Working life oriented ecosystems of learning as a research subject

Anne Virtanen, Hannu L. T. Heikkinen, Päivi Tynjälä & Maarit Virolainen, University of Jyväskylä, Finnish Institute for Educational Research

In January 2018, a team of researchers from the Finnish Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä made a request to universities of applied sciences, asking them to share their good working life oriented practices so that they could be studied. The research team hoped that the practices would yield meaningful competencies for work and promote digital learning methods in operations. By studying the practices reported, the research team is hoping to produce information on what working life oriented learning ecosystems could be, what characteristics are identified in them and how they work.

Several good working life oriented practices were reported to the research team, which studied a total of six practices from different fields and from around Finland more closely in spring and summer 2018 by interviewing teachers, students and working life representatives.

According to preliminary analyses (Tynjälä, Heikkinen, Virtanen, Virolainen & Laitinen-Väänänen, 2018), good working life oriented practices are

  • large study modules that may bundle up several courses to be completed at the same time.
  • based on learning and doing things together in one way or another. They also involve teachers stepping away from the front of the class to guide and support the learning of students.
  • most often based on project-based learning and practices that require multidisciplinary competence.

Closer analysis will be continued in autumn 2018, after the transcriptions of the interview materials are completed. A few new research subjects – good working life oriented practices – may be added to the study, which will further increase the effectiveness and reliability of the study.


Tynjälä, P., Heikkinen, H. L. T., Virtanen, A., Virolainen, M. & Laitinen-Väänänen, S. 2018. Integrating Work and Learning in Finnish Higher Education. Esitys Research on Work and Learning -seminaari 4.6.2018. Jyväskylä.