Activity Theory Basic Concepts And Applications Pdf
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- Activity Theory: Basic Concepts and Applications
- Activity theory
- Activity theory: Basic concepts and applications
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The adoption rates of e-books for academic use remain low, and research into the reasons for this have resulted in inconclusive findings. Factors such as student perception, and variations in experimental methodology and technology, contribute to difficulties in generalising findings and establishing conclusive causes for this problem.
To better understand the causal factors for low adoption rates and the student's experience with ereaders and digital text, an investigation was conducted by the lead researcher as a student enrolled in a postgraduate course. The experiment was designed using e-book and digital text documents on an ereader for academic study and the results analysed with the framework of Activity Theory. This methodology allowed exploration of the problem within the authentic experience of a student to examine the effects of this social environment on ereader and e-book use.
Analysis of the work domain was conducted and a comparative assessment of the observed effect of using the digital documents on an ereader compared with the paper book.
Findings show that attempts to apply self-regulation and metacognitive learning techniques within the activity using the ereader were abandoned due to breakdowns in operations, and that this resulted in a perceived lower quality of achievement.
The effect on the processes used by the student were extreme and were observed to be highly dependent on the student's use of specific learning strategies. The experimental methodology employed in this investigation enabled identification of the role of the social environment in the use of course documents on an ereader for academic study.
The functionality of the ereader was such an extremely poor fit with the observed academic processes that a redesign approach for ereader and e-book technology is proposed as a solution to the low adoption rates of e-books. Even though there are clear differences between the academic and leisure market sectors, the same e-book and ereader products are offered for each sector.
After the initial hype over the introduction of the ereader, both the ereader and e-books met with resistance to adoption and sales in recent years are slightly declining Publishers Association, What are the effects of using digital text or ereaders for learning and academic study and how does this relate to adoption rates?
What changes can be made to e-book and digital text delivery to improve the adoption rates? To explore the effect of using an ereader for academic study, an experiment was designed and conducted as a comparative analysis of the effect on academic study of the use of an ereader and a paper book.
Autoethnography Anderson, and Activity Theory Vygotsky, were applied in a novel methodological application with supporting concepts from information theory Belkin, Testing was conducted using both an ereader and a paper book within the context of postgraduate course requirements for two concurrent course modules.
Variables of technological variation, user perception, test environment and student learning strategies were kept constant, providing internal validity for the causal property of the ereader. In this way, it was possible to isolate and examine the effects caused by the ereader.
The complexity of the work practices employed by the student and the detailed impact of the change to digital text was examined and linked to the variation in findings on students' use of e-books and their low adoption rates.
Variation in comprehension when using ereaders and digital text provides some of the most inconclusive findings among studies, particularly in relation to the perception of comprehension.
The methodology of this investigation was designed to address two particular factors affecting literature findings: student perception and understanding the effect on study processes of the use of e-books within the social environment.
A brief overview of theoretical concepts utilised in the analysis of experimental results is presented here. Information Behaviour describes human behaviour used in seeking and utilising all forms of communication in a wide range of settings and scenarios Wilson, For this research, information use behaviour is relevant as the interpretation and use of written information for learning as well as information seeking behaviour in working with the ereader and paper book.
According to Belkin, when using information for learning, the student will recognise a difference between the knowledge required for the established purpose and the knowledge currently held. Kuhlthau uses information seeking behaviour to describe the steps taken in the case that a learner abandons resolution of an ASK. In this instance Kuhlthau noted that the subject had emotional responses to searching for the required information and that, in the absence of confidence that this information need can be resolved, the learner abandons the search.
Kuhlthau noted that this occurs when a number of attempts to resolve the information need, including by restructuring the search, do not return fruitful results and the user concludes that they will not be able to resolve the ASK. This experimental environment includes the pressures of the academic social setting to incorporate the authentic parameters required to generate this behaviour. Information theory Belkin, ; Kuhlthau, ; Wilson, will be used to recognise the exercise of this behaviour as well as the setting of goals in relation to knowledge gaps and information selection and retrieval using the different media.
The findings confirmed that students read in different patterns to a leisure reader when using e-books, and study participants demonstrated pre-reading text subconsciously and focusing on selections of interest when performing academic reading.
Separate from comprehension, the concept of learning is very relevant for investigations into the adoption of e-books for academic use. Where it has been possible to assess comprehension in laboratory tests, learning is a more complicated application of skills and techniques that students employ in response to course requirements and social ambitions. The model of Activity Theory is powerful as an enormously useful lens for diagnosis, particularly for complicated human systems where motivation, creativity and interactions with an artefact or tool are core factors.
The goal and outcome are determined by the subject within the social context and this experiment was conducted with assessable academic requirements. Using this description, the nature of the activity is defined by the content of the object.
Leont'ev also described the role of the social-historical context in generating and motivating the activity and the outcome requirements are balanced by the perceived system conditions, the constraints of the rules and the influence of the community.
As the activity progresses, there is a constant intricate adjustment of this perception and weighing of an acceptable outcome with consideration of the community and rules.
