The Cognitive Apprenticeship Model in Educational Practice

Authored by: Vanessa P. Dennen , Kerry J. Burner

Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology

Print publication date:  December  2007
Online publication date:  September  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805858495
eBook ISBN: 9780203880869
Adobe ISBN: 9781135596910


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Cognitive apprenticeship is a process by which learners learn from a more experienced person by way of cognitive and metacognitive skills and processes. This chapter explores the elements of cognitive apprenticeship, first offering definitions and a historical context, then moving into a review of research. The research review is organized with a three-part focus: on studies that investigate a holistic approaches to educational applications of the process of cognitive apprenticeship; on studies that investigate portions of the process, such as scaffolding or mentoring; and on studies that investigate cognitive apprenticeship activities within communities of practice. Discussion about the intersection of technology and cognitive apprenticeship research is imbedded within each of the three areas of focus, reflecting the steady increase of systematically designed, computer-mediated instruction that is based in social learning theories, especially cognitive apprenticeship theories. Empirical studies have confirmed much of what theories have suggested: (1) that the cognitive apprenticeship model is an accurate description of how learning occurs, and (2) that the instructional strategies that have been extracted from these observations of everyday life can be designed into more formal learning contexts with positive effect. The chapter concludes with a call for more systematic and integrated program of studies working toward the development of guiding principles to support instructional design, teaching, and learning based on the cognitive apprenticeship model.

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