Learning is a complex process involving knowledge acquisition, transformation, and creation. This paper focuses on how students’ beliefs about and use of learning scaffolds relate to their characteristics, and the specific context in which they are expected to use these labels. An asynchronous text-based online environment with built-in learning scaffolds (called “knowledge labels”) was the context in this study. Hierarchical regression revealed a range of factors accounting for a significant amount of variance in the students’ beliefs about the usefulness and usage of labels. Their beliefs about the usefulness of labels correlated with factors describing a deeper learning approach, more positive course learning experiences, and deeper engagement with online learning discourse. Answers about using labels were mainly related to greater participation in online learning and the students’ deeper engagement in online learning discourse. This finding suggests a need for deep investigations into the complex interaction between students’ personal characteristics and learning processes to understand the value of learning scaffolds.Keywords: Learning scaffolds; online discussion forum; computer supported collaborative learning; reflection; preservice teachers; higher education.