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Students' approaches to learning

Model by Goodyear and Ellis

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
8 December 2008

Goodyear and Ellis (2008) University students’ approaches to learning:

rethinking the place of technology. Distance Education 29(2), 141-152

Present a nice form of schema or representation for conceptualising student

learning and use of tools.


  1. Activity: Centrality of the student activity as core
  2. Tasks: Specification of what the student actually does (this is different from the ‘activity’ – what teachers set of task are resources that students use in undertaking activities
  3. Social context: people
  4. Digital and physical context: tools and artefacts
  5. Outcomes: the outcome of the learning activity

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Chris Jones
10:54pm 9 December 2008

This distinction between tasks as specified in designs and by designers and the actual activity as enacted by students and teachers is part of a wider set of distinctions that Peter Goodyear describes as an indirect approach to design. He also distinguishes between Space and Place and Organisation and Community. In both cases the first aspect, spaces and organisations are open to design but are only loosely coupled with the places and communities that people develop i(from and) in these designed areas.

Peter Goodyear
3:11am 12 December 2008

There's more about the task:activity distinction, and other aspects of 'indirection' in design, in some papers I've written in the last few years. Of these, the easiest to get hold of is probably:

Goodyear, P. (2005). Educational design and networked learning: patterns, pattern languages and design practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(1), 82-101.

but the original (and perhaps best) explanation is in

Goodyear, P. (2000). Environments for lifelong learning: ergonomics, architecture and educational design. In J. M. Spector & T. Anderson (Eds.), Integrated and Holistic Perspectives on Learning, Instruction & Technology: Understanding Complexity (pp. 1-18). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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