Discourse, a form of collaborative learning, is fundamentally a communications process. This in-progress study adapts Clark and Brennan’s grounding in communications principles to investigate how to “scaffold” asynchronous discourse. Scaffolding is defined as providing support for the learner at his or her level until the support is no longer needed. This paper presents early results from an experimental study measuring learning effectiveness. In the experiment, content and process scaffolding are manipulated based on pedagogic principles. A major contribution of the study is building and testing a technologymediated, discourse-centered, teaching and learning model called the Asynchronous Learning Networks Cognitive Discourse Model (ALNCDM). As discourse is one of the most widely used online methods of teaching and learning, the results of the study are expected to add to the body of knowledge on how to structure asynchronous online discourse assignments for more effective student learning.