Scaffolding is guided learning through a process of building knowledge structures in order to reach the potential skills that would not be possible to learn autonomously.
The Scaffolding Theory was developed by American psychologists David Wood and Jerome Bruner (1915-2016) and describes the need for the learning process to be guided by simulating a scaffold where children aged 3 to 5 can achieve greater potential cognitive growth.
The Scaffolding Theory derives from the concept of the proximal or proximal development zone (ZDP) of the Russian doctor and lawyer Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934). The zone of near development is the difference or space between the current skills acquired autonomously and the potential abilities that can be achieved.
Scaffolding is the process where the gap in the near development zone is reduced by the learner reaching his potential learning. This technique is part of evolutionary psychology specifically in the area of childhood cognitive development or educational psychology.
Lev Vygotsky bases his studies on the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism by Karl Marx (1818-1883) which postulates that the historical changes of society and material life produce changes in human nature. They are the social structures and social relationships that lead to the development of mental functions and not vice versa.