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Poster presented at LASI2018, Aalborg University, Copenhagen
By Soegaard, Mette, Cphbusiness, Copenhagen, Denmark

Introduction and problem

Using software for word processing affords i.e. writing. Using that tool does not require the same amount of manual dexterity or eye-hand coordination as writing with a pen on paper. What else changes when using digital tools for learning?

If the digital tools in and of themselves offer affordances for some learning activities and do not require other activities, one must assume the chosen pedagogy is mirrored in the students’ use of digital tools.

The educational design needs to take both the formal and the informal teaching/learning provided by the tools into account.

This poster suggests one way of mining for questions to be examined further regarding the European Commission’s “Key Competences for Lifelong Learning”

Methodology and Empirical Basis

A survey (N=375) was done in regard to the use of software for study purposes among students and teachers at two universities in Denmark. The different types of software were analysed regarding Learning Affordances supporting the Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning.


I used the European Commission’s “Key Competences for Lifelong Learning” (EUR-Lex, 2006) dissolved into required learning affordances (Bower, 2008) to triangulate the qualitative data (Jansen, 2010) with Bower’s affordance analysis e-learning design methodology (Bower, 2008), looking for outliers.

Figure 1: Affordance analysis e-learning design methodology (Bower, 2008) with my notes


From Soegaards master thesis (2016), two correlations with significant effect sizes will be reported here:

  • Video conference is being used more by one study program (47.4% against 27.6% on average). The study program is an online program, using video conferences as one primary way of communicating between students and staff and students in study groups.
  • The affordance “search-ability” did not show significance, but the tools used for searching did: The use of Wikipedia was on average 25.4%, but one study program did not mention using it. The use of library databases was, on average, 10.2%, and one study program reported using it significantly more with 27.8%

Analysis and Discussion

The reporting of one tool over another does not imply how the tool is being used.

The use of video conferences in an online master’s program is an unsurprising pedagogical choice and might be indicated in the numbers.

If the use of search engines is tied to critical thinking, it might be worth examining the pedagogy of the study programmes further and finding out if the numbers show choice or hidden bias.


This poster does not claim to report any results of validity!

But triangulating European pedagogical goals, learning affordances at the used tools reported in the survey and qualitative statistical analysis might give a glimpse of the pedagogy and biases and it could be a stepping stone to further qualitative inquiries prior to isolating variables to be quantitatively verified.


Thank you to my master thesis supervisor Pantelis Papadopoulos for encouraging me to mine the data set as well.


Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis–matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15.

EUR-Lex – 32006H0962 – EN – EUR-Lex. (2006). Retrieved from

Soegaard, M. (2016). From Students to Lifelong Learners: How the Offered Affordances of Digital Personal Learning Environments Support the Students. Master. Aarhus University.

Jansen, H. (2010). The logic of qualitative survey research and its position in the field of social research methods. In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 11, No. 2).