Summary: Situated cognition is the theory that people’s knowledge is embedded in the activity, context, and culture in which it was learned. It is also referred to as “situated learning.”
Originators & proponents: John Seely Brown, Allan Collins, Paul Duguid
Keywords: activity, authentic domain activity, authentic learning, cognitive apprenticeship, content-specific learning, context, culture, everyday learning, knowledge, legitimate peripheral participation, socio-cultural learning, social construction of knowledge, social interaction, teaching methods
Situated cognition (Brown, Collins, & Duguid)
Situated cognition is a theory which emphasizes that people’s knowledge is constructed within and linked to the activity, context, and culture in which it was learned.
Learning is social and not isolated, as people learn while interacting with each other through shared activities and through language, as they discuss, share knowledge, and problem-solve during these tasks.
For example, while language learners can study a dictionary to increase their vocabulary, this often solitary work only teaches basic parts of learning a language; when language learners talk with someone who is a native speaker of the language, they will learn important aspects of how these words are used in the native speaker’s home culture and how the words are used in everyday social interactions.