Applying Activity Theory to Computer-supported Collaborative Learning and Work-based Activities in Corporate Settings

Betty Collis, Anoush Margaryan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Business needs in many corporations call for learning outcomes that involve problem solutions, and creating and sharing new knowledge within worksplace situation that may involve collaboration among members of a team. We argue that work-based activities (WBA) and computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) are appropriate components for courses in such learning situations. Via this approach, collaborative work situations become the core of a course. We further describe how activity theory can provide a framework for the design of courses that involve WBA and CSCL as part of a workplace-oriented activity system for learning. The use of this design approach for courses offered by the Learning and Leadership Development organization of Shell International Exploration and Production is described and an example is elaborated. Finally, we identify four main issues and challenges that arose during the use of the design approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)38-52
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative learning
  • Activity theory
  • CSCL
  • Informal learning
  • Blended learning

Cite this