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Instructional scaffolding or simply known as scaffolding in education is defined as a guidance or support from teachers, instructors or other knowledgeable persons that facilitate students to achieve their goals in learning. Conceptually, scaffolding means providing students with instructions during the early stage of learning before slowly shifting the responsibility to them as they develop their own understanding and skills. As technology extends learning from classroom to learning communities, same goes to the concept of scaffolding. The scaffolding is no longer implemented via face to-face instruction that literally exists between a teacher and students in a classroom. Currently, the form of instructions that emerges between teachers and students is mediated through technology and the learning communities exist in the online settings. Thus, it is important to acknowledge the suitable form of support required for the students, especially in an online learning environment. The aim of this meta-analysis is to investigate the types of scaffolding that could be implemented in an online learning environment together with its potential in validating students' success in an online learning setting.
Instructional Scaffolding in Online Learning Environment: A Meta-Analysis
Nurul Farhana Jumaat
Department of Educational Sciences, Mathematics and
Creative Multimedia,
Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
81310, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.
Zaidatun Tasir
Department of Educational Sciences, Mathematics and
Creative Multimedia,
Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
81310, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.
AbstractInstructional scaffolding or simply known as
scaffolding in education is defined as a guidance or support
from teachers, instructors or other knowledgeable persons that
facilitate students to achieve their goals in learning.
Conceptually, scaffolding means providing students with
instructions during the early stage of learning before slowly
shifting the responsibility to them as they develop their own
understanding and skills. As technology extends learning from
classroom to learning communities, same goes to the concept of
scaffolding. The scaffolding is no longer implemented via face-
to-face instruction that literally exists between a teacher and
students in a classroom. Currently, the form of instructions
that emerges between teachers and students is mediated
through technology and the learning communities exist in the
online settings. Thus, it is important to acknowledge the
suitable form of support required for the students, especially in
an online learning environment. The aim of this meta-analysis
is to investigate the types of scaffolding that could be
implemented in an online learning environment together w ith
its potential in validating students’ success in an online
learning setting.
Keywords—Instructional scaffolding; Online learning
environment; Meta-analysis;
Scaffolding or instructional scaffolding has been widely
studied in the past [1]. The term is better known as a critical
component that facilitates students in learning [2]. However,
as technology extends learning beyond a classroom setting,
the concept of scaffolding becomes diverse. No longer is the
method confined to face-to-face interaction, it even implies
students thousands of kilometers away from their colleges.
Granted, scaffolding can now be mediated by technology,
and the interest for such integration has been increasing [3].
The meta-analysis of this study aims to investigate the types
of scaffolding feasible for an online learning environment.
The concept of scaffolding originates from the work of
Wood, Bruner and Ross in 1976 [4]. It relates to Social
Constructivism Theory pioneered by Lev Vygotsky and his
popular concept known as the Zone of Proximal
Development (ZPD). Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism
suggests that social interactions among teachers, peers,
tutors, parents or instructors contribute to the development
of an individual learning process [5, 6]. In other words, the
theory professes that such interactions enable students to
learn a new concept effectively [7].
The term ‘scaffolding’ was borrowed from construction
field (scaffold is a temporary structure that supports
building) [8]. In education, scaffolding has teachers
instructing students in the early stages of learning, and
gradually lessening their supports as the students gain
mastery [9]. This reduces difficulty of complex learning and
at the same time, let the students focus on constructing
knowledge and higher-order demands like thinking critically
Traditionally, scaffolded instructions were imparted
face-to-face by teachers but as the World Wide Web makes
its way into education, the concept applies to the technology
environment as well [11]. As McLoughlin emphasized, “the
concept of scaffolding needs to be redefined into the context
where the teacher is not present, as in the online
environment” [11].
Scaffolding in an online learning environment refers to
the supports provided by teachers or instructors via
technology. These teachers will use various technological
tools and resources that could assist them in teaching.
Students gain equal benefits too: they could capitalize the
virtual learning environment to communicate with peers,
while having their progress monitored regularly by their
teachers. Nevertheless, such method requires a structured
guideline in order to avoid students’ frustration should they
fail to learn. This necessitates online educators to conduct
scaffolding properly in line with students’ needs.
The present study refers to an online learning
environment as the one that allows students to assess
educational resources via technological means. This study
also considers the form of support that can adequately
enhance the teaching and learning process. This support
could be in a form of software or web-based tools or virtual
learning objects. Software-based tool is the developed
standalone software built into the scaffolded tools, tasks and
interfaces [12]. The software provides appropriate
2014 International Conference on Teaching and Learning in Computing and Engineering
978-1-4799-3592-5/14 $31.00 © 2014 IEEE
DOI 10.1109/LaTiCE.2014.22
scaffolding strategies that can engage students in their tasks.
