Theory: Affordances for Learning

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    Roy Williams

    In a research project in 2008, I found that affordances were essential to an approach which turned out to be based on CAST (complex adaptive systems theory) as well as ecological psychology.

    There is a draft paper on the theory, which includes some interesting research from Costall, Read, and others, all of whom have reworked Gibsonian notions of affordances, and are using them in a variety of different fields.

    1. What, if anything, does an ‘ecological’ approach add to methodolgy – particularly for research on learning and narrative?

    See: “An affordance is the product of interactions between a person and their environment, each of which potentially affects their knowledge, competencies and identity, and potentially alters the (micro-) environment.

    This is similar to the semiotic gambit, which defines ‘signs’ as relations between signifiers and signified, ratther than as objects.

    In more general terms, an Affordance is the capacity for effective action.

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