Cognitive Apprenticeship in Orthopaedic Surgery: Updating a Classic Educational Model

Bennet A. Butler*, Cameron M. Butler, Terrance D. Peabody

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To define cognitive apprenticeship and describe how it can be applied to orthopedic education. Design: Traditional apprenticeships have been used through history as a teaching model for wide variety of skills. These apprenticeships are characterized by practical, on-the-job training in which the apprentice observes and assists a master in the completion of a task, and thereby learns the skills needed to complete that task on his or her own. Results: Cognitive apprenticeship is differentiated from the traditional apprenticeship model primarily by its educational goals. Cognitive apprenticeships are used to teach skills which require internal though processes which cannot be readily observed externally by the teacher or the student. Conclusion: Here, we review the history of the cognitive apprenticeship concept, its basic principles, its applications to a wide variety of educational circumstances, and its potential use a framework for developing orthopedic curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-935
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • education
  • surgical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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