Evaluating Knowledge Sharing Factors based on Web-Based Learning: An Activity Theory Approach

Evaluating Knowledge Sharing Factors based on Web-Based Learning: An Activity Theory Approach

Hsiu-Mei Huang (National Taichung National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan), Shu-Sheng Liaw (China Medical University, Taiwan) and Lorna Uden (Staffordshire University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0137-6.ch017
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The purpose of this evaluation is not only to help instructors to know if online learners are experiencing difficulties, but also to assist with individual needs. Results prove that learners’ self-efficacy and learner autonomy were two predictors that affected learners in constructing knowledge by using WBL. Moreover, WBL was an important factor affecting learners’ knowledge sharing.
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Activity Theory

Activity theory claims activity and consciousness are the central mechanisms of learning because conscious learning and activity are interactive and interdependent (Jonassen, 2002). Activity theory is a form of sociocultural analysis that focuses on the activity system as the unit of analysis, rather than the learner. An activity system is any system of ongoing, object-directed, historically-conditioned, dialectically-structured, and tool-mediated human interactions (Russell, 1997). Activity systems contain interacting components and are organized to accomplish the activities of the activity subsystems (Engeström, 1999; Jonassen, 2002). Interacting components include subject, tools, object, division of labor, community, and rules. Figure 1 presents the activity system.

Figure 1.

Activity system


In an activity theory system, the subject means the individual or group of members engaged in the activity. Objects in activity theory are artifacts produced by the system. Tools are what the subject uses for acting on the object. Rules, which operate in any context or community, refers to the explicit regulations, policies, and conventions that constrain activity, as well as the implicit social norms, standards, and relationships among members of the community (Jonassen, 2002). The community consists of the individuals and subgroups that focus at least some of their efforts on the object. Division of labor refers both to the horizontal division of tasks between members of the community and also to the vertical division of power and status.

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