This article debates on various forms of individual tutoring and how certain principles are needed for it to be successful. Scaffolding is introduced as an idea which suggests that a child will learn more or perform better with the support of an adult. This is closely related to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development which is a gap between what a child can achieve on their own verses with an adult or peers. This paper tries to pinpoint what in this adult/peer interaction enhances this development through the action of tutoring face to face and online. There are several ways in which an adult can influence a child's interest and development. Scaffolding fails to explain what exactly in this relationship increases development and its unclear what information a child is taking in.
Rogoff, a researcher, has zoned in on 5 different reasons as to why this relationship works. One, a tutor can apply a childs skills and preexisting knowledge to a new task. Two, a tutor can provide instructions and keep a goal in the childs view. Third, by engaging a child and making them participate they are more likely to learn. Four, a tutor can slowly transfer responsibility to the child which works by slowly giving the child hints to problems they previously didn’t understand. Lastly, the child learns to use these skills in everyday activities.
What makes face to face tutoring successful is the domain contingency which allows the tutor to change their plan of action depending on the response of the student. This is where tutoring online fails because it cant adopt to unexpected responses. Also face to face tutoring allows the tutor to respond to the child’s behavior and to see what is working for the child and what they are having difficulty with. Whereas a computer is just waiting for response and unable to respond to the child.
Anderson argues for Computer based tutoring stating that it provides instruction, immediately responds to error, the instruction fades along the way leaving the student alone and it constantly reminds students of the overall goal. Anderson did various experiments to prove this and it concluded that students learn at a faster rate through computer based tutoring. Although with a face to face tutor the child is able to create problems of their own.