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Professional Growth and Learning

The PGL research group examines the development of expertise and professional growth in changing and varying work and learning environments. The research address factors related to learning, guiding, and teaching in vocational education, higher education, and working life contexts.

Research focus and goals

The goal of the research is to explore and enhance professional growth that refers to the learning process throughout one’s entire career. The research topics include such themes as vocational and professional expertise, regulation of learning, guidance, active learning methods, engineering pedagogy, emotions and learning, workplaces as learning environments, development of expertise and digitalization, and intercultural competence. Learning environments, both physical and virtual, are considered from a broad perspective including environments that are closed (formal, e.g., curriculum-based education in institutions), open (non-formal and informal, e.g., workplaces, social media), and take hybrid forms (e.g., apprenticeships). The researchers apply qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods to investigate professional growth and learning.


The research aims to enhance prospects for continuing learning and wellbeing at individual, group, and organisational level. The research is conducted in collaboration with stakeholders in education and the working life.

Members of the group:

Petri Nokelainen, Professor of engineering pedagogy

Sonja Niiranen, University lecturer

Laura Pylväs, Project researcher

Heta Rintala, Project researcher

Eija Lehtonen, Project researcher

Susanna Hartikainen, Doctoral student

Anna Wallin, Doctoral student

Contact persons

Petri Nokelainen

petri.nokelainen [at]

040 557 4994