Category Archives: B. Anchored Instruction Symposium

Video-based anchored instruction to enhance learning

The theoretical framework underpinning the development of the Jasper series is closely related to situated learning (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1993). The creation of the series concludes that the traditional methods of teaching mathematics are inadequate for teaching students with the goal of achieving a conceptual understanding of mathematics. By utilizing anchored instruction, the Jasper Series attempts to create an engaging learning environment for learners that are actively participating.

As explained by CTGV (1993, p52) “the goal was to create interesting, realistic contexts that encouraged the active construction of knowledge by learners”. The series’ anchors were real life scenarios and not merely traditional math problem-solving activities. The learning was designed to encourage both learners and teachers to explore the content (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1993). The role of technology –  interactive videodisc – was to help students easily explore the content and encourage teachers to be a part of the learning community.  The series’ creators intended for a community of learning to be built. Therefore, learners and teachers embody the theory of constructivism.

Video technology promotes an environment of flexible, bite-size positive learning. Learning math concepts can be challenging if it is done with traditional methods. However, video instruction can accommodate a different learning pace for individual learners. For example stop, pause or rewind buttons can allow learners to go back to look at certain points in the content, and replay a segment until the difficult math concepts are understood. We can use videos tailored for bite-size learning. Videos are ideal for conveying the intended learning objectives very effectively in a short time span(Eades, 2015). A video is the most effective medium for communicating information in a short period and the most popular content consumed globally regardless of age (Nielsen, 2015). That means instructors can easily incorporate video technology in math classes and that there will be a short learning curve for both teachers and students because the format is universally accepted. Finally, video-based anchored instruction provides a more motivating environment that enhances students’ problem-solving skills (Shyu, 2000


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1993). Anchored instruction and situated cognition revisited. Educational Technology, 33(3), 52-70.

Eades, J. (2015, June 6). Why Video Is The Best Medium For Microlearning. Retrieved from

Nielsen. (2015). THE EVOLUTION OF DIGITAL VIDEO VIEWERSHIP.   Retrieved from

Shyu, H. Y. C. (2000). Using video‐based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 57-69.

Jasper, anchored instruction and PBL

The theoretical framework that underpins the Jasper series is anchored instruction. Anchored instruction is instruction that is “situated in engaging, problem-rich environments that allow sustained exploration by students and teachers” (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). The Jasper series is a video based instruction format that presents students with a complex problem, which requires many subproblems to be generated and solved for the main complex problem to be addressed. It uses an engaging narrative with embedded data to present the students with all the information they may require to engage with the complex problem. This instructional approach promotes several teaching and learning activities that are central to constructivism. This includes generative learning, collaboration, active learning and engagement, and construction of knowledge.

Certainly the Jasper series could be presented without the use of technology. However technology does enhance the teaching and learning activities mentioned above. For example, the use of video could make the material more engaging due to the increased realism afforded by the video format (though it is a little dated now). This notion is supported by several papers, as highlighted by Taylor and Parsons (2011) in their review of the literature on student engagement. It can also be helpful for those students with learning challenges where an audio only narrative or reading only narrative would present a significant barrier.

Medical education has certainly moved in this direction. During the first two years, we have increased exposure of students to real clinical environments where they would learn though clinical encounters in a situated learning environment. In addition to this, their didactic lectures are taught along side problem-based learning activities, which is essentially anchored instruction. Our school currently does not use a video format, but a written digital document is provided to students in small groups, which gives students a clinical scenario. They then discuss the case to figure out what is going on with the patient. In all groups, the members decide on what further knowledge is needed in order to move forward with the case scenario. During this discussion portion, they are not allowed to use any resources other than their own ideas and experiences, which promotes discussion, collaboration and reflection. Once they have established learning objectives for the group, the first session ends and they have 1-2 days to research their learning objectives (either collaboratively or individually, depending on the group). They then reconvene and discuss the learning objectives before more of the clinical scenario is revealed. Typically, each case is discussed over 2-3 group sessions.

I think that in our problem-based learning groups, technology can be used to enhance collaboration and generative learning. For example, concepts maps may be useful to organize the group’s thoughts in a visual manner, adding to collaboration and generation of ideas. The use of something like Google Docs which affords collaboration asynchronously could also be helpful in collaboration outside of the group meetings. A video format could also be helpful to refine students’ observational skills as this is a critical part of the medical assessment, and again help to create an authentic/realistic environment.


