Rosalie Forrester


Return to:||Etap 623||Cognitive Apprenticeship in Health Professional Education|

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About me

Hi everyone! My name is Rosalie Forrester and I am currently a clinical dental hygienist living on Long Island. I chose the CDIT program because I am interested in transitioning into a career as a college professor with a focus on health science. My interests include strength training, road trips, reading, and wine tasting.

My Topic/Purpose

The topic of this mini-course is to help health professional educators learn about cognitive apprenticeship to improve student learning and understanding. Students in college have achieved a higher level of education in which they have selected courses that will prepare them for their chosen careers. It is important for learners to acquire skills in metacognition because they are used to monitor and regulate reasoning, comprehension, and problem solving, which are vital elements in successful health professional careers. This course will support health professional education instructors in designing instruction based on cognitive apprenticeship that will assist in teaching learners the essential skills of mindfulness and active self-questioning.

The purpose of this mini-course:

• To gain an understanding of the essential concepts of cognitive apprenticeship

• To develop instructional methods that encourage metacognitive abilities in health professional education students

• To design cognitive apprenticeship learning environments

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

• Employ methods of traditional apprenticeship in teaching strategy

• Guide students in effectively and gradually taking on more complex forms of reasoning and performance

• Establish activities that make the metacognitive processes of learning visible for their students

• Develop interventions that will transform students into self-directed and self-regulated lifelong learners

Needs Assessment

Instructional Problem

Traditionally, teaching and learning were accomplished through apprenticeship. Master blacksmiths, seamstresses, or craftspeople would teach their apprentices through a process of demonstration, assistance, and coaching. In such settings, the learner was able to observe and participate in the process of work from beginning to end. The master’s job was to create opportunities for the apprentice to assist in the work and practice new skills under supervision (Darling-Hammond, Austin, Llt, & Martin, n.d.). Apprenticeship was the vehicle for transmitting the knowledge required for expert practice; it was the natural way to learn. In modern times, apprenticeship has largely been replaced by formal schooling (Collins, Brown, & Holum, 1991). Students cannot always see a real purpose for learning and have few opportunities to interact with their teachers and other students in the pursuit of expertise. Cognitive apprenticeship is not a teaching method that gives a formula for instruction; it is an instructional approach that helps teach complex skills and reasoning, through authentic tasks. Teachers must understand how to design and implement these tasks.

What is to be Learned

Teachers will learn what kinds of tasks and projects are appropriate for effective cognitive apprenticeship. They will recognize that tasks should be authentic, representative of the field or domain being pursued, and based on real-world needs and contexts. Cognitive apprenticeship is a carefully structured set of activities designed with end goals in mind and with attention to the individual needs of students (Darling-Hammond, Austin, Llt, & Martin, n.d.). Educators will gain knowledge on how to develop learning activities for their students that are purposeful and goal-oriented, often revolving around the production of substantial, meaningful products. Planning for tasks in a cognitive apprenticeship involves giving careful thought to the skills and understandings necessary to reach those goals. Teachers will consider how to make expert thinking visible. They will learn how to model, scaffold, and coach to support student learning and help students acquire an integrated set of cognitive and metacognitive skills. They will recognize the need to break down a task, to carefully scaffold, and structure activities to guide a cognitive apprenticeship.

The Learners

This course will be used for health professional educators seeking knowledge about how to implement cognitive apprenticeship into their instruction. Not only will learners become knowledgeable about how to apply cognitive apprenticeship in a didactic setting but will be able to hone their modeling, scaffolding and coaching skills in the clinical setting as well.

Instructional Context

Participants will learn content within this mini-course online, in the location of his or her choosing. Delivery of the content will require the use of a computer and a stable Internet connection. Instruction will be based on readings, case studies, and lectures. Participants will be assessed through a series of activities dealing with cognitive apprenticeship scenarios.

Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution

Participants will explore sections of the course that will introduce them to the major components of cognitive apprenticeship. Participants will study and compare the effects of student learning with and without the implementation of cognitive apprenticeship. Participants will explore ways in which to facilitate effective modeling, scaffolding, and coaching in various instructional scenarios. Participants will recognize the appropriate guidance: skill ratio at the various levels of student learning that will gradually progress their students from novice to expert.

Goals of this Mini-Course

The main goal of this mini-course is for participants to learn how to implement, or improve their use of, cognitive apprenticeship in health professional education. By the end of this course, participants will be knowledgeable about the various methods of modeling, scaffolding, and coaching that will encourage visible thinking for their students. Participants will recognize the importance of creating authentic instructional tasks to encourage students' competence and confidence in real-life situations.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Learner Analysis: This course will be used for health professional educators seeking knowledge about how to effectively instruct students using cognitive apprenticeship. Participants will become knowledgeable in teaching their students the skills, in both theory and practice, that are necessary to be competant and qualified health care professionals.

Context for Instruction: Participants will learn content within this mini-course online, in the location of his or her choosing. Delivery of the content will require the use of a computer and a stable Internet connection.

Performance Objectives

Learners will be able to:

• identify the meaning, goals, and strategies of cognitive apprenticeship

• create tasks and projects using cognitive apprenticeship that support health professional competency

• structure activities and properly break down tasks to guide student performance

• establish visible expert thinking through modeling, scaffolding, coaching, articulation, reflection and exploration

Task Analysis

Unit 1: What is cognitive apprenticeship?

• Learners will define cognitive apprenticeship.

• Learners will identify the goals of cognitive apprenticeship.

• Learners will identify strategies of cognitive apprenticeship.

Unit 2: Creating tasks and projects that support competency in health professional education

• Learners will define competency.

• Learners will identify competencies needed in their specific field of health care education (i.e. dental hygiene, nursing, physical/occupational therapy, etc.)

• Learners will describe how cognitive apprenticeship can be utilized in creating field-appropriate competency tasks.

• Learners will create field-appropriate competency tasks.

Unit 3: Guiding student performance

• Identify the difference between guidance and instruction

• Describe how to break down tasks to support student learning

• Recognize how cognitive apprenticeship supports guided learning

Unit 4: Modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration

• Define modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration in cognitive apprenticeship

• Identify ways in which modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration can be used in field-specific health professional education

• Describe how modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration impact visible thinking

• Explain the role of visible thinking in student performance and career preparation

Curriculum Map


References and Resources

Austin, K., Darling-Hammond, L., Lit, I., and Martin, D. (n.d.). Watch it, do it, know it: Cognitive Apprenticeship. Stanford University School of Education. Retrieved from:

Brown, J.S, Collins, A., and Holum, A. (1991). Cognitive apprenticeship: Thinking made visible. The American Educator. Retrieved from:

Collins, A. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship and instructional technology. Center for the Study of Reading. Technical Report No. 474. Retrieved from:

Clyne, B., Daniel, M., Fowler, R., Rougas, S. and Sutton, E. (2015). Cognitive apprenticeship: A roadmap to improve clinical teaching. The Journal of Teaching and Learning Resources.

Heath, M.K. (2017). The cognitive apprenticeship model, backchanneling technology, and reflection in early clinical experiences: A new practice for field-based courses in the professional development schools. School-University Partnerships 10(3): Technology to Enhance PDS. Retrieved from:

Pappas, C. (2015). Instructional design models and theories: The situated cognition theory and the cognitive apprenticeship model. eLearning Indusrty. Retrieved from: