Research in Education and Adult Education

The three major research themes in education and adult education are: learning society and public pedagogy; educational institutions as working and learning environments; and evaluation as critical and developmental activity. The particular strengths of the research in these areas are the philosophical, theoretical and historical research approach and the development of research methods.

The subject group participates actively in national and international thematic research projects and networks in the field, for example the projects in ”LINE (Learning in Interactive Environments) which is one of the advanced-level strong research areas in the University of Eastern Finland. Our publishing activities are diverse and lively.

Themes of Research

1. Learning Society and Public Pedagogy

The research focuses on the Finnish learning society and its changes as part of international development. We analyse the economic, technological, social and cultural preconditions, processes and results of education, learning, nationality and liberal adult education. We are interested in how nationality is formed, how it is developed over the course of life and how the increasing immigration and globalisation affect nationalities. These questions are approached from the point of view of philosophy of education and history of education and from a future-oriented perspective.

For instance, Growth into Citizenship in Civil Society Encounters (GROW, 2015-2019; Katariina Holma), a project funded by the Academy of Finland, focuses on the growth into nationality in a globalising world with an increasing variety of values. The research aims to achieve a new conceptualization for the education of nationality that will combine philosophical pragmatism and developmental ethnography. We are in charge of, in particular, the research on the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the growth into nationality.

2. Educational Institutions as Working and Learning Environments

We conduct multimethod research on educational institutions as learning, teaching and working environments. One of our special areas of interest is the changes related to universities, university teaching and the role of university teachers, university pedagogy, learning environments and teacher-researchers.

For example, there is an on-going research project about the bullying experienced by university students and teachers (2010- ; Matti Meriläinen) which examines the extent and nature of bullying and the contributing and preventive factors of bullying and inappropriate behaviour in learning and work communities. We study the consequences bullying and inappropriate behaviour have on different parties and the ways in which preventive communal operations models and problem-solving methods of bullying are being kept up-to-date.

3. Evaluation as Critical and Developmental Activity

The research focuses on the increasing amount of education and learning evaluation in the field of teaching and education. Issues related to ethics and the power of evaluation and the different forms of evaluation that enable evaluation methodologies and agents and motivate development are examined critically on all educational levels and in various educational institutions.

For example, there is an on-going research project Evaluation in the Fields of Education (2005- ; Päivi Atjonen) in which the evaluation of learning and institutions is examined both theoretically and empirically. The theoretical focus point is developmental evaluation. The project is partly involved in the LINE research area. Further information can be found on Päivi Atjonen’s wiki site.