Appendix B

Let’s list the 4 elements, or dimensions, of every learning environment, and what they entail (1991:12-15):


Cognitive Apprenticeship (CA)

Let’s list the 4 elements, or dimensions, of every learning environment, and what they entail (1991:12-15):

  1. content: knowledge and strategies
    Domain knowledge:
    concepts, facts, and procedures explicitly identified with a particular subject matter
    Heuristic strategies:
    effective techniques for accomplishing tasks, e.g., “tricks of the trade”
    Control strategies:
    how and when to select among possible problem-solving strategies
    Learning strategies:
    for learning any of the above; learning how to learn.
  2. method: opportunities to observe, engage in, and invent or discover experts’ strategies in context
    expert performs a task (verbalizing/illustrating their knowledge and thinking)
    expert observes and facilitates
    expert provides supports
    expert encourages learners to verbalize/illustrate their knowledge and thinking
    expert enables learners to compare their performance with others
    expert invites learners to pose and solve their own problems
  3. sequence: tasks that structure learning yet preserve meaningfulness (i.e., “situate” the tasks)
  4. sociology: social characteristics of learning environments (i.e., “situate” the learner)
    Situated learning:
    the context of working on realistic tasks
    Community of practice:
    communication with other practitioners
    Intrinsic motivation:
    personal goals to seek skills and solutions
    Exploiting cooperation:
    working together (cooperative problem solving) to accomplish these goals
  5. There are three important distinctions between traditional and cognitive apprenticeship:
    • in traditional apprenticeship the process is easily observable;
    • in traditional apprenticeship the tasks arise and emerge in the workplace;
    • in traditional apprenticeship the skills to be learned are inherent in the task itself.
  6. To translate the model of traditional apprenticeship to cognitive apprenticeship, experts need to:
    • identify the processes of the task and make them visible to students;
    • situate abstract tasks in authentic contexts, so that students understand the relevance of the work;
    • vary the diversity of situations and articulate the common aspects so that students can transfer what they learn.
      (Collins, Brown and Hollum, 1989a;1991:3)