Theory Name: Cognitive Apprenticeship

Authors (Last, First): Collins, Allan; Brown, John S.; Newman, Susan E.

Associate Learning Theory:
Cognitive-social learning: Cognitive apprenticeship focuses on “learning-through-guided-experience on cognitive and metacognitive skills and processes” (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 457), instead of the physically concrete craft or trade that is the focus of traditional apprenticeships.

Model Description:
The model is aimed primarily at teaching the problem-solving processes that experts use to handle complex tasks. Cognitive apprenticeship focuses on cognitive and metacognitive skills and processes. The framework for designing learning environment describes four dimensions: context, methods, sequence, and sociology.

Specification of Theory
(a) Goals and preconditions
The method is aimed primarily at teaching the problem-solving processes that experts use to handle complex tasks. Cognitive apprenticeships are intended to enable apprentices to learn strategies and skills in the context of their application to realistic problems, within a culture focused on and defined by expert practice

(b) Principles
1) Cognitive apprenticeship encourages reflection on differences between novices and expert performance
2) Cognitive apprenticeship encourages the development of self-monitoring and correction skills required for the problem solver to alternate among different cognitive activities
2) Sequencing: Tasks are sequenced to reflect the changing demands of learning: increasing complexity, increasing diversity, and global before local skills
3) Sociology: With exploiting cooperation and the culture of expert practice, cognitive apprenticeship extends situated learning to diverse settings so that students learn how to apply their skills in varied context with intrinsic motivation.

(c) Condition of learning
The appropriate target knowledge for an ideal learning environment is to include four categories of expert knowledge: domain knowledge, heuristic strategies, control strategies, and learning strategies. The learning setting focuses on the four content categories with situated cooperative problem solving.

(d) Required media
Expert, peers, instructor, or apprenticeship-based computer system

(e) Role of facilitator
The facilitator’s role involves modeling, coaching, and scaffolding to help students acquire an integrated set of cognitive and metacognitive skills through processes of observation, and of guided and supported practice.

(f) Instructional strategies
1) Modeling that involves an expert’s carrying out a task so that student observe and build a conceptual model of the processes required to accomplish the task
2) Coaching that consists of observing student’s performance and offering hints, scaffolding, feedback, modeling, reminders, and new tasks
3) Scaffolding provided by the teacher to help the student carry out a task
4) Articulation that gets students to articulate their knowledge, reasoning, or problem-solving processes in a domain
5) Reflection that enables students to compare their own problem-solving processes with those an expert, peer, and an internal cognitive model of expertise.
6) Exploration as a method of teaching sets general goals for students and that encourages students to focus on particular subgoals of interest to them.

(g) Assessment method
Performance-based assessment

Formative Research & Application
(a) Tested context: K-12 (Bereiter, & Scardamalia, 1987; Chiu, Chou, & Liu, 2002); Higher Ed.(Schoenfeld, 1985)
(b) Research method: Quantitative (Chiu, Chou, & Liu, 2002);
(c) Research description: Bereiter, & Scardamalia, (1987) developed “procedural facilitation of writing” that relies on elements of cognitive apprenticeship. The procedural facilitations are designed to help elementary school students evaluate, diagnose, and decide on revisions for their compositions. Results showed that each type of support was effective, independent of the other support. And when all the facilitations were combined, with modeling and co-investigation, they resulted in superior revisions for nearly every student and a tenfold increase in the frequency of idea-level revisions, without any decrease in stylistic revisions.

Chiu, Chou, and Liu (2002) conducted an experimental study focusing on the process of constructing mental models in a cognitive apprenticeship context. 10th-grade students who lacked knowledge of the nature of chemical equilibrium, were randomly assigned in a control group (non-CA group) and a treatment group (CA group). The researchers developed hands-on activities to contain the main features of cognitive apprenticeship, such as modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration. The result showed that the CA group gained better understanding of chemical equilibrium.

Schoenfeld (1985) develops a method for teaching maghematical problem solving to college student in cognitive apprenticeship context. The teaching employs the elements of modeling, coaching, scaffolding, and fading in a variety of activities.

(d) Resources
Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1987). The psychology of written composition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Chiu, M-H., Chou, C-C., & Liu, C-J. (2002). Dynamic processes of conceptual change: Analysis of constructing mental models of chemical equilibrium. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(8), 688-712.

Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In Resnick L. B. (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction: essays in honor of Robert Glaser (pp. 453-494). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Schoenfeld, A. H. (1985). Mathematical problem solving. NY: Academic Press.

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