Understanding and Examining Design Activities with Cultural Historical Activity Theory

  • Lisa C. Yamagata-LynchEmail author
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)


In this chapter, I discuss the need in instructional technology to understand design within the context of complex real-world human activities. I propose cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) as a theoretical framework that can provide a method for uncovering the complexities involved in real-world design. In this discussion I share my personal design experience at a Global Communications Company and provide a sample case and its analysis about one family’s experience building a Passive Home in the United States.


Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) Vygotsky Activity theory Activity systems analysis Leontiev Engeström Corporate training Instructional design Design models Mediated action Sociocultural Qualitative research 



I would like to thank the editors of this volume and reviewers assigned to comment on my work. There were several reviewers, but I would like to particularly thank Dr. Craig Howard who poured attention to this chapter when it was not one of the chapters he was assigned to review. His comments challenged my thinking and had influence on its final development. I would also like to thank my colleague Dr. Trena Paulus who volunteered and took time reviewing this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Psychology and CounselingUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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