Web-based tool on the other hand, is an internet-based
applications or websites used by teachers as a platform to
support students in learning; they include for example, wikis,
blogs and social networking sites. Virtual learning objects
include 3D-animation cartoon or avatar which is used not
only to assist, but to engage students in learning.
This study aims to identify types of scaffolding in online
learning, its form of supports and its potential in validating
students’ success. The following key words were used to
search for related publications: scaffolding & online
learning, instructor support & online learning and scaffolded
instruction & online learners. Conducted via IEEExplore
Digital Library, Science Direct, Web of Science and
ProQuest, the search has produced 51 hits, but only 10 were
deemed relevant to the study following these criteria: (1) the
studies concern specific scaffolding types that assist students
in learning, (2) the studies must be published between 2008
and the present, and (3) the studies must mention the support
forms used by the teachers or instructors to support students
in learning. After being analyzed qualitatively, the meta-
analysis of studies of scaffolding in an online learning
environment were summarized, as presented in Table I.
Study Research Purpose(s) Support Form Scaffolding
To develop four
scaffolding modules for
collaborative problem
based learning through
Moodle LMS for a
computer programming
Virtual Object
(3D animation
expert cartoon)
Zhang and
To support middle
school students in
online inquiry
processes` in learning
science subject.
Huang, Wu
and Chen
To evaluate the
effectiveness of using
procedural scaffolding
in fostering students’
discourse levels and
learning outcomes.
Web-based tool Procedural
Avrami des
and Yuill
An empirical study
which investigates
learners respond to
tool (Ecolab)
Molenaar et
To investigate
metacognitive activities
among scaffolded
students in a
collaborative sett ing with
the existence of avatars.
Virtual learning
object (an avatar)
Study Research Purpose(s) Support Form Scaffolding
Teo and
To scaffold novice
students in
collaborating critiquing
educational video
Web-based tool
James and
To analyze the impact
of the use of
scaffolding used to
enhanced literacy skills
among college
tool (PLATO)
To scaffold students’
wiki based, Ill
structured problem
solving in an online
Web-based Tool
Rimor and
To determine and
characterize students
reflective thought
process in an online
Web-based tool
(Online Forum)
Li and Lim
To examine the
different dimensions of
scaffolding for online
historical inquiry
Web-based tool Written
and Modeling.
As shown in Table I, most studies involved
students in higher education and middle school.
Instructional scaffolding implemented in these studies vary
across disciplines (science, history, literacy skills and
programming language). Despite having involved various
forms of support (virtual learning objects, software-based
tool and web-based tool), these studies have generally
compared the effects of various types of scaffolding on
students’ success, particularly in online learning. The
following section elaborates the results.
A. Types of Scaffolding in Online Learning Environment
Based on the meta-analysis, four main types of online
scaffolding were identified: procedural scaffolding,
conceptual scaffolding, strategic scaffolding and
metacognitive scaffolding. These four types, according to
Hannafin, Land and Oliver [23], are structures that
appropriately support students’ learning. They are preferred
among researchers to study an online learning environment.
Conceptual scaffolding helps students to decide what to
consider in learning [24]. It particularly guides them to
prioritize fundamental concepts. Procedural scaffolding, in
addition, assists students in using available tools and
resources while strategic scaffolding suggests alternative
ways to tackle problems in learning. Finally, metacognitive
scaffolding guides students on what to think during learning
Among the four types, metacognitive scaffolding were
the most explored by researchers. It promotes higher order
thinking [10] for it assists students to reflect on what they
have learnt (self-assess), and assesses their progress [18]. As
a result, it allows students to plan ahead.
Other types of scaffolding addressed by researchers
include technical support, content support, argumentation
template, questioning and modeling. However, these terms
were rarely used, probably because they were inadequately
justified. None of them provides a clear structure of
sentences or prompts that can be used to guide students,
especially in an online learning setting.
Technology changes rapidly, so does the form of support
provided to online learners. Instructors have been using
web-based tools such as wikis and blogs as platforms to
support and discuss with students. Software-based tools
particularly, have been used in many studies as a form of
support. The developed software is like an automated
assistance agent that can assist learners by engaging them
with strategies and structures. To point out, researchers are
now using virtual learning objects such as 3D-animation
cartoon expert and avatars to study online scaffolding.
