Activity theory refers to a psychological framework that is based on the concept that humans are defined by the activities they perform on objects in the real world and by the tools that are used to accomplish these activities. In addition, these activities occur within social, cultural, and historical contexts that give them meaning. After briefly discussing activity theory’s origins and later models, this entry focuses on its application to human interaction with computers and other digital technologies, which can assist with knowledge seeking and active learning.


The origins of activity theory can be traced to the work of Russian psychologists, most notably Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (1896–1934), Alexander Romanovich Luria (1902–1977), and Alexei Nikolaevich Leont’ev (1903– 1979). Their work was influenced by Karl Marx (1818– 1883), ...

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