distributed activity system

March 17, 2007

Today i took some time working on the distributed activity space figure.
distributed activity space 1

Figure 1: Distributed Activity System model (dashed line – learning medium affordances, dotted line – task affordances, continuous line – interpersonal affordances; *object – intention, goal).

I have explained this figure ideology earlier in my blog, but the advancement was in explaining all the meanings of activities that the activity system model illustrates.

For modelling the Activity System for distributed virtual settings it is reasonable to modify Engeström‘s (1999) model. The Distributed Activity System model, which i developed, distinguishes the direct manipulative actions performed with tools and material artifacts from the indirect communicative actions in, which people develop their common objects verbally and publish them at the same time via the mediating devices by involving some material artifacts into this process if necessary. The separation of the direct actions with manipulable objects, and indirect mediated communicative actions in the Distributed Activity System model reveals the mediated regulative dimension, in which the community must come to the common ground in their rules, distribution of labour, understanding of what is planned to do for realising the shared object in the form of knowledge artifact, and receiving feedback about the object-relevancy of their actions. The mediated social interactions between different subjects can also be illustrated.

The three typres of arrows of the Distributed Activity system model illustrate the areas, where certain coupling has to take place in order to make the elements of the Activity System meet each other without causing contradictions in the activity performance. These coupling areas illustrate three kinds of affordances – interpersonal affordances, task affordances and learning medium affordances – that might be described as learning affordances of Activity Systems for distributed learning.

Activity type
Activity description
Affordance type
1. Learners‘ tools
Assembling distributed learners and their learning spaces in groups, using shared communication spaces
learning medium affordances

2. Learners‘ roles; learners‘ roles with tools
Grounding, who will do what actions in teams with tools;
Grounding leardership etc.
interpersonal affordances
learning medium affordances

3. Learners‘ rules
Grounding, how to work; planning the meetings etc.
interpersonal affordances

4. Learners‘ rules with tools
Grounding, where to work and what activities to do in each medium
learning medium affordances

5. Learner and learner
Evaluating team-members, with whome you work socially
interpersonal affordances

6. Learners and objects
Grounding the content to be created, and the content of learning materials to be used, and their relationships
task affordances

7. Objects and tools
Materializing the object with tools
Creating the questionnaire and its content; publishing communicative acts
learning medium affordances

8. Object and material object
Grounding discussed learning content, and its realisation in material artifact
task affordances

9. Learners‘ rules, roles and objects
Grounding, how the subjects‘ performance was meaningful for realising their shared purpose
task affordances

Secondly i made the distributed activity space figure for trial 1.
trial 1 distributed activity space

One idea on what i am working with is showing what way did the initial trial 1 activity system affordances differed from the actual affordances what each group perceived as part of their activity system.

Second idea is to try showing the dynamical changes in the distributed activity system of certain groups.


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