Cognition, Vanderbilt TGA. The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. ETR&D. 1992;40(1):65-80. doi:10.1007/BF02296707.

Taylor, L. & Parsons, J. (2011). Improving Student Engagement. Current Issues in Education,14(1). Retrieved from

Solution to Literacy related Math Difficulties?

  • How does this technology support learning and conversely how might it confound learning? What suggestions do you have for how the Jasper materials or other digital video might be utilized in your context (include suggestions for activities that do not involve the videos)? What research supports your suggestions? How might the video and/or the activities be augmented for children with learning issues in math? How have or can the contemporary digital technologies and/or their websites also support these suggestions for children with learning issues (eg. Prodigy, Desmos, King of Math, Math Bingo, Reflex Math, or others).

Anchored instruction provides instruction that aid in learning by presenting problems that students can relate to or be engaged in through meaningful content like stories or short scenarios. While reading and watching the videos, I actually started to think back on the “Bill Nye: The Science Guy” videos from when I was young, and thought back to how he used to present information in visually rich and meaning context that was easy to “absorb”, though he never really gave us questions/problems to solve, he would post questions that needed answers and would then answer them himself to us(the audience).  Anchored instruction seems quite similar to problem-based learning or inquiry-based learning pedagogies to me. The use of technology in such a learning environment seems to direct “imagination” in some sense by NOT having students imagine the problem.  By presenting problems in a story or scenario that students can understand showing the why, when and how,  then asking students to come up with a solution, this method seems more focused and I can understand why it works.  I have seen many grade school students who struggle with math problems simply because they have trouble understanding the context, and so have trouble “picturing the problem”. Students often read the word problems multiple times but have trouble understanding what the question is asking, and I have seen this occur in students who are Native English speakers or in ELL.  As it’s the form of instruction that works,  even if videos like the Jasper series aren’t used,  activities like hands-on presentations would likely yield similar results.

This instruction method also aids in the development of crucial critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as pointed out in the readings as well, that developers incorporated that into the Jasper series and would have learning goals that “emphasize the importance of helping students -all students- learn to become independent thinkers “. This form of instruction can likely also support children with math learning difficulties as it aids in the presentation of conceptual knowledge in math. Hasselbring(2005) mentioned that students with math difficulties often struggle to make connections in the problems, and would often solve problems from procedural knowledge. Anchored instruction might be able to help them see the connection needed. Math Videos like the ones on Brainpop can likely do the same, though a subscription is needed.



Hasselbring, T. S., Lott, A. C., & Zydney, J. M. (2005). Technology-supported math instruction for students with disabilities: Two decades of research and development. Retrieved December, 12, 2005. Chicago

THE JASPER EXPERIMENT: USING VIDEO TO FURNISH REAL-WORLD PROBLEM-SOLVING CONTEXTS: The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University. (1993). The Arithmetic Teacher, 40(8), 474-478. Retrieved from
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper Experiment: An Exploration of Issues in Learning and Instructional Design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80. Retrieved from


Consider a block of mass m at rest on an inclined plane…

The Jasper Experiment is responding to what I might call the “Block On An Incline” issue:

It is a classic Physics 12 lecture in which students develop an algorithm for analyzing the possible motion of a block that has been placed on sloped surface.  The analysis is completely canned, and stripped of any context, but involves an impressive collage of math and reasoning skills.  It is considered a traditional pinnacle of achievement to solve these problems in the study of dynamics.  The group at Vanderbilt point out that skills or tools transmitted by a teacher in the absence of context or discussion are “inert knowledge” (CTGV, 1992a, p. 67).  I completely agree.  Their main idea is effectively:


Authentic, complex problems, they argue, are key to use because the act of exploring the solution space of a problem (e.g. What is possible?  Can I estimate values?) is a more relevant ability than memorizing algorithms.  In a related study of complex problem solving, Vye et al. (1997) note that students of traditional classrooms are good at calculating things, but pretty weak problem solvers.  Collaborative work, they find, has the potential to improve the quality of problem solving.  Effectively, if the effort is focused and roles are understood, groups come up with much better solutions to problems than individuals.

