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Anchored Learning

Anchored learning occurs when students work in teams for several hours or days trying to solve a challenging practical problem that matters to the student. The activity is linked to background knowledge of the learner on a topic that is interesting. The problem is challenging, so the learner needs to engage in problem solving and recruit multiple levels of knowledge and skills.  These activities are coherently organized around solving the practical problem.  Examples of anchored learning are problem-based curricula in medical schools where students work on genuine medical cases and communities of practice where students try to solve problems of pollution in their city.  
  • Implications
    • Anchored learning weaves together many principles of learning in a coherent activity that engages teams of students for many hours and days.  It provides a context for learning that motivates many students and stimulates problem solving and organized social interactions.  
  • References
    • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn (expanded ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.