Anchored instruction

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  • Anchored instruction “refers to instruction in which the material to be learned is presented in the context of an authentic event that serves to anchor or situate the material and, further, allows it to be examined from multiple perspectives.” (Barab 2000:5)
  • “Anchored instruction is a major paradigm for technology-based learning that has been developed by the Cognition & Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV) under the leadership of John Bransford.” ( Anchored Instruction, retrieved 13:24, 21 July 2006 (MEST))
  • “Anchored instruction lies within the social constructivist paradigm since small groups work together to understand and solve realistic problems. Anchored instruction is most closely related to the goal-based scenario model. While anchored instruction may also resemble problem-based learning (PBL), it is less open-ended.” [1]

The model


  • Learners are presented "stories" (a case study, a problem, etc.) that encourages learners to perceive / formulate problems.
  • This material and further materials then serve to "anchor" subsequent learning. It also should encourage exploration.


Jasper was the main anchored instruction project at Vanderbilt.

The Jasper series is based on the assumption that thinking is enhanced by access to powerful concepts and not simply through access to a general set of thinking skills. Therefore, Jasper is designed to teach thinking in contexts that are rich in content as well as in the need for general strategies.

Jasper's close cousins are case-based learning, problem-based learning, and project-based learning. More specifically, Jasper series represents an example of problem-based learning that has been modified to make it more useable in K-12 settings. These modifications include the use of a visual story format to present problems, plus the use of "embedded data" and "embedded teaching" to seed the environment with ideas relevant to problem solving. Jasper is also designed to set the stage for subsequent project-based learning. Its overall goal is to help students transform "mere facts" into "powerful conceptual tools."

(Jasper in More Detail, retrieved 13:24, 21 July 2006 (MEST))


  • Jasper Adventure Player and Adventure Maker software programs (available somewhere ??)
  • Delivery System: initially videodisks then CD Roms



  • Barab,S.A. K. E. Hay & T.M. Duffy (2000), Grounded Constructions and How Technology Can Help, CRLT Technical Report No. 12-00, The Center for Research on Learning and Technologyn, Indiana University.
  • Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program description and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27, 291-315.
  • Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. The Jasper Experiment: An exploration of Issues in Learning and Instructional Design. ETR and D, 1992, 40, 65-80
  • Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1993). Anchored instruction and situated cognition revisited. Educational Technology, 33(3), 52-70.
  • Glaser, C. W., & Prestidge, L. K. (1995). Using Technology to Support Special Education Teachers' Implementation of the Theory of Anchored Instruction. Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research
  • The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1997), The Jasper Project Lessons in Curriculum, instruction, Assessment, and Professional Development ISBN: 0-8058-2593-2