Cognitive apprenticeships are situated within the social constructivist paradigm. They suggest students work in teams on projects or problems with close scaffolding of the instructor. Cognitive apprenticeships are representative of Vygotskian "zones of proximal development" in which student tasks are slightly more difficult than students can manage independently, requiring the aid of their peers and instructor to succeed. Cognitive apprenticeships reflect situated cognition theory, as do anchored instruction modules described on a previous page.
Download annotated Powerpoint slides describing the cognitive apprenticeship model (PDF File).
If you have created course materials at Virginia Tech that are representative of this teaching model, we would like to showcase your work here. Please contact us with a description of your project so other faculty may learn from your efforts.
Design and Development Tips
that allow realistic situations to be represented are suitable for designing
situated materials. For instance, authoring programs allow realistic
cases or simulations to be represented as multimedia. Understanding
video, audio, and image editing software will facilitate the creation
situated cognition, problem solving activities should not be "neat"
and pre-defined, but rather, complex with students required to discover
relevant procedures. Thus, a situated multimedia program will not reflect
a drill-and-practice environment, but more closely approximate a resource
set from which relevant information is sorted and derived by students.
and Oliver (1997) suggest the use of expert performances and models
in situated multimedia (e.g., including a video clip of an MBA graduate
modelling strategic decisions in the workplace). Multimedia should not
flow in a linear fashion, but provide students with multiple perspectives
on presented issues that they must judge. Further, multimedia should
require students to collaborate and act upon presented information,
by developing hypotheses and solution plans in teams. Coaching and scaffolding
is a key part of situated materials. Although hints and prompts can
be embedded in programs, teachers will need to closely monitor student
use and understanding of programmed help, providing additional support
Perhaps the most critical component of situated learning is communication among peers. This component may be best elicited by designing technology-free discussions, debates, interviews, and other face-to-face activities. If desired, web-based tools such as discussion boards and chat rooms may promote additional communication and problem discussion.