Continuous learning

Continuous Learning research group is devoted to advancing high-quality research, and research-based teaching and societal interaction at the Learning and Learning Processes Research Unit, and at the Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Finland.

The group offers a conceptual home to academics whose research is focused on collective learning and learning processes, collaboration, work development, co-creation and continuous learning in the working life. Many of the studies carried out by this group base on sociocultural and /or activity theoretical perspectives, with a specific interest on reciprocal interaction between theory and practice. This group also strongly builds on multidisciplinarity and in addition to education it draws on other relevant disciplines. The researchers in this group embrace history and are, at the same time, particularly interested in future-oriented research designs and interventions, which enhance continuous learning and co-design of future activities in different working life settings facing transformation needs.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this research group, or carrying out a PhD thesis, please contact research group leader.

Contact information

Research group leader

  • Professor
    Anu Kajamaa

Contact person

Research group description

The Continuous Learning research group is focused on investigating and tackling demands of working life, with an aim to enhancing collective and continuous learning in local organizations. In Finland, and internationally, continuous learning is currently viewed a pivotal part of the working life and careers. Its importance is widely recognized in many fields of the society, also in the political decision making. Already prior to the corona pandemic, we witnessed multiple unexpected and rapid changes in the working life, related to issues such as technological transformations, robotization and increasing competence demands, which all call for continuous learning and organizational change.

From the perspective of this group, the actors in continuous learning are not only individuals, but also the society, systems and organisations, which are in a complex relationship. In this group, it is emphasized that continuous learning should not be viewed as a separate part of work activity, but as an essential part of work itself. Courses and learning environments outside of organisations are also seen an important part of competence development. Further, the emphasis in this group is on the importance of supporting learning and development at different stages of careers, and in different developmental phases of working communities.

The members of this group are experts in utilizing innovative, participatory learning methods and learning environments. In these particular contexts, learning processes are research assisted, to enhance the participants ability to critically analyze their current practices, and to co-create new activity models that support their daily work practices.

The interventionist studies carried out by the Continuous Learning research group have taken place in schools, teacher education, early childhood education, social welfare and healthcare services, prisons and business incubators. The group members belong to several national and international projects and consortiums, such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ projects. They collaborate with a multitude of distinguished national and international partners in several universities, such as Teachers College, Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Exeter, University College London, University of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Stavanger, Nancy-Metz Business School and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

The Continuous Learning group is active, for example, in the The Finnish Society for Research on Adult Education (https://www.aikuiskasvatuksentutkimusseura.fi/english), The Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group (SIG #30) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) (https://www.aera.net/SIG030/Cultural-Historical-Research-SIG-30) and The International Society of Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR).