Design Pattern of techniques used to reinforce community of practice and realise cognitive apprenticeship

Abstract (english Version)

The following article focuses on design patterns as a potential descriptive presentation form for prototypes of techniques in teachers` professional development, which were developed by educational design research. The context is continuing professional development of teachers. It is about expert coaching for the use of digital technologies in classroom. The design patterns include important techniques for the implementation of the cognitive apprenticeship model. Alongside the presentation the research activity for optimization of the prototypes will be described. Finally there are examples of the developed design pattern.

Abstract (german Version)

Der folgende Beitrag thematisiert eine mögliche Darstellung der über Educational Design Research entwickelten Prototypen von Lehrerfortbildungsmethoden in Form von Design Pattern (Didaktischen Entwurfsmustern). Der Kontext sind Lehrerfortbildungen in Form von Expertencoaching für den Einsatz von digitalen Medien im Unterricht. Die Design Pattern enthalten Methoden, die für die Umsetzung des Cognitive Apprenticeship Modells wichtig sind. Neben ihrer Darstellung wird das  methodische Vorgehen zur Optimierung des Prototypen kurz beschrieben. Abschließend werden Praxisbeispiele der entwickelten ‘Design Pattern’ vorgestellt.

Coaching with cognitive apprenticeship in using technology in classroom

Teachers need continuing professional development for successful technology adoption, because the actual use of technology in classroom teaching lacks quality and quantity. Cognitive apprenticeship (Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Collins, Brown & Newman, 1989) and professional learning communities (DuFour & DuFour, 2012; Stoll, Bolam, McMahon, Wallace & Thomas, 2006) tend to influence skills, like technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK; Koehler & Mishra, 2009), but also beliefs, attitudes and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977). By modelling the experts shows the teachers new instructional repertoires for using flipped classroom and wikis in classroom. In the process of scaffolding they learn to adapt it to their personal classroom teaching style, while the coach helps to solve upcoming problems. The flipped classroom method consists of providing videos for homework to gain more time for student centered learning in classroom (Bergmann & Sams, 2012; Spannagel, 2012). The technique of writing collaborative hypertexts enriched with multimedia (wikis; Döbeli Honneger & Notari, 2013) in the classroom realize constructivist ideas and teaches students a knowledge management tool.

Some characteristics of efficient teachers’ professional development (TPD) are long-term nature, domain specific, active learning, embedded in curricula, reinforces collaboration, giving feedback, focuses on teacher cognition and motivation (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss & Shapley, 2007; Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, & Fung, 2007; Lipowsky, 2010).

Design Pattern

Quality features of TPD are not domain-specific and very general. They have to be adapted to coaching teachers in using technology in classrooms.  This leads to the main research question “How coaching of teachers in integrating technology in classrooms has to be designed?”.

To answer the research question the educational design research method was used (Plomb & Nieveen, 2013; see also Gravemeijer, 1994; Edelson, 2002; Reinmann, 2014). The assessment was realized by a mixed methods design. The research methods for the development of the prototypes were direct observations, some recordings of the coaching sessions, interviews with the participants and an external audit with coaching experts. Afterwards content analyses (Kuckartz, 2014) led to design pattern (Wedekind, 2015; Ecker, Müller & Zylka, 2011). The aim of design pattern is to share good practices and by this take part of sharing knowledge within the TPD community. The template for the design pattern is a synthesis of Wedekind (2015) and Ecker, Müller & Zylka (2011) and has got the following structure.

P = {title, version, author, conditions, solution, further aspects, problem, advantages, disadvantages, examples, requirements, further information, references, material}

That gives the ‘educating the educators community’ the possibility to use, adapt and improve the published design pattern.

The following pattern are part of reinforcement of community of practice and realise cognitive apprenticeship. The first two pattern are superordinated. Cognitive Apprenticeship should start without student by the technique ‘actionbased learning’ so that the teachers get to know the topic of flipped classroom and get confidence. Than teachers set their individual goals for their class. They can choose to realize their goals alone or with the coach (cognitive apprenticeship). After the implementation the teachers share their best practices in the coaching session. To conclude this session teacher plan their next steps.

Design Pattern (english version)

  • Cognitive Apprenticeship
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • learning by doing
  • Setting goals
  • Best practice sharing
  • Planning next steps

Praxisbeispiele (german version)

  • Cognitive Apprenticeship
  • Wissensgemeinschaften
  • learning by doing
  • Ziele formulieren
  • Erfahrungsschätze teilen
  • Plan B


This study is part of the research program „ProfiL – teachers’ continuing professional development“ and is funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg.


Special thanks to Julia Werner for supporting the translation!


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