Vygotsky's socio-cultural development theory proposes that social interactions lead to cognitive development. Within this theoretical framework, an effective learning strategy is scaffolding, which assumes the role of teachers and facilitators as instigators of the learner's development, providing support structures to progress to the next stage or level of cognitive development through collaboration and interaction. The various means of assisted performance include modelling, feedback, instructing, questioning, and cognitive structuring whereby the the student transitions from other-assistance to self-assistance to unassisted internalised learning. The social environment, which can be both computerised and natural, acts as a necessary scaffold or support system that allows a learners to move forward and continue to build new competencies. The emergence of computer supported collaborative learning incorporates these scaffolding and social learning concepts, yet still bares obstacles.
Collaboration can foster learning, enhance achievement and augment motivation as both individuals and groups exchange their ideas, negotiate on them, share their expertise, give explanations, externalise their thoughts, internalise their experience, argumentate on their actions and views, articulate their reasoning, and co-construct their knowledge.
Collaboration allows learners to share ideas and develop new, authentic solutions to problems they are trying to solve while acquiring useful knowledge of theories and concepts (Chernobilsky, Nagarajan & Hmelo-Silver, 2005, p. 53). One such collaborative learning strategy is that of scaffolding. Scaffolding through cognitive apprenticeships is an effective learning strategy which entails teaching new skills and furthering development by engaging students and groups collaboratively in tasks that would be too difficult for them to complete on their own.
The term scaffolding has traditionally been used to refer to the process by which a teacher or more knowledgeable peer assists a learner, altering the learning task so the student can solve problems or perform tasks that would otherwise be out of reach. The master-apprentice relationship...