Scaffolding is drawn by Vygotsky's Zone of proximal development (ZPD) concept. It refers to the "range of tasks that are outside of the learner's current independent ability but are achievable with the appropriate supports" (Reiser & Tabak, 2014). This supports is what many authors and learning scientists refer to as Scaffolding. According to the authors, scaffolding is the work shared between the learner and some more knowledgeable other or agent this can be either a parent, teacher facilitator, a learning technology, a curriculum, prompts, guides, challenges among others... . And by actively participating in working through tasks that gradually increase complexity, learners learn from the experience can.

Below you can read more about how I have applied Scaffolding

Scaffolding must be present in all learning experiences, either formal or informal. The design of this scaffolding must be aligned coherently to the learning goal and the learner's prior knowledge. To design or implement scaffolding strategies, start by identifying the learner's Zone of Proximal Development and provide the proper scaffolding according to the learning goals and learner's level and then fade.

Although scaffolding might be like a spiral where fading is introduced, and the learner has achieved higher levels of expertise, new structure means must be addressed in the design.

To design or implement scaffolding strategies, it is imperative to start by identifying the learner's Zone of Proximal Development and provide the proper scaffolding according to the learning goals and learner's level.

Scaffolding, as the learning engineering process, must be systematic because:

  • It's a process. It's not just a “one-time activity.”

  • Involves different stakeholders and materials.

  • Once learners reach their ZDP, they can grow to the next level with more complex scaffolding.

  • According to the learner's ZDP and the learning objectives, it requires a strategy, not just random activities or questions.

Examples and applications

Scaffolding can be designed in many ways, here I present some examples that I have incorporated into my learning designs and some others that I have learned in my courses:

  • Provide instruction in a problem-solving/ expert-like context; through storytelling, case-based scenarios, dramatic agency games, and others.

  • Framing supports all aspects of performance.

  • Argumentation; In the Telling Science app, learners are encouraged to provide explanations of the solution they come up with, just as scientists do. Quirky (the digital learning agent) marks and asks questions to enable the learner to give a coherent argumentation.

  • Manipulatives that support embodied learning; We incorporated the work with hands-on materials to solve problems in the "Telling Science" project.

  • Modeling: Expert models and scaffolds novices, the help fades, and the learners set new goals. In the Curiously App, the primary scaffolding to the learner was designed to be through caregiver-child interactions in which modeling curiosity and exploration was encouraged. I created prompts and guides for parents to model curiosity and exploration to accomplish this.

  • Scripts and prompts; In the Sustainable Self-care Workshop, learners were guided through a booklet with prompts, activities, and cues for reflection. In the Curiously App, prompts and scripts were embedded in the app to promote making connections across the different stages of the experience.

  • Coach on the side, not sage on the stage; model strategies and allow learners to engage on those.

  • Sensemaking, articulation, reflection, managing investigation, and problem-solving.

  • Curriculum materials

Moreover, through the app design projects (empathy games, telling science and curiously) I have learned that well-designed learning technology can provide multiple opportunities to embed and distribute scaffolding strategies. in a coherent and systematic way. Technology-enhanced either complement, replace, or guide the role of a facilitator and the scaffolding can be presented across different features of the technology. I am looking forward to keep designing, learning and exploring more engaging and meaningful strategies for scaffolding with the use of technology for a variety of young learners, families and for supporting STEM identity building.