Interesting excerpts/viewpoints re: the term “scaffolding” from one of the articles at:
Course Design and Development Ideas That Work — from Faculty Focus

Sometimes good metaphors further understanding. Such figures of speech can help us see familiar aspects in something new or see something familiar in a new light. The scaffolding metaphor doesn’t do either. It functions more like a crock of oatmeal (to use a metaphor) covering and congealing what instructors do. Not finding any help there, let’s try considering scaffolding as an object. How does it function?

Are there any good metaphors out there to help us describe, discuss, and conduct research on these issues? More likely they are to be found in other learning situations. To start, here are two: the training wheels we put on bicycles to enable youngsters to learn balance and the Tball pedestal that allows six-year-olds to play baseball. Each device works by restricting and focusing the teacher’s role while expanding the learner’s opportunities. Both offer new and more fruitful ways of looking at learning designs and teaching practices. Both allow us to escape the scaffolding that now prevents further construction of understanding.

— Larry D. Spence, Penn State University.