B. Potential of Scaffolding in Online Learning Environment
The meta-analysis has revealed the importance of
scaffolding particularly in online settings. Reingold, Rimor
and Kalay [21] recommended supporting students to
experience a reflective learning process as this contributes
to their experience as a community of learners with a
common task. Additionally, Tiantong and Teemuangsai [13]
found that scaffolding is suitable for active learning. All
these findings are consistent with the results reported by
Huang, Wu and Chen [15], who found more active
participation and meaningful negotiations in the scaffolded
group than in the non-scaffolded group discussion.
Previous studies have reported that metacognitive
scaffolding could encourage students in reflecting their tasks
and at the same time, contribute to their experience as a
community of learners with a common task [21]. In their
study, Reingold, Rimor and Kalay [21] have listed seven
mechanisms of metacognitive scaffolding that encourage
students’ metacognition in learning.
Conclusively, it has become a trend among researchers
to prefer metacognitive scaffolding because this method is
the most effective in an online learning environment.
Metacognitive scaffolding supports learners by assisting
individual learning management and by guiding appropriate
thinking during learning (25).
There is a growing interest in integrating scaffolded
instructions in online teaching. As described earlier,
scaffolding online learners are devoid of the physical
presence of teachers. Thus, prior to supporting students in an
online learning environment, researchers are encouraged to
map out well-structured instructional components such as (1)
student’s need, (2) learning objectives, (3) support forms and
(4) types of scaffolding appropriate to student’s needs.
Moreover, we suggest that questions and prompt
messages from an instructor be carefully designed so that the
scaffolds can be delivered effectively. These questions and
prompts need to be evaluated by researchers in terms of their
suitability, particularly in reflecting and defining each type
of scaffolding. This study also prefers to have an inter-rater
reliability coded to validate instructors’ questions and
prompted messages. Moreover, the technology has changed
the way support forms or tools are used to facilitate students
in learning, and they have also shifted towards being web-
and software-based, and being virtual learning objects.
Hence, applying the latest technology is necessary to attract
students’ interest, especially when learning tough courses.
To demonstrate, Tiantong & Teemuangsai [13] have used a
3D animation expert cartoon to scaffold students in learning
a computer programming course. Regardless, the uses of
web-based and software-based tools are still relevant as long
as they could facilitate students’ performances in learning.
In conclusion, four types of scaffolding are typical in an
online learning: conceptual scaffolding, procedural
scaffolding, strategic scaffolding and metacognitive
scaffolding, with the last being the most mentioned in
previous studies. Technology also plays an important role:
teachers could make full use of technological tools to support
their teaching as well as their students in learning. In
addition, instructional designs are undeniably important to
ensure the effectiveness of scaffolding in online learning.
These proper instructional supports can influence the success
of online learning.
The authors would like to thank the Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia (UTM) and Ministry of Education (MoE)
Malaysia for their support in making this project possible.
This work was supported by the Research University Grant
[Q.J130000.2531.03H03] initiated by MoE.
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Social media use in higher education is becoming increasingly common. The tools available to the educator are sophisticated and numerous, and it can be challenging to know which ones to use and how to use them to best effect. We begin by asking what we want to achieve in educating our students and how social media may enable this. We argue that Christensen’s “jobs-to-be-done” theory can help clarify faculty requirements and the needs of students. We then explore connectivism an example of a pedagogy that takes explicit account of our digitally connected world. We move on to consider the practical issues confronting the use of social media for educational purposes, including the issue of boundaries, which are of importance in setting expectations and standards of behavior. We explore factors that can affect engagement with social online learning and behaviors such as lurking and suggest ways in which this can be understood and mitigated. We discuss the darker side of social media, such as trolling, and how it might be dealt with. Social media has the potential to set faculty-student relations on a more equal footing, and we look at how co-creation can be used to leverage this and drive learning. Our final section examines practical challenges to implementing a social media platform as part of a module or course. We make recommendations on how to approach this and indicate how further research may help us gain a deeper understanding and develop solutions for some of the problems we highlight.
