Sustaining Education by Actualizing Affordances of Social Media Platforms During the Pandemic

  •  Naser G. H. Ali    
  •  Rabab D. Alsaffar    
  •  Yousif H. Alenzi    
  •  Faisal M. Almutairi    


This paper draws on the affordances theory and investigates the ways in which pre-service teachers are sustaining social media uptake in learning by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by the new delivery methods during the pandemic. This research is part of a descriptive mixed methods study. A questionnaire and in-depth, qualitative interviews were used to explore pre-service teachers’ perceptions of the affordances of social media platforms for learning and the actualization of those affordances. The survey and interview data were analyzed through the theoretical lens of affordance theory. The results suggest that the pre-service teachers actualized the affordances of social media by their knowledgeable use in a dynamic learning environment. The key findings are that the teachers perceived the social media applications to be flexible, useful and practical (functional affordances), bridges formal and informal learning and supported self-regulated learning (cognitive affordances), allowed pre-service teachers to assume new identities and discover learning as independent learners who had control over their learning (identity creation affordances), and fostered interaction and collaborative feedback (social affordances). Lack of guidance or lack of teacher presence was the main constraint. This research produces new knowledge and analysis and makes new theoretical contributions on the specific affordances of social media technologies. This study adds to and extends existing literature by contributing to an understanding of the actualization of the affordances of social media platforms.

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