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Context-Based Learning

• Applying it to what you know.

• Social interactions.
Situated cognition
• Learning is based in our social interactions. We use social tools to
teach others (modeling, social learning theory) Experiential –
“hands-on”, but more than that. Situated cognition depends upon
social interactions, discussions.
• May be formal or informal.
• In experiential learning, we can learn alone. Situated cognition
requires interaction with others -- live person. Often occurs
through incidental learnings.
• Psychological learning – learning about our own selves often
occurs through situated cognition.
• Group therapy may be a situated cognition experience.
Cognitive Apprenticeship
• More focus on interpersonal, personal, and community processes
are important.
• Usually occurs on one-on-one basis. Mentor/mentee. Teacher
interns, medical interns. Journeyman/Master
• The apprentice is aspiring to do what the “teacher” is doing.
Communities of Practice
• More experienced and less experienced people learn together in a
• Share a common interest – shared goal, shared resources.
• Shared-Decision Making – teachers and staff were given power to
make decisions concerning the school.
How We Can Use These Concepts
• Collaborative teaching – Teachers may have more interaction.
Middle-school model. A team of teachers would share the same
students, they would have a common planning period so they could
• Collaborative teaching – common topics across subjects, teachers
made common curriculum.. Took turns teaching students. One
class period divided into different topics.
• University seminars – the same topic is explored by different
• Teachers may meet in committees – accreditation agencies require
collaboration within the school and across agencies.
• Problems – logistics. Getting people together to meet. Often
limited in time.
• On-line communities. More fluid, membership changes, more
• Can motivate students to do collaborative learning. Peer reviews.
• Parallelograms in math – teach students how to find area and volume
of a given parallelogram, and then send them into their homes and
communities to find different examples, discuss in small group
• Writer’s conference – learned during dinner conversations. Helps in
validating experienced.
• Through modeling and scaffolding (in cognitive apprenticeships),
teachers can guide the students into learning.
– Formalized the steps of scaffolding. The teacher intitally gives a lot
of support, and gradually withdraws that support until eventually the
learner can do it on her or his own.
– The basic unit of instruction is the “child in context”
– Learning is social in nature and the basic tool for learning is
– To teach, you need to find the learner’s “zone of proximal
development” – where they are ready to learn.
– (1) Model (2) Break down task into specific steps (3) Marking the
critical features (4) Have them perform some of the task, eventually
they will do all of it. (5) Direction maintenance. Keeping them
focused on the task. (6) Frustration control.