Scaffolding, contingent tutoring and computer-supported learning
12 (3): "Special Issue on Modelling Teaching "
This paper provides an overview of the application of principles of tutoring, derived
from studies of face-to-face tutoring, to the design of computer-based tutoring environments.
One of the main theoretical challenges facing work on tutoring is to develop a conceptual
framework to explain how the dynamics and the consequences of learner-tutor exchanges arise
out of the joint regulation of interaction. Ways in which computer-based tutoring have helped to
meet this challenge are illustrated. A primary focus for the empirical work presented is the
impact of individual differences in learners' regulation of the tutor on learning outcomes. The
findings demonstrate the potential of contingent, computer-based tutoring for the dynamic
assessment of individual differences in prior attainment and learning. Ways in which computer-
based systems might help to develop aspects of learners' help seeking skills and their use of
time on task are identified. Important points of convergence between the findings of this work
and research into knowledge-based models of tutoring and learning are discussed, and the
advantages of synthesising the two approaches explored.