Distributed Cognition as a Lens to Understand the Effects of Scaffolds: The Role of Transfer of Responsibility

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Abstract

Problem solving is an important skill in the knowledge economy. Research indicates that the development of problem solving skills works better in the context of instructional approaches centered on real-world problems. But students need scaffolding to be successful in such instruction. In this paper I present a conceptual framework for understanding the effects of scaffolding. First, I discuss the ultimate goal of scaffolding-the transfer of responsibility-and one way that scholars have conceptualized promoting this outcome (fading). Next, I describe an alternative way to conceptualize transfer of responsibility through the lens of distributed cognition and discuss how this lens informs how to promote transfer of responsibility. Then I propose guidelines for the creation of problem solving scaffolds to support transfer of responsibility and discuss them in light of the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-600
Number of pages24
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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