Over a decade later, Park and Park (2012) worry that the complex and open form of problem and project based learning allows students to spend too much time on failed ideas.  This lost time means fewer topics are covered and their toolkit of knowledge is garbage.  Their fix is to structure the problem solving to cut out the failures, which is ultimately a return to algorithms disguised as real world problems.  This recommendation doesn’t deal with the original Jasper issue that students have trouble identifying what sub-skills are required to solve a problem because of lack of exposure to these types of questions.

The contemporary videos in this question set (c.f. Khan Academy etc.) are not Jasper-type videos.  Instead, they form a fantastic repository of guided practice for the many specific sub-skills that may pop up while teachers get on with helping students learn how to select the right tools for the job.  I use them frequently.

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992a). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80.

Vye, Nancy J.; Goldman, Susan R.; Voss, James F.; Hmelo, Cindy; Williams, Susan (1997). Complex mathematical problem solving by individuals and dyads. Cognition and Instruction, 15(4), 435-450.

Park, K., & Park, S. (2012). Development of professional engineers' authentic contexts in blended learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(1), E14-E18.

Anchored Instruction through Collaboration

The perceived issue the Jasper materials are responding to is a lack of engagement and mathematical understanding for learners when it comes to mathematical concepts. The purpose of the videos is to create learning opportunities that are anchored in meaningful and engaging technology contexts, using anchored instruction. Anchored instruction was “designed to overcome the problem of developing ‘inert knowledge’ – knowledge learned in school that cannot be retrieved when it is needed for another situation” (Zydney, Bathke & Hasselbring, 2014). The Jasper Project uses technology to motivate students to problem-solve as a team and solve relevant chronological problems within a story-line. The program motivates students to help them learn to think and reason about complex problems (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). Using a constructivist approach, students are encouraged to construct their own understanding of mathematical concepts, while developing problem solving and critical thinking skills. I think this is a relevant problem in today’s classrooms, because students often don’t see or make the connection between curricular competencies and real-life scenarios. When students can make connections, it provides deeper learning opportunities for students to explore concepts, take risks, and test a variety of problem-solving strategies (Hickey, D., Moore, A., & Pellegrin, J, (2001). In my experience, students who are English Language Learners (ELL) struggle with math concepts that are solely print-based problem-solving activities. These videos provide opportunities for students to build upon concepts and work in a team, developing communication skills.

In one study, students who used the Jasper materials showed slightly larger gains on assessments (Hickey, D., Moore, A. & Pellegrin, J, (2001). With the advancements made in technology, updated versions of the Jasper Project could be extremely beneficial. Using current topics of interest for elementary learners, paired with apps accessed on iPads, could create deeper learning experiences. Students would have access to the video series, and could possibly share ideas and debate with other classes through Skype, similar to a Mystery Skype ( Taking this a step further, apps could offer virtual reality opportunities for students to be completely immersed in the problem their team faces, creating an active, rather than passive learning environment.

The contemporary videos that are available for math instruction from Khan Academy address the issue, but fall short because they lack the group collaborative effort provided by the Jasper Project. “The model presented by the Khan Academy proposes a flipped classroom where students take responsibility for the acquisition of key concepts at home and then in class essentially complete extension tasks and gauge understanding” (Lenihan, E., 2013). In inner-city classrooms, students are not able to work through concepts at home because of the lack of technology. The Jasper materials utilize classroom activities and time.


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992b). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27(3), 291-315.

Hickey, D. T., Moore, A. L. & Pellegrin, J.W. (2001). The motivational and academic consequences of elementary mathematics environments: Do constructivist innovations and reforms make a difference? American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 611-652

Janet Mannheimer Zydney, Arne Bathke & Ted S. Hasselbring (2014) Finding the optimal guidance for enhancing anchored instruction, Interactive Learning Environments, 22:5, 668-683, DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2012.745436

Lenihan, E. (2013). A theatre for action: Adopting the khan academy in support of a classroom model in the MYP. The International Schools Journal, 32(2), 66.


