This chapter introduces the concept of mediating artefacts, which is one of the key principles underpinning the open learning design methodology described in this book. It outlines the background to the concept and gives examples of the ways in which it can be used. It describes how the origins of the concept are grounded in a sociocultural perspective and discusses how it is used specifically in the area of learning design. Illustrative examples are provided of the different mediating artefacts practitioners use to guide their design process.


  1. Agostinho, S. (2006, December 3–6). The use of visual learning design representation to document and communicate teaching ideas. In Proceedings of the ASCILITE Conference, Sydney. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  2. Agostinho, S., Harper, B., Oliver, R., Hedberg, J., & Wills, S. (2008). A visual learning design representation to facilitate dissemination and reuse of innovative pedagogical strategies in university teaching. In L. Botturi & S. T. Stubbs (Eds.), Handbook of visual languages for instructional design: Theories and practices (pp. 380–393). Hershey/New York: Information Science Reference.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, C. (1977). Pattern languages. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A pattern language: Towns, buildings, construction (Vol. 2). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessment: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  6. Beetham, H. (2004). Review: Developing e-learning models for the JISC practitioner community (A Report for the JISC E-pedagogy Programme, JISC). Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  7. Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, the classification of educational goals: Handbook 1 – Cognitive domain. New York: McKay.Google Scholar
  8. Botturi, L., & Stubbs, T. (2008). Handbook of visual languages for instructional design: Theories and practices. Hershey: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  9. Botturi, L., Derntl, M., Boot, E., & Figl, K. (2006, July 5–7). A classification framework for educational modelling languages in instructional design. In Proceedings of the ICALT Conference, Kerkrade, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  10. Cole, M., & Engeström, Y. (1993). A cultural-historical approach to distributed cognition. In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed cognition – Psychological and educational considerations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cole, M., Engeström, Y., & Vasquez, O. A. (1997). Mind, culture and activity: Seminal papers from the laboratory of comparative human cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Conole, G. (2007). Describing learning activities: Tools and resources to guide practice. In H. Beetham & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing and delivering e-learning. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Conole, G. (2008). Capturing practice, the role of mediating artefacts in learning design. In L. Lockyer, S. Bennett, S. Agostinho, & B. Harper (Eds.), Handbook of learning designs and learning objects. Hershey: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  14. Conole, G. (2010). Review of pedagogical frameworks and models and their use in e-learning. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  15. Conole, G., Brasher, A., Cross, S., Weller, M., Clark, P., & White, J. (2008). Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity. Educational Media International, 54(3), 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Conole, G., McAndrew, P., & Dimitriadis, Y. (2010). The role of CSCL pedagogical patterns as mediating artefacts for repurposing open educational resources. In F. Pozzi & D. Persico (Eds.), Techniques for fostering collaboration in online learning communities: Theoretical and practical. Hershey: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  17. Cross, S., Conole, G., Clark, P., Brasher, A., & Weller, M. (2008, July 25). Mapping a landscape of learning design: Identifying key trends in current practice at the Open University. LAMS Conference, Cadiz, Spain.Google Scholar
  18. Currier, S., Campbell, L., & Beetham, H. (2005). JISC pedagogical vocabularies project – Report 1: Pedagogical vocabularies review. London: JISC. Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  19. Daniels, H., Cole, M., & Wertsch, J. V. (2007). The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Dimitriadis, Y., McAndrew, P., Conole, G., & Makriyannis, E. (2009, December 7–9). New design approaches to repurposing open educational resources for collaborative learning using mediating artefacts. In Proceedings of the ASCILITE Conference, Auckland. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  21. Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity-theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.Google Scholar
  22. Engeström, Y., Punamäki-Gitai, R. L., & Miettinen, R. (1999). Perspectives on activity theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Falconer, I., & Littlejohn, A. (2006). Mod4L report: Case studies, exemplars and learning designs (Report of the JISC Mod4L Project). Glasgow: Glasgow Caledonian University. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  24. Goodyear, P. (2005). Educational design and networked learning: Patterns, pattern languages and design practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(1), 82–101.Google Scholar
  25. Goodyear, P., & Retalis, S. (2010). Technology-enhanced learning: Design patterns and pattern languages. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Hernández-Leo, D., Villasclaras-Fernández, E. D., Ascensio-Pérez, J., Dimitriadis, I., Jorrín-Abellán, I. M., Ruiz-Requies, I., & Rubia-Avi, B. (2006). COLLAGE: A collaborative learning design editor based on patterns. Educational Technology and Society, 9(1), 58–71.Google Scholar
  27. Kaptelinin, V., & Nardi, B. (2006). Activity theory in a nutshell, acting with technology. In V. Kaptenlinin & B. Nardi (Eds.), Activity theory and interaction design (pp. 29–72). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Kutti, K. (1996). Activity theory as potential framework for human computer interaction research. In B. Nardi (Ed.), Context and consciousness: Activity and human-computer interaction. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking university teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies (2nd ed.). London: RoutledgeFalmer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leontiev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness and personality. Englewood Cliff/New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  32. Leontiev, A. N. (1989). The problem of activity in the history of Soviet psychology. Soviet Psychology, 27(1), 22–39.Google Scholar
  33. Lever, T. (2006, December 3–6). Who’s designing for whom? Comparing taxonomies in web-based educational design galleries. In Proceedings of the ASCILITE Conference, Sydney. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  34. Luria, A. (1976). Cognitive development: Its cultural and social foundations. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Mayes, T., & De Freitas, S. (2004). Review of e-learning frameworks, models and theories. JISC e-Learning Models Desk Study. Available online at Accessed 11 Aug 2011.
  36. Nardi, B. (1995). Context and consciousness: Activity and human-computer interaction. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Salmon, G. (2003). E-moderating – The key to teaching and learning on line (2nd ed.). London: Koan Page.Google Scholar
  38. Van Es, R., & Koper, R. (2006). Testing the pedagogical expressiveness of IMD LD. Education, Technology and Society, 9(1), 229–249. Available online at Accessed 20 Sept 2011.
  39. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society, the development of higher psychological processes. Oxford: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Learning, meaning and identity (Learning in doing: Social, cognitive, and computational perspectives). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mind. A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Wilson, P. (2007). Progress report on capturing e-learning case studies (Internal Report). Milton Keynes: The Open University.Google Scholar
  44. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 17(2), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gráinne Conole
    • 1
  1. 1.Beyond Distance Research AllianceUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations