The Use of Scaffolding and Interactive Learning Strategies in Online Courses for Working Nurses: Implications for Adult and Online Education


  • Vince Salyers Mount Royal University
  • Lorraine Carter Nipissing University
  • Steve Cairns Nipissing University
  • Luke Durrer Nipissing University



This paper reviews the foundational litera- ture of contemporary e-learning, with a focus on scaffolding, instructional design, and engagement. These concepts are then considered in two limited case studies, each involving e-learning and adult learners—in particular, nurse-learners.

The first case study describes the use of a scaffolding model called Introduction, Connect, Apply, Reflect, and Extend (ICARE) in e-learning for nursing education. The second is a reflection on the use of engagement strategies for the purposes of discourse and learning in a different online nursing context.

Because nursing educators were among the early adopters of e-learning, they are important mentors to others who are adopting e-learning strategies at this time. Additionally, the paper is a crossroads publication: it reminds the reader of the imperative to review theory and emerging evidence related to e-learning and to bring key findings to the actual practice of e-learning in order to benefit the adult student. This commitment to theory and practice will enable the evolution of e-learning for all learners, including returning adult learners and working professionals.

Keywords: scaffolding, instructional design, interaction, best practices, engage- ment, adult education, working profes- sionals, e-learning.