Jasper targets passivity

The Jasper materials respond to passivity in learning working through canned problems towards correct solutions isolated from context. Jasper incorporates video-based instruction providing generative activities and cooperative situations, whose supporting theoretical framework is that of anchored instruction, where teaching is contextualized in problem-rich environments that engage sustained exploration (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992a). While traditional questioning selects important data beforehand, numbers presented during clips might be pertinent, asking learners to differentiate what is meaningful for the problem, categorizing and prioritizing optimal solutions. Rather than isolating content, Jasper components are posed in realistic context to promote independent thinkers that can identify personal issues, moving learners from passive inert knowledge to constructivist exploration of misconceptions. Such problem-based learning enables self-generated information that is better remembered than transmitted knowledge. Unlike Khan Academy, videos can be segmented to make complexity manageable, employing media platform to accommodate poor readers with realistic narratives, enhancing opportunities to develop confidence, generating sub-problems to extend exploration. Video disc format enables controlled access, searching back and freeze-frame, to identify additional relevant data. With multiple rescue solutions possible, students communicate reasoning cooperatively, posing analog problems to master skills in context. Rather than errorless learning, authentic problems offer frameworks to correct preconceptions, whose real-world complexity produces motivation to create inquiry communities for improved interaction.

Specifics from the videos: Trip planning requires multiple considerations of fuel consumption, tank capacity and wind speeds, where headwind definitions are introduced in context using easy numbers for computation. Communication employs reasoning using analogies to change perspectives while describing historical artifacts of real people. Learners consider whether the most popular solution is always the best, which varies between schools and classes given priorities. Considering other variables like expenses, risk and time prompts students to rework plans to iteratively make them better. Solutions pose new ideas for challenges, sifting through information to decide what factors are important.

Groups work through problems on a just-in-time basis, watching videos without knowing what problems need solving, evaluating variables for multiple plans. Moving from stone-age designs to related adventures extends canned problems using what-if questioning (Biswas et al., 2001). Coaches scaffold guided discovery in exploratory setting, varying interaction styles to create learning opportunities, generalizing smart tools between problems. Learning occurs during teaching as well, doing reverse mentoring where tutors learn alongside tutees. When given the possibility for self-explanation, students tend to understand content better while preparing to teach. Differing experiences generate different questions, collaboratively working through multiple paths with conflicting solutions. Rather than viewing learning as fact accumulation, inert associations can be integrated constructively to consider multiple solution possibilities. Students learn through social activity to evaluate alternatives, whose problem-solving space improves performance, employing thinking-aloud during solving process in making cooperative solutions (Vye et al., 1997).


Biswas, G. Schwartz, D. Bransford, J. & The Teachable Agent Group at Vanderbilt (TAG-V) (2001). Technology support for complex problem solving: From SAD environments to AI. In K.D. Forbus and P.J. Feltovich (Eds.)Smart Machines in Education: The Coming Revolution in Education Technology. AAAI/MIT Press, Menlo, Park, CA. [Retrieved October 22, 2012, from:

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992a). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80.

Vye, Nancy J.; Goldman, Susan R.; Voss, James F.; Hmelo, Cindy; Williams, Susan (1997). Complex mathematical problem solving by individuals and dyads. Cognition and Instruction, 15(4), 435-450.

Anchored Instruction…Where Did it Go?

The Jasper series were specifically made to address the issue the NCTM recommended be changed; questions needed to be more open-ended and span across many subjects. The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992a) made the Jasper scenarios/videos based around the theory of anchored instruction. Anchored instruction was introducing realistic and problem-based situations for students to solve during mathematics (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992b).

I believe the Jasper series changed the way mathematics was taught in the classroom. No longer did mathematics need to be taught using strictly rote memorization or problems from a textbook. The inclusion of technology and problem-based learning made for a dynamic and community based approach to the educational setting. Students, as demonstrated in the Jasper articles, were clearly engaged with the problem and were able to come to their own conclusions after much deliberation with their group members in an “active instead of passive learning environment” (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992a, p.475).

Recently, math instruction and support materials such as Khan Academy are similarly trying to engage students using TELE’s. I took a look at the programs listed, some of which I’d never heard of, and most of the programs are geared towards individual participation and growth. I do not believe that they can be considered examples of anchored instruction or, as Shyu (2000) mentions, situated learning. While the programs utilize technology to share mathematical problems, they are not inquiry based nor are they student-centered. I believe the CTGV (1992) did a great job at including technology in a meaningful way. While Khan Academy and the other programs absolutely have merit, they are not encouraging students to work together to solve real-life problems.


