What is a

Cognitive Apprenticeship

Cognitive apprenticeship involves a master teaching an apprentice the same skill that they have mastered. This approach to human learning hones in on the discrepancies found in teaching. More specifically, it highlights how experts often fail to instruct novices properly. The purpose of cognitive apprenticeship is to allow students to observe, practice, and enact new knowledge and skills that they’ve gleaned from a specialist. Through modeling and coaching, this is achieved.

Cognitive apprenticeship has proven so successful because it covers the three stages of skill development. These include the cognitive stage, the autonomous stage, and the associative stage. The cognitive stage refers to learners acquiring a basic understanding of a skill. Meanwhile, the associative stage seeks to eliminate and correct mistakes that were unknowingly adopted in the previous phase. Finally, the autonomous stage consists of sharpening the skill until it’s seemingly perfect. This is accomplished through repetition and replication.