THEORY NAME: Anchored Instruction
ASSOCIATED LEARNING THEORY / APPROACH
MODEL / DESCRIPTION
The innovation was to situate learning in realistic problems, allowing
students to experience the same professional dilemmas facing experts
in a given field. Problems are structured to be factually authentic with
real data as well as performance authentic with realistic tasks that
might be faced by a novice if apprenticed to an expert historian, physician,
Anchored instruction is a framework for learning that emphasizes complex problem solving in integrated learning contexts. Integrated learning contexts take on the form of drawing realistic connections, making learning meaningful for students, and forming connections within and between content domains. An anchored instruction activity supports learning opportunities that relate to and extend thinking to other content areas.
Learning and teaching activities are designed around an "anchor" which is often a story, adventure, or situation that includes a problem or issue to be resolved and that is of interest to the students. The “anchoring” refers to the bonding of the content within a realistic and authentic context: Anchored modules typically embed all of the information need— embedded data or hints are used as scaffolding— to solve the problem, making it easier to manage in environments with limited time or limited resources.
It is similar to problem-based learning (PBL) but not as open-ended. In PBL, students would be expected to do more first-hand research into resources external to the learning environments. Anchored learning is also related to case-based learning, although the stories presented are meant to be explored and discussed rather than simply read or watched.
To design an anchored story, identify the steps required to solve a problem; then set about including them in a story line. CTGV developed the Jasper Woodbury problem solving series for middle school mathematics learning. In the “wounded eagle” scenario, students must determine the best way to move and save a wounded eagle, computing the amount of gasoline an ultra-light plane will require, weight of cargo, and other data.
The problems should not be easily solved, but somewhat complex, requiring
students to discuss and debate various options. Problems with more than
one solution path are fine, and may actually be preferable as the entire
class comes together to describe the solutions of various groups. The
Jasper problems were all complex, requiring at least 14 steps in a correct
Interactive multimedia based presentation materials, allowing exploration by the learner (e.g., interactive CD-ROM programs, interactive sites).
Learners should take ownership.
Problem presented in a narrative format, a story with embedded data.
CONDITIONS OF LEARNING / APPLICATION
Anchored modules can take the form of full-blown multimedia with branching or simple Web pages with photos, text, and video streaming.
The use of interactive media technology makes it possible for students to easily explore the content-- the video materials serve as `anchors' (macro-contexts) for all subsequent learning and instruction.
Anchored instruction challenges and motivates learners to find the story’s embedded data through a realistic, narrative, storyline format. Solving the larger problem often requires that students generate sub-questions that help guide or support their thinking. They review parts of the story to find information that will support these smaller questions and then use additional resources to acquire information or skills to help them answer their questions.
Students develop solutions, working on the problems in small group. Student groups present ideas, reporting their solutions plans to the entire class. Pros and cons of the various ideas are discussed
Formulating a problem statement is a key role (e.g., represents the major issues or major problems that seem to be causing the problem), followed by an extraction and organization of data related to the problem. Anchored stories use embedded data— hints that are used as scaffolding to solve the problem.
Instructors facilitate and coaches the students through the anchored based learning process.
CONSTRUCTS / VARIABLES
RESOURCES (APA Style Citation)
Bransford, J.D. et al. (1990). Anchored instruction: Why we need it and how technology can hel p. In D. Nix & R. Sprio (Eds), Cognition, education and multimedia. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.
Bransford, J.D. & Stein, B.S. (1993). The Ideal problem solver (2nd
Ed). New York: Freeman.
CTGV (1993). Anchored instruction and situated cognition revisited.
Educational Technology, 33 (3), 52- 70.
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