Monica Dial Nipaporn Somyoo Alexander Scharmann


The literature identifying factors that influence learning, motivation, identity formation and participation, termed affordances, has focused primarily on face-to-face classrooms. However, literature about affordances within online synchronous classrooms at the graduate level is only just emerging. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to contribute to uncovering the affordances in online synchronous classrooms at a graduate level. Using a qualitative method with a phenomenological design, learners from a hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy program using online synchronous classrooms participated in a semi-structured interview via video conference. Interviews were transcribed via Zoom software and then manually coded using NVivo 12 software. Additionally, two previously recorded synchronous classes were observed and manually coded. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify and refine codes to construct themes and subthemes. Three major themes were identified from the coded data: teacher influence, learner positionality, and social connection are three major affordances that can change learner motivation, identity formation, and learning perceptions in the online synchronous graduate-level classroom. This study adds a new perspective to the existing literature on affordances affecting participation. Using interviews and observing online classes, this research provides a comprehensive analysis of affordances that influenced learning outcomes in an online synchronous classroom at the graduate level. By understanding the affordances that impact how learners participate, teachers can design classrooms that have the potential to improve learner outcomes.