  18. Installation: Roofing
  19. Emerging Technologies in Construction

By completing the course, students should have a foundational understanding of both architectural principles and the practical knowledge involved in construction and installation processes.

4. What Instructional Materials Are Included?

As digital curriculum providers, Apex Learning and iCEV include various instructional materials for teachers and students. These materials help CTE instructors create a blended learning experience that combines traditional classroom lessons with interactive components.

What Instructional Materials Does Apex Learning Include?

Since Apex Learning uses Pointful Education for its architecture course, the instructional materials are similar to other Pointful Education courses.

Teachers and their students can expect to see multiple pedagogical techniques throughout the course, including:

  • Understanding by Design
  • Growth Mindset
  • Video
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Apex Learning doesn't provide much information on how each technique is used, but the overall goal is to create a learning experience centered around each student.

What Instructional Materials Does iCEV Include?

iCEV instructional materials are designed for an interactive experience that promotes blended learning. Each lesson includes a variety of components to enhance student learning:

  • Media-rich presentations
  • Pre-made lesson plans
  • Assessments
  • Real-world projects and activities

In addition, video components are at the core of the iCEV curriculum and are central to iCEV's student-centered learning approach.

Which Principles of Architecture Course is Right for You?

Choosing the right introductory architecture course could be the difference between setting your students up for career success in the architecture and construction pathway or having them fail to grasp the knowledge they'll need to enter the industry.

Depending on what you are looking for from your architecture course, Apex Learning or iCEV could be right for you.

If you are looking for a digitally-based architecture class focusing on theory, design, and drawing, Apex Learning could be the better fit. With this curriculum, your students will be well prepared for work in architectural drafting.

On the other hand, if you want a course that will meet your standards and prepare students for careers throughout the architecture and construction pathway, consider iCEV. With this curriculum, your students will receive training in everything from architectural design and construction to maintenance and operations.

However, the best way to know if a curriculum is right for your students is to try it for yourself! When you sign up for a free trial of iCEV, you'll receive full access to the entire architecture and construction curriculum, including principles of architecture, so you can decide if it's the right fit for your classroom.

Start Your Trial