Scaffolding, contingent tutoring and computer-supported learning

In IJAIED 12 (3): "Special Issue on Modelling Teaching "

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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.