Generalizing affordance figure

April 4, 2007

Yesterday we had a long Skype discussion with Sebastian Fiedler and Terje Väljataga about the affordance conception.

As a result we decided to make some changes on the previous figure. We decided to remove “learning”, because the model is more general than learning situation, but it is also applicable in educational settings.

Secondly we decided to remove the sub-categorization of affordance types, because it was misleading and breaking down the general affordance conception. We believe that affordances emerge as an interaction of all these components of the activity context, but in particular situations, we can talk of affordances related to interpersonal aspects, task and medium (which occurred at previous figure).

Third change was made in objects=objectives, because this activity theory concept was misleading and people understood objects mainly as artifacts. Objectives however are more general and involve the artifacts if objectives become materialised. In mediated situations actuall all shared objectives emerge as some kind of artifacts (blogrolls, published notes etc.).

distributed activity space 1

Distributed Activity System model (dashed line – affordances related to learning medium perception, dotted line – affordances related to task perception, continuous line – affordances related to interpersonal perception)

affordance components

We have also made the decision to continue developing the previous paper we have been preparing for EdMedia 2007 into the more deep elaboration paper for a journal. It seemed that conference constraints, and particularly page limit did not allow us to bring out all the added value of the distributed activity system and affordance-based instructional design.


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