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The tutorial as cognitive apprenticeship : developing discipline-based thinking

posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by R Parkes, Nona MuldoonNona Muldoon
Tutorials are a pedagogical cornerstone of on-campus academic learning environments. They are frequently constructed as the complement to a lecture program, and remain a default feature of contemporary courses in higher education. Their purposes are many and varied, and it is beyond the scope of this chapter to present the kind of comprehensive survey that would be required to do justice to the many forms and structures that tutorials take in the contemporary academy. However, one feature that all tutorials have in common, regardless of their structure, is the opportunity they provide for students to interact closely with a disciplinary expert. While we recognise this is not their only purpose, it is this opportunity presented by tutorials that we want to focus upon in this chapter. This way of thinking about tutorials builds upon the argument made in Chapter 4, where the concept of curriculum alignment was presented as the means by which learning experiences and associated pedagogies could be organised to facilitate the development of complex disciplinary understandings. We see the tutorial as an important space within which complex disciplinary understandings can be made visible through careful learning design. To make clear how tutorials might operate to build complex disciplinary understandings, we explore the tutorial within a learning design framework called ‘cognitive apprenticeship’.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)



Cantwell RH; Scevak JJ

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ACER Press

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Camberwell, Vic.

Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Learning and Teaching Education Research Centre (LTERC); Office of Learning and Teaching; University of Newcastle;

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