Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Scaffolding in Complex Learning Environments: What we have gained and what we have missed

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
The authors argue, "by broadening the scope of scaffolding (in complex learning environments) we seem to have missed some of the key features that are crucial to successful scaffolding." Scaffolding was originally defined "by Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976) as an 'adult controlling those elements of the task that are essentially beyond the learner's capacity.'" But as the concept of the scaffold is moved into the classroom context, the individualized support is not possible. There's a quite good table showing this different starting on page 12. Scaffolds have become more task-focused, more like "permanent supports." The authors write, "we would like to emphasize that a 'support' becomes a 'scaffold' only when it is adaptive, based on an ongoing diagnosis of student learning." It's a good point and an interesting point. They identify four essential features these new supports may be missing:
- an ongoing diagnosis of the learner's changing knowledge and skills
- the dynamic and adaptive support provided to an individual learner
- a transfer of responsibility from the "scaffolder" to the "scaffoldee."
- scaffolding that is provided is based on an analysis of the process.
Via Stian HÃ¥klev, who also offers a summary of the article.

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