A Review of Cognitive Teaching Models

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The purpose of this article is to review from an instructional-design (ID) perspective nine teaching programs developed by cognitive psychologists over the last ten years. Among these models, Collins' cognitive apprenticeship model has the most explicit prescriptions for instructional design. In the article, the cognitive apprenticeship model is analyzed, then components of the model are used as an organizing framework for understanding the remaining models. Differences in approach are noted between traditional ID prescriptions and the cognitive teaching models. Surprisingly, no design strategies were found to be common to all the model programs. Key differences among programs included: (1) problem solving versus skill orientation, (2) detailed versus broad cognitive task analysis, (3) learner versus system control, and (4) error-restricted versus error-driven instruction. The article concludes with an argument for the utility of continuing dialogue between cognitive psychologists and instructional designers.