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Anchored Instruction

An anchor is something that keeps things focused or steady. Anchored instruction is an inquiry-based approach to learning. It can provide the focal point or be the catalyst for meaningful activities. Students are provided with scenarios, realistic case studies, and/or specific problems to solve. Through information exploration, group discussion, and collaborative projects, students address meaningful questions.

Developed by John Bransford in the late 1980s while working with laserdisc technology, anchored learning environments invite students to explore situations, identifying embedded data, and solve complex, authentic problems. Students become authors by "writing the end of the story."

Books, videos, photographs, CD-ROM, and websites can all provide the focal point for catalyst for activities. Many WebQuests follow this anchored approach to instruction.

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Anchored Instruction from TIP: Theories

Anchored Instruction from Virginia Tech

Crews, T., Biswas, G., Goldman, S., & Bransford, J. (1997). Anchored Instruction. In Anchored Interactive Learning Environments. (PDF)

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