The processes occurring within the activity system are described as actions and operations Leont'ev, Actions are conscious processes that are created and enacted by the subject in order to achieve a goal and these translate to Engelbart's executive function when considering cognitive load and working memory.
The actions are constructed of a number of operations that can be subconscious to the subject Leont'ev, , which reduce the cognitive load of the activity. Adapted under CC-by-SA The understanding of the conditions, including the functionality of the tool, are critical to successful transformation of the object to the ideal goal state Leontyev, Nardi, Kuutti and Kaptelinin in particular, have explored it's use as a framework that considers the role of information technology as the mediating tool, and the psychological aspects of user engagement Nardi, Activity theory analysis in HCI has no formalised practice methodology and for these studies a wide range of supporting theories and processes were employed to inform relationship analyses and observe interactions.
Bedny and Meister proposed modern applications of activity theory including studies of situational awareness Bedny and Meister, and user design. Understanding and being able to utilise the system processes is critical for self-regulation and Bedny noted the importance of the system conditions and planning for goal-directed activity. In the creative activity of learning, students respond to information needs, use strategies and balance priorities. In giving context to Information Technology problems Kuutti, , analysis using Activity Theory can be used to explore the cognitive processes of decision making and prioritisation in relation to goal achievement.
This is of benefit when the social environment is suspected as a critical factor and in a study of academic behaviour among doctoral candidates Lei and Hu, , activity theory analysis was used to understand the students' decision making when interacting with their environment to solve academic problems. The work of Davydov , Tikhomirov and Bodker were utilised in this research for their applicability to the issues and methodology of this investigation, and are discussed below.
In an analysis of the interdisciplinary use of Activity Theory, Davydov recognised continuing problems in determining a methodological approach and proposed 4 stages of study applications. These stages have been interpreted and utilised for analysis of the results of this research. In his development of activity theory, Tikhomirov noted the relevance of the activity theory model to creative activity and described additional objects in the form of the new product of the activity and the image of the future object.
He proposed that creativity is the development of possibilities in the form of these new images. Within this research, the image of the future object was the ideal knowledge state that the subject worked towards and the new product is the transformed knowledge state that is evaluated against the goal and iteratively updated.
The application of the model of activity theory to creative activities shows a complex iteration and generation of actions, modification of goals and assessment of priorities in the transformation of the object to the ideal state. Bodker used breakdowns and focus shifts developed by Winograd and Flores and Activity Theory to analyse interaction with information systems in a project with the Danish Labour Service DLS. To better understand the processes and problems of the employees using a new computer system, interviews, videotapes of use, ethnography and interaction records were compiled and inspected for breakdowns and focus shifts.
The project sought to identify the real problems encountered when using the technology on the job and to link the processes employed by staff to the particular motives of the subjects. Bodker defined breakdowns within the activity system as disrupted work, and focus shifts as a change in focus causing a deliberate action Bodker, These definitions and interpretations have been incorporated for assessment of the ereader within this experiment.
For this investigation, analytic autoethnography is used with activity theory to explore the use of an ereader within an actual academic social context. Academic study is a predominantly cognitive activity, and to understand the effect of the tool on learning strategies and decision making, access to the internal processes of the student was facilitated by autoethnography.
To address this issue within the experiment, the interactions and decision-making processes were journalised and coded using information theory concepts Belkin, ; Kuhlthau, ; Wilson, and modelling with activity theory enables some generalisation of results and external validity beyond the single sample set Anderson, The experimental design addresses the issues identified from literature of student perception, technological variation, and the social environment to identify the effect of using e-books.
Testing was observed in a real academic environment using AE and subsequent analysis using the AT framework incorporated the effects of the social environment on processes, goal-orientation and decision making Leont'ev, The experiment was conducted by the lead researcher as an enrolled postgraduate student and testing was completed within course timeframes.
Investigation as a participant researcher subject to academic pressures enabled exploration of this line of enquiry. When multiple students are used for testing and the results compared within a sample set, the variation in patterns of use presents a significant variable affecting observation of the effect of the ereader. This generates complexity in the assessment of the effect of using digital text on annotation, and other individualised learning practices. Using the same student for a comparative study of the effect of the two types of media, removes the impact on results of varied student practices.
To confirm the relevance of the example, the experimental results are placed within the set of literature findings. The experiment is confined to academic use only. The experiment examines e-book use, and the use of journal and smaller digital text documents separately, in response to significant differences in sales statistics Publishers Association, The experiment is designed to produce differential results that are observed by comparing the use of the two media types within constant experimental parameters.
Observational bias is minimised through normalisation of this effect in the comparative experiment. The effect of the ereader was isolated by maintaining consistency in experimental parameters other than the mediating tool.
Autoethnography provided detail into the cognitive decision making and metacognitive learning processes which was mapped to goal-directed actions and workflows that could be directly compared.
The Kobo Aura One Kobo, was selected as it provided advanced functionality and enabled importing of the most document types of any ereader on the market. While the Kindle ereader was more popular, this was a due to the larger market share for the Kindle store which would have no bearing on the experiment. The large range of imported document types available on the Kobo ereader provided the best possible outcome for Section 2 of the experiment which tested multiple document formats.
