Pedagogical Affordance Analysis

When designing an instructional tool and/or adapting it to an instructional context, it is essential that designers/researchers understand what pedagogical affordances it offers so that the tool facilitates the interaction among the tool, educator(s), and students. Prior studies on pedagogical affordances, however, treat pedagogical affordances as fixed concepts — in other words, prior work does not consider a possibility that contextual factors, such as instructional goals, teachers’ knowledge, or classroom environments, would influence whether and how certain pedagogical affordances are activated/realized.

Taking a socio-cultural perspective, we consider that pedagogical affordances of an instructional tool need to be understood in relation to the particular instructional goal that the tool will be used to help with.

Traditional way of viewing pedagogical affordances
In our work, we consider pedagogical affordances as a relational concept

We developed an action-oriented, educator-centered method for understanding pedagogical affordances of an instructional tool. Designers/researchers can follow the step-by-step process (below) to identify pedagogical affordances and pedagogical constraints. 

This method, called Pedagogical Affordance Analysis, can be used to re-design instructional tools or evaluate existing tools in relation to the target goal.

Pedagogical Affordance Analysis (PAA) follows a step-by-step procedure

Relevant papers

  • Nagashima, T., Yang, K., Bartel, A. N., Silla, E. M., Vest, N. A., Alibali, M. W., & Aleven, V. (2020). Pedagogical Affordance Analysis: Leveraging teachers’ pedagogical knowledge for eliciting pedagogical affordances and constraints of instructional tools. In Proceedings of the International Conferences of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2020). Nashville, TN. [paper]