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Strategies to Scaffold Student Learning: Applying Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development

Sanders, Debra MSN, RN; Welk, Dorette Sugg Phd, RN

Original Article

Teaching strategies like modeling, feedback, questioning, instructing, and cognitive structuring are applications of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. These strategies “scaffold” student learning from assistance by others to self-learning toward the goal of internalization. This higher-order learning stems from interactions with those who have more knowledge than the learner. Practical applications of Vygotsky's theory to any basic nursing education program are presented.

Instructor of Nursing (Ms Sanders); Faculty Emeritus (Dr Welk), Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, Pa.

Corresponding Author: Ms Sanders, Bloomsburg University, 400 E Second St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 (

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.