Cognitive Apprenticeships: An Instructional Design Review

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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This discussion of the relationship between two related disciplines--cognitive psychology and instructional design (ID)--characterizes instructional design as a more applied discipline, which concerns itself more with prescriptions and models for designing instruction, while instructional psychologists conduct empirical research on learning and instructional processes. It is posited that a problem-solving orientation to education is needed if schoo]s are to achieve substantial learning outcomes, and the concept of cognitive apprenticeships, which emphasize returning instruction to settings where worthwhile problems can be worked with and solved, is proposed as a possible solution to this problem. A brief review of ID models focuses on instructional-design theory, component display theory, and elaboration theory, pointing out that some of the teaching models proposed by cognitive researchers bear strong resemblance to traditional ID models. The design elements of the cognitive apprenticeship model are then reviewed and related to traditional ID concepts. Examples of cognitive apprenticeships are given for teaching writing, reading, math, and weather forecasting. It is conclud2d that, even th.:Jugh instructional-design theorists may chafe at the continuing need to revise their theories in light of advances in psychological theory, it is good for both fields for the dialogue to continue.