The Kobo Aura One offered the most functionality within the Kobo range other than the newer Kobo Clara Kobo, , which was found to be too small to accommodate sufficient text at an average font size.
The experiment commenced in and was completed in 6 months over 25 study sessions. Comparative assessment of the use of a paper book and e-book on the Kobo ereader for an assigned course text. Chapter one of the set textbooks for two separate modules were read to completion in a number of study sessions. Journal notes were made during or immediately subsequent to reading and were typed onto a laptop, phone or tablet as available depending on location.
Occasionally notes were handwritten and transcribed. To consider the use of the Kobo ereader for the entire requirements for one course module, the Kobo was used for all lectures and course provided documents for the semester. This section of the experiment explored the use of smaller documents with varied formatting.
Davydov's four stages of investigation were interpreted to analyse and model the activity from the experimental results. The activity is identified by the content of the object Davydov, ; Leont'ev, and, for the student, the object undergoing transformation is the knowledge state of the subject.
On considering the annotation and note-taking that is incorporated when using the book or ereader, the knowledge state must include written work. The object is thus defined as the internal conceptual , and external written knowledge state of the user.
This description then leads to identification of the activity as academic work. Interactions with the object are mediated using the reading material on an ereader or paper book. Identification and inspection of the goal and outcome of this activity stage 3 , revealed that the outcome desired was a positive academic result. This identification clearly contrasted with the use of an ereader or paper book for leisure reading.
Activity Theory: Basic Concepts and Applications
The objective is to explore activity theory as a suitable interdisciplinary theoretical framework, where to place the social, pedagogical and technological elements of blended learning in higher education and considering the adoption and effectiveness of blended learning, constituting the new normality, in the current context of presence and intensive use of digital technologies in education. It concludes on the international validity of the theory of activity and its permanent transformation and historical evolution from its origins to the present day, it allows to transcend the individual character towards a collective character, adequately representing the social, technological and historical-cultural elements present throughout the formative activity. Media-rich digital learning platforms, personalized or adaptable courses and web conferencing tools, capable of connecting students to synchronous distance activities, are becoming common solutions for blended learning BL learning projects ALEXANDER et al. This trend is confirmed in the study by Alexander et al. In this scenario, we face the challenge of addressing this emerging context in educational institutions, based on their possibilities for change and research, from a theoretical and methodological perspective that addresses the complexity and multidimensionality of new realities. For this, we will first investigate the possibilities offered by the BL modality in learning, whose rich emergence is generated by technological advances, for which the educational institution was not able to remain oblivious, given the presence in the daily life of many expressions of technology. We will conduct a review of the use and benefits offered by the dynamic activity theory AT to understand how to learn and research with technology, based on the historical assessment of its three generations, to offer at the end of the article a scheme of use of applied AT to BL.
These basic principles of Activity Theory include object-orientedness, the dual concepts of internalization/externalization, tool mediation, hierarchical structure of.
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Activity theory: Basic concepts and applications
At a later time it was advocated for and popularized by Alexei Leont'ev. Some of the traces of the theory in its inception can also be found in a few works of Lev Vygotsky ,. It became one of the major psychological approaches in the former USSR , being widely used in both theoretical and applied psychology, and in education, professional training , ergonomics , social psychology and work psychology. Activity theory is more of a descriptive meta-theory or framework than a predictive theory. It accounts for environment, history of the person, culture, role of the artifact, motivations, and complexity of real-life activity.
The objective of the tutorial is to introduce attendees to Activity Theory, a general theoretical framework for the analysis of human and communal action in the world. After an overview of the theory, focus shifts to how this framework can be utilized in practice. Some examples are shown of how this framework can provide a fresh perspective on certain extant problems in the fields of HCI and CSCW. Hopefully, participants become more aware of the nature and complexity of current controversies concerning the role of theory in the design of computer artifacts. By the end of the tutorial, participants should be able to understand the basic principles of the approach, and to describe their work activities in ways illuminated by this framework.
Activity theory -- a conceptual framework originally developed by Aleksei Leontiev -- has its roots in the socio-cultural tradition in Russian psychology. The foundational concept of the theory is human activity , which is understood as purposeful, mediated, and transformative interaction between human beings and the world. Since the early s, activity theory has been a visible landmark in the theoretical landscape of Human-Computer Interaction HCI. Along with some other frameworks, such as distributed cognition and phenomenology, it established itself as a leading post-cognitivist approach in HCI and interaction design. In this book we discuss the conceptual foundations of activity theory and its contribution to HCI research. After making the case for theory in HCI and briefly discussing the contribution of activity theory to the field Chapter One we introduce the historical roots, main ideas, and principles of activity theory Chapter Two. After that we present in-depth analyses of three issues which we consider of special importance to current developments in HCI and interaction design, namely: agency Chapter Three , experience Chapter Four , and activity-centric computing Chapter Five.