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  • Writer's pictureRuban Phukan

Metacognitive Scaffolding, AI, and Scaling Workplace Learning

Metacognitive Scaffolding, AI, and Scaling Workplace Learning
Metacognitive Scaffolding, AI, and Scaling Workplace Learning

Metacognitive scaffolding is a pedagogical strategy designed to support learners in managing their own learning processes. It involves providing assistance tailored to the needs of learners, with the goal of gradually fading this support as learners become more competent. This approach is particularly relevant in innovative learning arrangements where learners work collaboratively in small groups or teams.

The Why, What, and How of Scaffolding

Why Scaffolding is Necessary

In innovative learning environments, learners often face challenges in regulating their learning due to a lack of metacognitive skillfulness. This is more relevant for technology learning at work where most employees tend to venture into doing a Google Search and browsing the web for learning. This not only makes the learning unregulated and unstructured, but the information overload puts a serious cognitive load on learning. Scaffolding is applied to help learners overcome these challenges and achieve the desired level of learning outcomes.

What Scaffolding Entails

Scaffolding mediates learning activities at both the object and meta levels. The object level deals with cognitive activities aimed at acquiring knowledge and skills, while the meta-level involves regulating these cognitive activities through metacognition. Metacognition is the awareness and control of one's cognitive processes and includes both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skillfulness - in the corporate context; this simply means the work objectives, role, and proficiency of the employee.

How Scaffolding is Implemented

Scaffolding can be delivered in various forms, such as through human tutors, virtual agents, or computer tools. It can be static, with generic support for all learners, or dynamic, with tailored support based on the individual learner's performance. Dynamic scaffolding is obviously much more effective in delivering effective learning as it is integrated into the learning process and can adapt to the learner's needs.

Metacognitive Activities Supported by Scaffolding

Metacognitive activities include:

  • Preparatory activities

  • Orientation and planning

  • Executive activities

  • Monitoring and evaluation

  • Reflection

These activities help learners regulate their problem-solving and learning activities, leading to improved achievement.

Effects of Metacognitive Scaffolding on Learning Outcomes

Research has shown that metacognitive scaffolding can improve learning outcomes for both individual learners and small groups. However, the effectiveness of scaffolding can vary based on its form. For instance, dynamic scaffolds, which adapt to individual learning needs, are found to deliver much more engaging and high-recall learning content when it comes to application at work. 

Dynamic Scaffolding with AI-Based Tools

Dynamic scaffolding obviously cannot be done scalable with human tutors. That is where AI-based tutors (or AI-supported human tutors) can implement dynamic scaffolding by diagnosing learners' needs and providing tailored support. This support can take various forms, such as orientation, planning, and monitoring scaffolds, which are delivered at critical moments in the learning process. For example, scaffolds can be provided just before selecting a learning task to help identify the content source, scope, and context of learning based on the learner's role and proficiency.


Metacognitive scaffolding, particularly when dynamic and computerized, especially now with AI, can be a valuable tool in supporting the metacognitive activities of learners in collaborative settings. Enhancing individual metacognitive knowledge is a significant benefit. This underscores the potential of metacognitive scaffolding to improve the regulation of learning and, consequently, the performance and achievement of learners in innovative learning arrangements, especially for corporate learning and development and upskilling.


👉 enables organizations to deploy dynamic metacognitive scaffolding powered by AI for continuous upskilling at work. 





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