Meaningful Learning in Different Settings

At the end of the year 2019 I had an opportunity to participate in Erasmus+ Staff Exchange Programme week in University of Tartu. Overall, objectives of the mobility were to network with practice, based researchers and developers, and to have two presentations in the EAPRIL2019 Conference. Activities to be carried out during the visit were as following: school visit, training seminar, presentations and discussions concerning collaboration in education and research. In this blog, focus is on the conference experiences.

The 14th annual EAPRIL Conference 2019 was organized by the European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning which brings together people interested in practice-based research in various learning contexts from formal education to professional learning. Networking and discussion are supported by 14 different clouds, thematic hubs for those with similar research interests. The total number of the participants was almost 500 from 33 countries (37 Finns). For more details, please see the dashboard.

Photo 1. The EAPRIL2019 conference took place in the city of Tartu, Estonia. (Photo: EAPRIL)

I had two presentations “The Promoters and Inhibitors during the Student`s Thesis Process in Social and Health Care”, and “Developing Open Access Publishing Platform for Practise-based Research” in the conference. The first was in the Roundtable of the Monitoring and Evaluating Students’ Learning Processes. The presentation was based on the Work-integrated Pedagogy in Higher Education (WORKPEDA) project where the operational models for the development of students’ working-life skills, curricular reforms, work-integrated pedagogy, and guidance as well as for the linkage between RDI activities and education are created. The project is founded on research knowledge about the cooperation between education and the world of work and about learning at the workplace. My study with Dr. Lahtinen focused on the development of the thesis process in Bachelor’s Degree Programmes of the Health Care and Social Services at LAB University of Applied Sciences.

The second presentation was a case study titled “Developing Open Access Publishing Platform for Practise-based Research”. It was based on my assignment as an Editor-in-chief of UAS Journal which is online publication that focuses on education, research and development activities in the fields of practice-oriented higher education in Finland. In addition, I chaired one Present & Discuss session of the Future Educational Challenges and Development. However, the most meaningful during the Erasmus+ Staff Exchange week was how the open dialogue and meeting with other participants.

Photo 2. The meeting with the members of the UAS Journal editorial board. (Photo: Ilkka Väänänen)

Next year EAPRIL2020, themed “Learning in the Age of Industry 4.0”, will be arranged in Kufstein (Austria) in co-operation with the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol.


Ilkka Väänänen works as a senior researcher at LAB University of Applied Sciences. He is the project manager of Lahti UAS at the Work-integrated Pedagogy in Higher Education (WORKPEDA) project which brings the working-life perspective more strongly into higher education. The project is based on the model of integrative pedagogy, in which working-life experience is reflected on in the light of theoretical knowledge. Taking an educational approach to work experience serves this purpose. The aim is to produce expertise that combines in-depth understanding, active agency, and versatile skills.

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