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Zone of Proximal Development

The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is a core concept in sociocultural theories of learning, which build on the work of Lev Vygotsky. The ZPD is described as the difference between how learners can perform on their own and how the learners can perform with the help of a “more knowledgeable other.” The ZPD was conceptualized as both a theoretically driven form of assessment and a core theoretical construct to explain the relationship between learning and development. Specifically, Vygotsky argued that learning happens best when students are engaging with concepts at the edge of their competence—the “developing” psychological functions (e.g., perception, speech, thinking) rather than those that are already developed, which Vygotsky referred to as “fossilized.” The task of the researcher is therefore to identify ...

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