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A primer on affordances

Posted on: March 6, 2016

Mention the word “affordances” even today and you might get quizzical looks.

Mention that in education there are affordances that are technical, social, and pedagogical and you might as well have spoken a foreign language.

I outlined some ideas on these three affordances in an ICT book chapter several years ago. That same book had a chapter dedicated to affordances and referenced Gibson (1979) and Norman (1999) as the precursors of ICT affordances.

Gibson, J. (1979). The ecological approach to human perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Norman, D. (1999) Affordance, conventions, and design, Interactions, 6(3), 3-43.

Tan, A. (2010). Wikis. In Chai, C.S., & Wang, Q. (Eds.), ICT for Self-directed and Meaningful Learning (pp. 249-261). Singapore: Pearson.

Video source

If you wish to get a good idea on what Norman’s ideas on affordances are, you should watch this video on doors. It might open your mind up to possibilities in the design and integration of educational technology.

4 Responses to "A primer on affordances"

Gilbert Ng Ying Fong: RT @ashley: A primer on affordances… via


Steve Moskal: @ashley @gilbertng_yf The Norman Door is a great metaphor to reconsider the notion of ‘digital literacy’ ! via


Steve Moskal: RT @ashley: A primer on affordances… via


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