International College, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
This case study explores Chinese university students’ perceptions of using digital materials as scaffolding to facilitate their English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning in an autonomous context. A total of 30 students participated in the study. Data were collected via multiple methods, including participants’ reflective reports, individual interviews and documents. The collected evidence was categorized by themes and research questions. This study found gradual changes of students’ perceptions and uses of digital materials as scaffolding to their EFL learning, which was not a linear process but a recursive one. Participants’ understanding was deepened as more digital supportive materials were used to scaffold their language development. Their autonomy was also elevated in this process. The study found that students’ perceptions and uses of scaffolding materials were different in linguistic learning and cultural knowledge learning. Recommendations for future studies are provided on the base of these findings.
Scaffolding, Autonomy, Supportive materials, ZPD, English as a Foreign Language
Chen Chen. Using Digital Scaffolding Materials to Enhance Learners’ Autonomous Learning: A Case in a Chinese University. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2020) Vol. 3, Issue 8: 82-96. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2020.030808.
 Altin, M., & Saracaloğlu, A. S. (2018). Effect of reading comprehension instruction enriched with cultural materials on English learning. Cogent Education, 5.
 Ash, D., & Levitt, K. (2003). Working within the zone of proximal development: Formative assessment as professional development. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 14(1), 23-48.
 Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning. New York, NY: Routledge.
 Betts, G. (2004). Fostering autonomous learners through levels of differentiation. Roeper Review, 26(4), 190-191.
 Blin, F. (2004). CALL and the development of learner autonomy: Towards an activity-theoretical perspective. ReCALL, 16(2), 377-395.
 Brush, T. A., & Saye, J. W. (2002). A summary of research exploring hard and soft scaffolding for teachers and students using a multimedia supported learning environment. The Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 1(2), 1-12.
 Dang, T. T. (2010). Learner autonomy in EFL studies in Vietnam: A discussion from sociocultural perspective. English Language Teaching, 3(2), 3.
 De Guerrero, M. C., & Villamil, O. S. (2000). Activating the ZPD: Mutual scaffolding in L2 peer revision. The Modern Language Journal, 84(1), 51-68.
 Dunn, W. E., & Lantolf, J. P. (1998). Vygotsky's zone of proximal development and Krashen's i+ 1: Incommensurable constructs; incommensurable theories. Language learning, 48(3), 411-442.
 Han, Y. J. (2018). Flipping tech-enhanced, content-based EAP courses with online content. In Innovations in Flipping the Language Classroom (pp. 203-220). Singapore: Springer.
 Hegelheimer, V., & Lee, J. (2012). The role of technology in teaching and researching writing. In M. Warschauer, H. Reinders, & M. Thomas (Eds.), Contemporary computer-assisted language learning (pp. 287-302). London, England: A&C Black.
 Ge, J., Xiong, C. P., & Xiong, Y. P. (2016). Proposal and Evaluation of an SNS-Based Model for Learning of English as a Foreign Language. In International Conference on Blending Learning (pp. 163-174). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
 Khaliliaqdam, S. (2014). ZPD, scaffolding and basic speech development in EFL context. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 891-897.
 Lantolf, J. P., & Appel, G. (1994). Vygotskian approaches to second language research. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group.
 Levitt, F. (2017). Exploring the use of MALL with a scaffolded multi-sensory, structured language approach to support development of literacy skills among second-chance EFL learners at a technological-vocational secondary school in Israel (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/72418/1/ Levitt%2C%20Fern.pd
 Li, D. N. (2017). Autonomy in scaffolding as learning in teacher-student negotiation of meaning in a university EFL classroom. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 40(4), 410-430.
 Lin, H., & Chen, T. (2007). Reading authentic EFL text using visualization and advance organizers in a multimedia learning environment. Language Learning & Technology, 11(3), 83-106.
 Lin, C. C., & Tseng, Y. F. (2012). Videos and Animations for Vocabulary Learning: A Study on Difficult Words. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 11(4), 346-355.
 Lim, C. J., & Lee, S. (2007). Pedagogical usability checklist for ESL/EFL e-learning websites. Journal of Convergence Information Technology, 2(3), 67-76.
 Luhach, S. (2016). Content analysis of process based writing in web-supported environment at bits Pilani and its possible implications. BELT-Brazilian English Language Teaching Journal, 7(1), 64-79.
 Ohta, A. S. (2000). Rethinking interaction in SLA: Developmentally appropriate assistance in the Zone of Proximal Development and the acquisition of L2 grammar. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 51–78). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
 Oliver, K., & Hannafin, M. J. (2000). Student management of web-based hypermedia resources during open-ended problem solving. The Journal of Educational Research, 94(2), 75-92.
 Opperman, A. (2016). The application of culturally-relevant instructional scaffolding techniques into English language learning (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/dbd0a034d9e5f20cffd1689c79dd4837/ 1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y.
 Safadi, E., & Rababah, G. (2012). The effect of scaffolding instruction on reading comprehension skills. International Journal of Language Studies, 6(2), 1-38.
 Shi, L., Delahunty, J., & Gao, X. (2018). Constraints preventing Chinese EFL teachers from putting their stated beliefs into teaching practice. Professional Development in Education, 1-16.
 Smith, K., & Craig, H. (2013). Enhancing the autonomous use of CALL: A new curriculum model in EFL. CALICO Journal, 30(2), 252-278.
 Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Readings on the development of children, 23(3), 34-41.
 Yen, A. M. N. L, (2018). The influence of self-regulation processes on metacognition in a virtual learning environment. Educational Studies, 1-17.