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This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, June 2017
Anchored instruction is a form of situated instruction where teaching is anchored in (and through) the use of real problems and contexts so that learners can explore possible (or real) solutions. Anchored instruction is a form of social constructivism and related to situated learning and problem-based learning. As such, anchored instruction invites the social participation of learners especially through the use of technology such as short video segments (8-to-12 minutes) which are then used as a starting point for discussion and understanding. In classrooms using AI, students work together to formulate strategies to solve problems embedded in the anchoring activity. As the problem is of interest to students, they work together to solve it. Although anchored instruction resembles problem-based methods, it is less open-ended, and more prescriptive. However, it is useful in directing students through specific tasks.
Anchored instruction should be viewed as a major paradigm for technology-based learning. Original work on this model was conducted by the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt which found that anchored instruction is "...(situated) in video-based, problem-solving environments that teachers and students can explore. Its goal is to foster problem-solving and to help students become independent thinkers". Its initial focus was the development of interactive videodiscs that encouraged students and teachers to pose and solve complex problems. The videos serve as "anchors" to generate problem-solving and learning. AI was also developed to remedy inert knowledge i.e., knowledge that is inflexible, or applicable only to a few situations. In 2012, multimedia, web-media and other interactive technologies can be used for AI.
One of the goals of anchored instruction is for students to become autonomous. It is essential that instructional designers and teachers interact with students in order to build that autonomy. Students should therefore work on problems in small groups, and eventually report their solutions to the entire class. During their reports, students can discuss the pros and cons of various. One of the benefits of AI is that students are able to understand problems more deeply by exploring the relationship among pertinent variables. AI helps students to learn more about the issues that subject or domain experts typically encounter and get to see how they might identify, represent and solve problems. Most groups will struggle in using AI. The instructor must also learn through experience when to provide strategic support to their students and when to let them find their own way.
Design principles of anchored instruction
The instructional design principles underlying the anchored instruction are:
Anchors are macro-contexts that consist of rich information, and differ from micro-contexts which are individual examples used to illustrate a particular learning dimension. It is ultimately more manageable for teachers to organize instruction around anchors than to find all the resources necessary to accomplish community-based projects. Anchors equalize the preparation of the students, and provide common ground of shared knowledge to facilitate participation.