Integrating technologies into ‘‘authentic’’ assessment design: an affordances approach

  • Richard Osborne University of Exeter
  • Elisabeth Dunne University of Exeter
  • Paul Farrand University of Exeter
Keywords: employability, assessment, authentic, learningDesign, technology, affordance,


Current pressures in higher education around student employability are driving new initiatives for change. Assessment is also a topic of debate, as it is a key driver of student behaviour, yet often falls behind other metrics in national surveys. In addition, increasing focus on digital literacies is catalysing new appreciations of what emerging digital culture might mean for both students and staff. These three highly topical challenges were jointly explored by the University of Exeter’s Collaborate project, which aimed to create employability-focused assessments enhanced by technology. By combining existing research on assessment with grounded data derived from local stakeholders, the project has developed a model for assessment design which embeds employability directly into the curriculum. Digital technologies have been aligned with this model using a “top trump” metaphor, where key affordances of technologies are highlighted in the context of the model. This paper explores the design-based research approach taken to develop this model and associated “top trumps”, along with results from the first practical iteration. Results suggest that the model is effective in supporting the design of an “authentic” assessment and that a targeted affordances approach can support the alignment of specific technologies with a particular pedagogic design.

Keywords: employability; assessment; authentic; affordance; evaluation

(Published: 6 September 2013)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2013, 21: 21986 -


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How to Cite
Osborne R., Dunne E., & Farrand P. (2013). Integrating technologies into ‘‘authentic’’ assessment design: an affordances approach. Research in Learning Technology, 21.
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