Creators of software apps ensure that their apps give their users the affordances required to intuitively set up learning activities. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines affordance as, “The qualities or properties of an object that define its possible uses or make clear how it can or should be used.”  In Blackboard’s learning management system (LMS), for example, instructors ask students to write a comment by clicking on the “Write Submission” button, which makes sense and gives students the affordance required to submit an assignment. However, the same “Write Submission” button is where students must go to submit their video assignment. This is poor design as it is non-intuitive. This button does not offer the affordances needed to submit a video assignment. This is when users get frustrated and question their digitally literacy. So, be assured that it is not you, it is the software designers.  

Technology is now “a mile wide and an inch deep”, meaning that there are endless user-friendly options. If you spend more than a few minutes to get going on the basics of an app then try a different one. Good educational tools are made to be intuitive for the instructor and even more so for the students who are the consumers.

Instructors and students should be working in the cognitive domain (what to do) and not in the psychomotor (how to do it). Consider using a different digital tool if students are asking you for more technical support then they are pedagogical support.


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