Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Scaffolding, Ecological Psychology

Major Advisor

Dr. Michael F. Young

Associate Advisor

Dr. Robert Hannafin

Associate Advisor

Dr. John Settlage

Associate Advisor

Dr. Joseph Maddaus

Associate Advisor

Dr. Stephen Slota

Field of Study

Educational Technology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


To engage learners in active personalized learning and teach them to become independent problem solvers, teachers must provide meaningful scaffolding in the role of course facilitators rather than content deliverers. To understand how to support teachers so they can provide meaningful scaffolding in complex digital learning environments, Ecological psychology (EP) served as the framework in this mixed-method empirical study to: a) create a digital scaffolding system, b) evaluate the effect of the teacher scaffolding feature, and c) explore the potential of EP as a theoretical framework for characterizing types of scaffolds. Results of three high school teacher cases indicate that: a) the designed EP scaffolding system positively affected teachers’ perception of and performance of scaffolding, b) when EP help was provided and gradually faded, teachers performance developed uniquely, and c) EP was effective as an instructional design framework and theoretical lens for teachers’ scaffolding decision-making.

Available for download on Wednesday, November 19, 2025