CTGV (the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1990) explained that
anchored instruction as instruction that "is anchored (situated) in videodisc-based,
problem-solving environments that teachers and students can explore. The ultimate
goals of anchored instruction are to foster learners' problem solving skills
and to help students to become independent thinkers and learners (CTGV, 1990).
Anchored instruction was developed to solve the problem of inert knowledge,
which is thought as an arbitrary set of procedures or facts.
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV) proposed to
establish a learning environment with rich contextual information and affordance
of authentic problem solving experience in order to help students to see the
need for new learning. Thus, knowledge is a means or a tool to the ends instead
of the ends.
Thus, anchored instruction has the following the essential components
- Video-based macrocontexts as anchors: Anchored instruction situates instruction
in the rich context of meaningful authentic problem-solving environment, provides
kinds of problems and opportunities that experts in various areas encounter,
as well as helps students explore the knowledge that the expert use as tools
- Simulation of apprenticeship that comprises authentic tasks
- Videodisc formats, which are used because of the following reasons
- Visual format can help students to develop pattern recognition skills
- Videos allows students to explore dynamic, visual and spatial representation
of the problem and information as to form their mental models of the problem
- Videodisc has random-access capabilities that enable students to explore
the information from different perspectives.
- Goal-oriented problem solving process: Students are challenged
to engage in problem finding and problem solving activities. Students must
identify major goals, generate the sub-problem that represent obstacles to
the goal, and devise strategies to deal with various subproblems
Examples of the Anchored Instruction
- The Young Sherlock Project
- The Jasper Series: Jasper Woodbury Problem Solving Series is an example
of a video-based instructional macro-context for complex problem generation
and problem solving. CTGV (1992) listed seven design features underlying the
- Video-based format
- Narrative with realistic problems
- Generative Format, i.e. the stories end and students must generate the
problems to be solved
- Embedded data design, i.e. all the data needed to solve the problems
are in the video
- Problem complexity, each adventurer involves a problem of at least 14
- Pairs related adventure: providing extra practice on core schema (the
invariant and variant structures across the pair) to help transfer
- Links across the curriculum: Help extend mathematical thinking to other
areas, encourage the integration of knowledge, support information findings
The instructional design principles underlying the anchored instruction
- Instruction highlights the use of knowledge to help students to see the
needs of learning the new information and set up the learning goals.
- Students are encouraged to identify their own questions to the problem,
to set up their own goals, and issues when they explore the anchors, a problem
solving environment in a videodisc format, to identify relevant information
and to come up with solutions.
- Teachers need to learn to give control to students letting students to establish
their learning goals. Teachers are no longer authoritative sources of knowledge,
but facilitators and guides to support students' problem solving process,
such as helping them to identify their goals.
CTGV (1993) argued that anchors are macro-contexts that consist
of rich information and are complex to be viewed from several perspectives.
It is different from the micro-contexts, that are individual examples that are
used to illustrate a particular dimension from a specific perspective.
- It is more manageable for teachers to organize instruction around anchors
than to find all the resources necessary to accomplish actual-community-based
- It provides opportunities to begin with information-rich anchors
- It equalizes the preparation of the students for the project: providing
a common ground of shared knowledge that facilitates active participation
by students as well as by other members of the community.
CTGV. (1990). Anchored instruction and its relationship to situated
cognition. Educational Researcher, 19 (6), 2-10.
CTGV. (1993). Anchored Instruction and Situated Cognition Revisited.
Educational Technology, 33 (3). P. 52-70.