CHAT framework to study affordances in CALL environments




affordances, cultural historical activity theory, CALL


This paper proposes to explore the theory of affordances in the light of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) to study affordances in complex Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) environments. The term ‘affordance’ designates an action possibility that is offered by an environment or an object to an actor in the environment either “for good or ill” (Gibson, 1979). It depends not only on the inherent characteristics of the environment but also on the users’ perception and action capabilities. CALL affordances are said to be a unique combination of social, educational, linguistic, and technological affordances (Blin, 2016a). However, there is limited research to date that looks at affordances from an ecological perspective linking the micro moment-to-moment interaction levels with the macro level within which they are embedded in educational contexts (Blin, 2016a). This paper explores the analytical tools of CHAT (Leontyev, 1978; Engeström, 1987) as particularly suitable to investigate affordances at the macro, meso and micro levels of technology-mediated sociocultural educational contexts in CALL.


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Author Biography

Aparajita Dey-Plissonneau, Dublin City University

I am currently Assistant Professor in French in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS) in Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland. My research interests are in the fields of CALL, online learning and teaching, telecollaboration and videoconferencing. My doctoral research was on designed and emerging affordances in tutor-learner interactions via videoconferencing for second language learning and teaching. It was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Françoise Blin. I was awarded the prestigious Irish Research Council, Government of Ireland scholarship for my PhD study. I have presented my research in a number of webinars, EuroCALL conferences and CALICO. Here is a list of my conference publications and presentations:

Dey-Plissonneau, A. (2018). Designed and Emerging Affordances in Videoconferencing for Language Learning and Teaching. In Taalas, P., Kalkanen, J., Bradley, L. & S. Thouësny, S. (Eds), Future-proof CALL: language learning as exploration and encounters - short papers from EUROCALL 2018 (pp. 35-40).

Dey-Plissonneau, A. (2017). Emerging Affordances in Videoconferencing for Language Learning and Teaching. In K. Borthwick, L. Bradley & Thouësny, S. (Eds), CALL in a climate of change: adapting to turbulent global conditions – short papers from EUROCALL 2017 (pp. 92-98).

Dey-Plissonneau, A., & Blin, F. (2016). Emerging Affordances in Telecollaborative Multimodal Interactions. In S. Jager & M. Kurek (Eds), New directions in telecollaborative research and practice: selected papers from the second conference on telecollaboration in higher education (pp. 1-8). Dublin:

Dey-Plissonneau, A. (2019). Designed and Emerging Affordances in Relation with Interactional Breakdowns in Tutor-Tutee Instructional Uses of Conversation for L2 (French) Development via Synchronous Videoconferencing. CALICO 2019 Conference, Make It So, May 21-25, Montreal.


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Research papers