Online social networking is an emerging area of interest to educational professionals and researchers alike. Unfortunately, more attention is paid to the process of knowledge-building resulting in less being paid to the processes of design which might enable sustainable collaborative knowledge-building (CKB) to flourish. The relative lack of attention to design, points to the need for methods to guide the development of CKB environments. This paper therefore draws on a larger study within an online social networking setting and focuses on the use of Activity Oriented Design Methods (Mwanza 2002) as a way to facilitate designers to capture a far-reaching perspective of the research and design context. In this presentation, I show how the AODM is used as a guide to operationalise various methods of data collection to gain a deeper insight into the context for further research. I argue that the development of a design framework to support sustainable CKB in online social networking environments is a complex process that demands a comprehensive activity-oriented approach to get a full picture the activity system in order to be responsive to learner needs. This approach suggests that there are implications for the way design for CKB is contextualised in such settings
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