Essential Features for Instructional Scaffolding

There are three essential features of scaffolding that facilitate learning. The first feature has to do with the interaction between the learner and the expert. This interaction should be collaborative for it to be effective. The second, learning should take place in the learner's zone of proximal development. To do that the expert needs to be aware of the learner's current level of knowledge and then work to a certain extent beyond that level. The third feature of scaffolding is that the scaffold, the support and guidance provided by the expert, is gradually removed as the learner becomes more proficient. The support and guidance provided to the learner is compared to the scaffolds in building construction where the scaffolds provide both "adjustable and temporal" support to the building under construction. The support and guidance provided to learners facilitate internalization of the knowledge needed to complete the task. This support is weaned gradually until the learner is independent.