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992a). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80.

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992b). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27(3), 291-315.

Shyu, H. Y. C. (2000). Using video‐based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 57-69.

Problem Solving the the New Curriculum

I was extremely intrigued by this week’s focus on the Jasper Project and early Anchored Instruction TELEs.

The perceived issue the Jasper Project was trying to address was the shift in math instruction from traditional teacher-directed content teaching (without context), to problem solving and the meaningful construction and application of knowledge by students to, and within, realistic and complex situations.

I agree with this shift in focus and believe that the Jasper project was on the right track to addressing this issue. Jasper’s engaging videos (though now a bit dated) were an interesting starting point to address this. The videos gave students context and the ability to visualize often times difficult to understand information and actively apply this information within a variety of scenarios. The “Adventures of Jasper Woodbury – Rescue at Boone’s Meadow” (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992) challenged student to utilize knowledge in science and math and apply this knowledge to plan and execute an eagle rescue. Results from this study and other videodisc-based instruction (Shyu, 2000) have demonstrated a significant improvement in student problem-solving skills, performance, and attitudes toward mathematics.

The new British Columbia curriculum I believe is also addressing this focus; encouraging teachers to look cross-curricular and teach with anchored instruction. Curriculum such as Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies encourage problem-solving, inquiry, and collaboration. Even within Science and Math, an emphasis is placed on real-world context and application. It is no longer acceptable to teach isolated skills or content. “The deep understanding and application of knowledge is at the centre of the new model, as opposed to the memory and recall of facts that previously shaped education around the globe for many decades” (B.C. Ministry of Education, 2017).

While I am not familiar with all of the contemporary videos available for math instruction and support technology, sites such as Khan Academy do not seem to provide anchored instruction like the Jasper Series does. From my recollection, Khan Academy provides tutorials on concepts (how to multiply and divide fractions for example) as opposed to the application of these concepts within complex situations.

Moving forward, I am interested in how current technologies may be utilized to provide anchored instructions in classrooms. What technologies have another teacher’s used? Did you consider them “successful”? (Success as defined by you in you classroom).



British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2017). B.C.’s New Curriculum. Retrieved from

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper Series as an Example of Anchored Instruction: Theory, Program Description, and Assessment Data, Educational Psychologist, 27(3), 291-215.

Shyu, H.Y.C. (2000). Using video-based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(7), 57-69.



Motivation is key

After reading the articles on anchored instruction and watching the videos, I feel like anchored instruction is deeply rooted in designing a learning experience that motivates students to apply curriculum in a meaningful way to real life problem solving situations that they can related to.  In the Jasper project, the videos were able to provide students with a visualization of a problem to grab their attention and pull them into the problem.  The videos are able to provide students with an opportunity to explore a topic without ever feeling like they were just doing math or science. Gravaso et al (2011) describes how important it is for students to develop an ability to analyze data and develop statistical reasoning skills.  Their study further shows that teacher-centred learning is not always the best approach or a necessary approach to students learning.  Students in the study by Gravaso et al (2011) demonstrated that they were able to solve problems with little teacher intervention.  I’m wondering how anchored instruction is able to adapt to the diversity of learners in the classroom.  I have a class with some students who are super weak in mathematics and some that are quite advanced. In an assignment like the Jasper project, it seems like different videos would have to be given to the same grouping of students. I wonder if a mathematical model to follow for problems solving should be presented prior to commencing anchored instruction. Some student may be motivated to figure out the problem, but some may not even know where to start.


Prado, M. M., & Gravoso, R. S. (2011). Improving high school students’ statistical reasoning skills: A case of applying anchored instruction. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher (De La Salle University Manila), 20(1)

Issues with Jasper

I’d like to tackle the first question posted in this week’s discussion activity:

What perceived issue or problem are the Jasper materials responding to? Do you agree that this is an issue or problem? What does the current literature that you have read say about this issue? How is this issue addressed in the design of the Jasper materials? In what ways do contemporary videos available for math instruction and their support materials (c.f. Khan Academy, Crash Course, BBC Learn “Classroom Clips” and “Academic Earth”, video clips in Number Worlds, or others) address or not address these issues?

