How To


Anchored instruction is a major paradigm for technology-based learning that has been developed by the Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderb ilt (CTGV) under the leadership of John Bransford (now at the University of Washington). The initial focus of the work was on the development of interactive videodisc tools that encouraged students and teachers to pose and solve complex, realistic problems. The video materials serve as "anchors" (macro-contexts) for all subsequent learning and instruction. As explained by CTGV (1993, p52):

"The design of these anchors was quite different from the design of videos that were typically used in education...our goal was to create interesting, realistic contexts that encouraged the active construction of knowledge by learners. Our anchors were stories rather than lectures and were designed to be explored by students and teachers. "

Principles of Anchored Instruction

Learning and teaching activities should be designed around an “anchor” which should be some sort of case-study or problem situation.

Curriculum materials should allow exploration by the learner (e.g., interactive videodisc programs).

Stages of Anchored Instruction

Phase One: Introduce the anchor.
Phase Two: Develop shared experience around the anchor.
Phase Three: Expand the anchor.
Phase Four: Use knowledge as tools for problem-solving.
Phase Five: Work on projects related to anchor
Phase Six: Share what was learned.

Advantages of Anchored Instruction

Everyone involved with a common background about subject.
Visual and hands-on aspects allow poor readers to participate in class discussion.
Facilitates communication among students.
Students are free to discover new issues about subject.

Challenges of Anchored Instruction

Teacher must change role from “provider of information” to coach and/or fellow learner.
Lesson plans are not fully scripted.
How to help students without being overly directive.
How to fit AI into existing curriculum and make sure it meets needs regarding mandated testing.