A qualitative analysis of eighteen college students using different types of scaffolding (instructional supports) while working on a World Wide Web (WWW) project was conducted. Four different support mechanisms were examined: a) WWW resources; b) procedural guidelines for the instructional activity; c) student-student interactions; and d) instructor-student interactions. Three major findings related to use of the WWW as a resource-based learning environment are discussed: a) the utility of scaffolds and WWW resources seem dependent on the ability of learners to readily grasp how the scaffold or resource could help them; b) learners' preconceptions and search strategies were difficult to alter, despite ongoing evidence that searching was not leading to project clarification; and c) social scaffolding based on face to face dialogue with instructors and peers was critical to helping learners manage the complexity of the open-ended project. Implications related to the role of instructional scaffolding in encouraging shared meaning and learning with WWW resources are considered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications