Research centers and groups

Research Centers and Groups, functioning alongside Learning, Culture and Interventions Expert Group.
Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE)


The CRADLE takes its theoretical and methodological inspiration from cultural-historical activity theory  (CHAT) and from the broader family of sociocultural approaches. Also, theories of knowledge building, collective creativity and design-related learning are fruitful source of inspiration for CRADLE researchers.The research areas of CRADLE include:

  • Human activity in societal and cultural contexts across everyday life, school, work, and communities of science and culture
  • Technology-intensive knowledge practices in educational systems and working life; expansion and augmentation of human activity potentials by relying on collaborative learning supported by information and communication technologies
  • Learning in developmental and longitudinal perspective
  • Expansive learning associated with radical transformations of activity concepts
  • Human activity in heterogeneous networks that break organizational, institutional, cultural, and national boundaries by means of various epistemic instruments
  • New forms of work and organization of activity within a globalizing world; human potentials of guiding the development of their activities within global organizations
  • Pursuit of innovation, design and social creativity as challenges of work and learning
  • New potentials, instruments, and forms of agency and collaboration

Change Laboratory is an important intervention research method developed in CRADLE. Change Laboratory is a method for developing work practices by the practitioners. Basing on the theoretical conceptions of the dual (double) stimulation (L. Vygotsky) and expansive learning (Y. Engeström) it facilitates both intensive, deep transformations and continuous incremental improvement.

Center continually organizes CRADLE Research Seminar, where local and invited scholars present their work.

For more information about the Center and the upcoming seminars, visit CRADLE webpage.

Playful Learning Center

Playful Learning Center (PLC) offers a cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and development hub for researchers, educators, teacher education professionals, designers and entrepreneurs. It facilitates co-design of conceptual and material solutions for 21st century learning and wellbeing in educational and cultural institutions, and society at large.

PLC focuses on dynamic interaction between theory and practice. Its research is interventionist, applying methods based on the principles of design research and Change Laboratory. It hosts a physical lab situated at the premises of the faculty. PLC lab is a design, development and evaluation space for new digital learning tools and/or other educational innovations. The lab is a collaborative hub – a playground of development – for researchers, designers, teacher education professionals, teachers & educators from various sectors, parents and children themselves. In the lab, the center runs sessions during which several prototypes of interfaces and devices as well as learning environments are developed, experimented and tested. An important part of the research and development work is children’s participation in co-design processes.

In addition to its research and development work, PLC offers various courses, workshops, seminars and training for teachers and educators working in early years education, schools, cultural institutions and/or companies. Our programs are based on latest research on human learning and development seasoned with a twist of playful learning.

For more information:

School Pedagogy Research Group

School Pedagogy includes studies on education and teaching especially in the context of schools. The research includes topics such as:

  • the teacher’s role and pedagogical content knowledge
  • curriculum and planning of teaching
  • diverse learners and various pedagogical approaches
  • purpose in teaching and learning
  • pedagogical well-being in schools

Research deals with the totality of teaching-studying-learning process that can be examined from different points of views. For example, teaching can be seen as moral activity in which case the values and ethics in teaching become central in research. Different ways to study interaction in classrooms and the evaluation of teaching and learning are also important areas of research in school pedagogy.

For more information about the Research Group, visit School Pegagogy Webpage.

Cultural-Historical Approaches to Children's Learning and Development

The Cultural-historical approaches to children’s learning and development (CHiLD) research group is a hub for researchers exploring and understanding human learning and development in its historical and cultural context. Applying cultural-historical psychology, cultural-historical activity theory, and ethnographic research methods, we focus on the diverse practices children participate in as part of their communities and their dynamic nature. We also aim to open up possibilities for the critical reformulation and development of these practices with the communities themselves and facilitate change towards sustainable futures for all.

To learn more about the research group, visit the CHiLD research group's website.