Within the 'Virtual Mobility and Distributed Laboratories' project three naturalistic case studies of distributed research communities were conducted with a focus on the communication media used. The findings provide insight into relationships between the different media that the communities selected, and the different activities to which these media contributed. It is suggested that these findings are also relevant for distributed groups in which collaborative learning is the primary aim. A framework is presented for understanding and recommending selections of media for particular kinds of tasks, which is derived by integrating Media‐richness Theory and Activity Theory. This framework indicates how task/media fit may be achieved while taking into account the evolving character of activities in a distributed community. Some implications of the framework for collaborative distance learning are highlighted.
- Activity theory
- Collaborative distance learning
- Communication media
- Distributed research groups
- Media-richness theroy