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Due to the Covid19 outbreak, the Indonesian Government decreed that students learn online. There are many models of online learning. Some models require a synchronous mode using online meetings, some use an asynchronous mode, and some use a mixed-mode. Online learning does require students to be more active in independent learning. However, resources to support independent student learning in Indonesia are limited. This research examines the implementation, and evaluation of an online learning resource for senior high school students in physics education. The focus topic of the study is developing students' understanding of the physics concept of center of mass. A Web-based E-Scaffolding Enhance Learning (ESEL) was identified and implemented. This study used a quasi-experiment, one group, pretest-posttest methodology. Forty-one students from one Indonesian public and one Indonesian private school participated in the research. The ESEL model involved four phases: sense-making, process management, articulation, and reflection. A Google Classroom site where students undertook ESEL based activity was developed for the online asynchronous mode implementation. Google Meet was used for synchronous meetings and sharing learning results. Data analysis shows that the web-based ESEL model supported online learning of the center of mass concept, though some improvements are possible. Specifically, learning outcomes increased with a significant value increase between the pre-test and post-test, and a normalized gain score of 0.73 indicated effective learning in high criteria. This research shows that the web-based ESEL approach is an effective self-directed learning tool for online physics classrooms.
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Human one-to-one tutoring has been shown to be a very effective form of instruction. Three contrasting hypotheses, a tutor-centered one, a student-centered one, and an interactive one could all potentially explain the effectiveness of tutoring. To test these hypotheses, analyses focused not only on the effectiveness of the tutors' moves, but also on the effectiveness of the students' construction on learning, as well as their interaction. The interaction hypothesis is further tested in the second study by manipulating the kind of tutoring tactics tutors were permitted to use. In order to promote a more interactive style of dialogue, rather than a didactic style, tutors were suppressed from giving explanations and feedback. Instead, tutors were encouraged to prompt the students. Surprisingly, students learned just as effectively even when tutors were suppressed from giving explanations and feedback. Their learning in the interactive style of tutoring is attributed to construction from deeper and a greater amount of scaffolding episodes, as well as their greater effort to take control of their own learning by reading more. What they learned from reading was limited, however, by their reading abilities.
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Animal Learning and Ecology Artificial Intelligence / Intelligent Systems Biology / Neurobiology Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Comparative Psychology and Ethology Education / Socio-cultural aspects Instructional Psychology and Learning Machine Learning (and robotics) Neurologic Problems Neuroscience(s) Philosophy, Information Technology
The notion of scaffolding learners to help them succeed in solving problems otherwise too difficult for them is an important idea that has extended into the design of scaffolded software tools for learners. However, although there is a growing body of work on scaffolded tools, scaffold design, and the impact of scaffolding, the field has not yet converged on a common theoretical framework that defines rationales and approaches to guide the design of scaffolded tools. In this article, we present a scaffolding design framework addressing scaffolded software tools for science inquiry. Developed through iterative cycles of inductive and theory-based analysis, the framework synthesizes the work of prior design efforts, theoretical arguments, and empirical work in a set of guidelines that are organized around science inquiry practices and the challenges learners face in those practices. The framework can provide a basis for developing a theory of pedagogical support and a mechanism to describe successful scaffolding approaches. It can also guide design, not in a prescriptive manner but by providing designers with heuristics and examples of possible ways to address the challenges learners face.
Scaffolding is a learning approach designed to promote a deeper understanding, it is the support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the student with the intention of helping the student achieve the learning goals, including resources, a compelling task, templates and guides, and guidance on the development of cognitive and social skills. Meanwhile, problem-based learning (PBL) situate learning in complex tasks. Such task require scaffolding to help students engage in sense making, managing their investigations, problem-solving processes, and encouraging students to articulate their thinking and reflect on their learning. This study aimed to develop four scaffolding modules for collaborative problem-based learning through the computer network on Moodle LMS for the computer programming course of undergraduate students, and to analyze the satisfaction of the experts and students after using the developed scaffolding modules. The four scaffolding modules consisted of metacognitive scaffolding, conceptual scaffolding, strategic scaffolding, and procedural scaffolding, each of which represented by a 3-D animation expert cartoon to attract students. The sample group were twenty-two students of small group pilot and six experts. The findings indicated that the degree of satisfaction towards the scaffolding from the experts was high and the degree of the satisfaction towards the scaffolding from the students was also high. This can be used the four scaffolding modules to complete PBL task successfully.
In this era of accountabilities and complex ecologies, it is important to highlight results from metacognitive scaffolding, aimed at enhancing the learning strategies of a group of college freshmen preparing for the Praxis 1 examination. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of the use of metacognitive scaffolding used to enhance the literacy skills of 35 college students on their performance as measured by their test scores in Praxis 1 examination. It focuses on the importance of learning strategies to academic success, and literacy challenges encountered by college students. The result from the study indicates substantial improvement in students' literacy performance on Praxis 1 examination.