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Methods to Study Elements of the Instructional Scaffolding Strategy Model for Enhancing Engineering Students' Knowledge Construction in an Online Social Collaborative Learning Environment

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Studies in Engineering Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


May-Ling Tan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Miss Tan May Ling as an Engineering Education postgraduate student in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). Her major study in Online Learning such as social collaborative learning (SCL) integrates with web-based instructional scaffolding which is conducted to the engineering students who study in one of pioneer polytechnic namely Ungku Omar Polytechnic. They are technical engineers in the future.
She has a Bachelor of Honors in Civil Engineering in 2000 and Master of Education (Technical) in 2002 from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
Formerly, she as a Civil Engineer for 10 years working experience in private sector. She has been involved building consultancy, construction and other related to civil works like construction and manages the sewerage treatment plants. She was also a member of Board of Engineering Malaysia (BEM) since 2003.
Additionally, she has teaching experience in Ungku Omar Polytechnic for 16 years. Her major subjects are Engineering Science and Computer Application. Meantime, she as a trainer and speaker for Construction Industrial Development Board (CIDB) in Malaysia.

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Jamalludin Harun Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Jamalludin Harun is a Associate Professor of Educational Technology at the Department of Educational Science, Mathematics and Creative Multimedia, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). He is also a research group member of Creative and Innovative Technology in Education (CITE) under Smart Digital Community research alliance. Prior to that, he was the Information Technology Manager (2004 - 2011) at Centre for Teaching and Learning, UTM. He obtained his first degree, BSc. Computer with Education (Chemistry)(Hons.) from UTM (1995), MEd. (Educational Media and Computers) from Arizona State University, USA (1998), and PhD (Educational Technology) from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (2003). His research interests and expertise include Instructional Design and Development of Computer Based Instructions, Active Learning Environment through Technology, Social Networking Tools in Education and Argumentative Knowledge Construction through Online Learning.

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Engineering students face low levels of knowledge construction when developing competence and expertise in the engineering field [Streveler et al., 2008]. In addition, the industry is left dissatisfied by engineering students’ deficiency in potential skills and low levels of academic achievement [Felder, 2012]. In order to assist engineering students to perform well in achievement tests, it is necessary to design instructional scaffolding during the learning process. Scaffolding students’ learning via an online learning medium is quite a challenging task. There is thus the considerable need for strategies to enable instructors to assist students’ learning through such a medium. The instructional scaffolding strategy model can provide a foundation in identifying a mechanism that will lead to the description of successful metacognitive scaffolding approaches that can be used by instructors to help students in learning via an online medium.

This research paper describes and explains methods used in determining the instructional scaffolding strategy elements of a model to enhance engineering students’ knowledge construction in an online social collaborative learning environment. The design of the instructional scaffolding strategy model is examined using qualitative methodologies. The process of enhancing students’ knowledge construction is examined qualitatively using interviews, content analysis, and thematic analysis. The categorization and analysis are achieved using concept mapping.

Ten participants took part in structured interview sessions to investigate instructional scaffolding elements. These comprised five interviewees who had significantly improved their scores on an achievement test, and another five who had actively participated in a metacognitive learning activity via the Facebook discussions in the online social collaborative learning environment and had also performed well in their tests. The following are the key findings from the study: (a) Instructional Scaffolding has eight elements in total: 1 - pre-engagement; 2 - shared goal; 3 -understanding of students’ prior knowledge; 4 - provide a variety of support; 5 - provide encouragement and praise; 6 - give feedback; 7 - provide supportive and positive responses; and 8 - provide instructional support. (b) Elements to provide a variety of support and give feedback can interconnect, as in the “explanation and guide” theme from the axial coding. These themes are mapped out to design an instructional scaffolding strategy model.

More effective pedagogical practices to improve engineering students’ knowledge construction in online learning have been the subject of much argument from researchers and deserve further investigation. It is important to understand the design process of an instructional scaffolding strategy. Designing instructional scaffolding strategies as a platform for metacognitive scaffolding approaches can help instructors to improve engineering graduates’ knowledge construction in terms of higher order thinking.

Keywords: Instructional scaffolding, knowledge construction, online learning

Tan, M., & Harun, J. (2018, June), Methods to Study Elements of the Instructional Scaffolding Strategy Model for Enhancing Engineering Students' Knowledge Construction in an Online Social Collaborative Learning Environment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30808

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