affordance compass – the game

thumbnail of searchable PDF

where do you stand on the map?

I introduce structure to activities to pace and engage, but prefer the script to remain loose and conversational in both the traditional and the Laurillard senses.

Affordance Compass is designed to be presented/played with a group of around 20, most of whom have an idea about the principles of learning design. It works in person, online and in a combination of the two.

I really like the polleverywhere imagemap poll, and wonder if I could use a well-timed animated GIF to do a slow reveal. And if I could possibly persuade Tim Minchin, I’d like to pitch for Affordance Compass: The Musical. 😀

You’ll need around 15 minutes for this activity.

Pop Quiz

  • What is an ontology? [verbal explanation]
  • What is an affordance? [ask question and ask if they need clues]
    • objective
    • subjective
    • relational
    • social
    • conditional

[remember to open Poll before giving them URL]

Let’s Play Affordance Compass!

[ask participants to go to the Prezi URL, and click the Poll Everywhere link]

[ask participants to click on the matrix where they think affordances fit]

[at result, return to Prezi URL]

[advance 1 space in Prezi]

Overview of each affordance


Subjective/beginning of social

Relational… moving in to

Conditional, which intersects with


and a whole lot right smack in the middle


Key points

  • Agency: who, or what, makes it happen?
  • Direction: who, or what, drives the activity?
  • Objectivity: what is the role of perception?
  • Causality: does knowing mean using?


How much does variation in definition affect the term having analytical integrity?

Variation adds complexity but also a shared language that has potential in design environments.

To what extent are existing concepts of affordances useful?

They provide a framework against which Actor Network Theory and trans-disciplinary studies can add nuance to our understanding of knowledge construction.

In what way does the inter-subjective nature of tech affordances suggest Web 2.0 research?

Foregrounding the socio-technical systems emphasises the relational affordances of collaboration and knowledge creation activities.


A perspective [verbal]

[The emergence of multiple view of affordances is part of a broader debate about socio-technical systems. A perspective that Parchoma subtly addressed through the introduction of Actor Network Theory is that the full range of relations – connections, interactions, interruptions, and contradictions – are key to enabling the bi-directional, constantly moving, inevitably conditional relations between people and designed systems.]

larger, searchable PDF: affordance compass

Parchoma, G. (2014). The contested ontology of affordances: Implications for researching technological affordances for collaborative knowledge production. Computers in Human Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.028 

share the love

Leave a comment