What perceived issue or problem are the Jasper materials responding to?

Jasper series videos respond to the lack of interesting real world problems in the classroom.  The videos provide a creative way for students to work together and solve complex problems.  The creators even go further and suggest the students are not alone in this adventure by suggesting other schools and other students just like them are trying right now to save the eagle!

Do you agree that this is an issue or problem?

Yes and no. I do agree with the issue that classrooms need to have more instruction that places students in an environment where they have to work together to solve complex problems. However, without the proper support and background knowledge, it becomes just too easy for students to construct the wrong kind of knowledge.  Park and Park (2012) when commenting on Problem-Based Learning (PBL), that is essentially the category the Jasper series falls under, argue that, “…students [fail] to learn essential concepts and principles, leaving them unable to construct the “right” knowledge required to solve real-life engineering tasks” (p. E14).  These researchers criticize PBL in the engineering context because often times students fail to grasp the basic  knowledge, that can lead them to construct knowledge in the group activities that may not even be accurate, let alone help them in any way on their job site.

Dana Bjornson and Darren Low also made great points in the post by Dana on depending on PBL as Dana suggested, “I would urge educators to digest methodologies like Jasper in small quantities.  These approaches are not the magic pill that will solve all of our problems” (Bjornson, 2017). Darren also showed his reluctance in depending on Jasper series completely as he suggested he would be, “…a little more hesitant to use the series solely as a method of teaching a core concept” (Bjornson, 2017).

So in that terms, no, I don’t agree that the Jasper series is the only solution to help students learn.  For the grade five to eight students: it is important to teach them basic math skills first so they have the knowledge to start problem solving on how to save the eagle.

What does the current literature that you have read say about this issue?

Park and Park (2012) assert the claim that PBL helps students become effective problem solvers but warn of “…their ineffectiveness to equip students with the basic and essential knowledge for problem-solving” (p. E17).  On the contrary, there are researchers that are proponents of PBL and the Jasper Series.  The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV), creators of the Jasper series frame the need for this problem-based activity due to “…the concern about existing tests…not [seeming] very authentic” (CTGV, 1992).  They also “…emphasize the benefits of anchoring or situating instruction in meaningful problem-solving contexts that allow one to simulate in the classroom some of the advantages of apprenticeship learning” (p. 69).  Moreover, the CTGV group (1992) explains use of the Jasper series helps “…students and teachers [make] learning more meaningful because they understand when, why, and how to use various procedures, concepts, and skills” (p. 78).  Shyu (2000) conducted a study to ascertain the effects of video based anchored instruction in Taiwanese classrooms, a culture where memorization and studying to the test or exam are highly valued for students to attend the best universities.  Shyu (2000) discovered “…video-based anchored instruction [provided] a more motivating environment that [enhanced] students’ problem-solving skills” (p. 57).  So it appears the literature summarizes that indeed PBL is valuable to teach students problem solving, however, I understand that without basic and background knowledge, first, problem solving may just as easily lead to misunderstandings and misconceptions while trying to construct knowledge on concepts.

How is this issue addressed in the design of the Jasper materials?

The issue of providing interesting, authentic, real world like problems is addressed in the Jasper Series by giving students a story.  A story about saving an eagle that is trapped and can be saved only by using an air plane called ultralight.  The creators give students many different scenarios on gas mileage, gas tank capacity, headwind, and tailwind to help students problem solve at a high level.

In what ways do contemporary videos available for math instruction and their support materials address or not address these issues?

I’m not sure how well Khan Academy or Crash Course are similar to Jasper Series as these materials almost entirely focus on telling the information in a visually appealing way that would help students remember.  They don’t necessarily place students into real world problem situations.  These materials essentially are more for review rather than learning something new.

Question for peer feedback:

Now that we’ve seen the Jasper Series and anchored instruction in action, how would you use it in the classroom? As an introduction to a complex topic or as practice in problem solving after learning some basics first?

Thank you,



Bjornson, D. (2017) My Love-Hate Relationship With The Jasper Series. Retrieved from:

CTGV. (1992). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80.

Park, K., & Park, S. (2012). Development of professional engineers’ authentic contexts in blended learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(1), E14-E18.

Shyu, H. Y. C. (2000). Using video‐based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 57-69.