Scaffolding Learning

"Scaffold Silhouette" by Chas Pope is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Scaffold Silhouette” by Chas Pope is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Julie Sievers, Center for Teaching Excellence
Innovation Institute – 24 May 2016


Framework 1:  Bottlenecks in Decoding the Disciplines

Framework 2:  Threshold Concepts

  • * Meyer, J. H. F. & Land, R. (2003).  Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines, Improving student learning – Ten years on, OCSLD, Oxford, pp. 412-424.
  • Meyer, J. H. F. & Land, R. (2005).  Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning.  Higher Education, 49(3), April, 373-388.  [This link will take you into the SEU library databases. If you are off campus, you may need to log in.]

Framework 3: Taxonomies of Learning

"Bloom's Taxonomy 1k4snjn" by nist6dh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bloom’s Taxonomy 1k4snjn” by nist6dh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  • *O’Niell, Geraldine and Feargal Murphy, “Guide to Taxonomies of Learning.” University College Dublin, 2010.  Web.  15 May 2015.
  • Nilson, Linda.  “Outcomes-Centered Course Design.” In Teaching At Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors.  3rd ed.  Hoboken: Wiley.


Framework 4: Learning Cycles

  • * Kolb’s experiential learning cycle – “Experiential Learning Defined.” University of Texas at Austin Center for Teaching and Learning, 2014.  Web.  15 May 2015.
  • Exploration –> Concept Invention –> Application: the POGIL learning cycle.  Learn more about Process-Oriented, Guided-Inquiry Learning (POGIL)
  • Lee, V. S. (Ed.) (2012).  Inquiry-guided learning.  New Directions in Teaching and Learning 129. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Framework 5: Questioning Sequences

  • Nilson, L. (2010).  Ch. 14: Questioning techniques for discussion and assessment. Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors.  3rd ed.  Hoboken: Wiley, 137-144.


Additional Factors to Consider

  • scaffolding the progression of private work to increasingly public work
  • scaffolding the progression of low-stakes to high-stakes work
  • scaffolding practice and feedback before performance
  • scaffolding work on both process and product
  • scaffolding the progression from teacher-dependent work to increasingly independent work
  • sequences / progressions may or may not be linear
  • cycles may look less like circles, more like spirals or helices

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