Instructional Science

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 47–63 | Cite as

Situations, interaction, process and affordances: An ecological psychology perspective

  • Michael F. Young
  • Andrew DePalma
  • Steven Garrett


From an ecological psychology perspective, afull analysis of any learning context mustacknowledge the complex nonlinear dynamics thatunfold as an intentionally-driven learnerinteracts with a technology-based purposefullydesigned learning environment. Further, a fullanalysis must avoid focusing only on theindividual within the learning context and notaccounting for the intentionality andconstraining influence of the designer and thebroader community. Finally, such an analysismust either pin down how learning anddevelopment can be driven by perception of theenvironment alone (detection of affordances),or alternatively from an ecologicalperspective, by a cyclical interaction ofperception and action. This paperpresents these parameters for any model ofcontext or situation in relationship to theissues raised by Akhras and Self's (this issue)presentation on intelligent learningenvironments. We propose that a full situationmodel would need to incorporate constraints notonly from the environment, but also from theindividual and most precisely from the specificinteraction at the moment of an occasion.

affordances constructivism context ecological psychology intelligent tutoring systems situated cognition 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael F. Young
    • 1
  • Andrew DePalma
    • 1
  • Steven Garrett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, Neag School of EducationThe University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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