Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme
Scaffolded learning in higher education refers to the use of instructional techniques that provide support and guidance to the learner as they progress through a learning task or activity. Scaffolding can take many forms, but two common examples are adding and fading. Adding involves providing additional support and guidance to the learner as they progress through a learning task, such as breaking a task down into smaller steps or providing additional resources or examples. Fading involves gradually reducing the level of support and guidance provided to the learner as they become more confident and independent in their learning, allowing them to take more ownership of the task. The goal of scaffolded learning is to help students learn more effectively by providing them with the right level of support and guidance at the right time.
There are several large studies on scaffolding with a variety of finding:
We can be very confident that scaffolding learning helps students learn. There are four meta-analyses that inform this summary, all of which are well-designed. The paper 2 which is the reason for the ➕➕➕➕➕ rating lost a rating point for possible risk of bias in its primary studies, but regained this because the main effect size was so large. The other papers were also well-conducted, with only a small number of issues regarding quality across them.
1 Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Wade, A., Surkes, M. A., Tamim, R., & Zhang, D. (2008). Instructional interventions affecting critical thinking skills and dispositions: A stage 1 meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 78(4), 1102-1134.
2 Belland, B. R., Walker, A. E., & Kim, N. J. (2017). A Bayesian network meta-analysis to synthesize the influence of contexts of scaffolding use on cognitive outcomes in STEM education. Review of Educational Research, 87(6), 1042-1081.
3 Doo, M. Y., Bonk, C., & Heo, H. (2020). A Meta-Analysis of Scaffolding Effects in Online Learning in Higher Education. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(3), 60-80.
4 Kim, N. J., Belland, B. R., & Walker, A. E. (2018). Effectiveness of computer-based scaffolding in the context of problem-based learning for STEM education: Bayesian meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 30(2), 397-429.
Tiruneh, D. T., Verburgh, A., & Elen, J. (2014). Effectiveness of critical thinking instruction in higher education: A systematic review of intervention studies. Higher Education Studies, 4(1), 1-17.