Guided Skill Practice as an Adaptive Scaffolding Strategy in Open-Ended Learning Environments
While open-ended learning environments (OELEs) offer powerful learning opportunities, many students struggle to learn in them. Without proper support, these learners use system tools incorrectly and adopt suboptimal learning strategies. Typically, OELEs support students by providing hints: suggestions for how to proceed combined with information relevant to the learner’s situation. However, students often ignore or fail to understand such hints. To address this problem, we present an alternative approach to supporting students in OELEs that combines suggestions and assertions with guided skill practice. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach through an experimental study that compares students who receive suggestions, assertions, and guided skill practice to students who receive no such support. Findings indicate that learners who received the scaffolds approached their tasks more systematically.
KeywordsOpen-ended learning environment scaffolds guided practice
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