Activity Theory

Activity theory is a theory of learning and activity proposed by a group of Russian psychologists in the 1920s and 1930s, including Lev Vygotsky. The theory proposes that humans never react directly to their environment, but rather, they interact with objects via mediators, which are tools and cultural means. In Russian and German, the term “activity” implies doing in order to achieve something, and in the case of activity theory, the term carries this implication. Thus, activity is a process of reaching a goal concerning objects, where tools and cultural means are utilized in reaching a given outcome. In contrast to the approaches that proponents of the theory have wanted to challenge, namely psychoanalysis and behaviourism, activity theory assumes that the interaction between human and environment is so complex, that considering them independently would be an oversimplification.


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