Nyligen besökte Annalisa Sannino and Yrjö Engeström Högskolan Väst för att bekanta sig med forskningsmiljön Lärande i och för det nya arbetslivet, LINA, där de kommer ingå och bidra med sina breda forskningserfarenheter. Båda har anställts som gästprofessorer inom högskolans profilområde arbetsintegrerat lärande.
We met up to for a quick chat!
What is the purpose of your visit?
We were invited to plan our contribution to LINA and University West. This includes developing and leading two courses on the theme of work integrated learning. Furthermore, we will provide mentorships for junior and senior researchers in the field of activity theory and expansive learning.
Can you describe your research focus a little bit?
We have created in Helsinki a research unit, CRADLE (Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning) that has been running research on learning processes and transformations in work for 22 years. One of our main tasks has been to bridge the gap between the world of work and research. Therefore, we have developed conceptual tools that can be used to transform science into actionable knowledge through interventions such as the Change Laboratory.
Give us an example from real life?
There are many! One example is a hospital in Oulu, Finland, that suffered from a near-crisis situation due to a mass-production model of work. The surgeons felt that they were not able to foresee from one day to another which patients and operations they were scheduled for. This led to a feeling of helplessness and distress and in the end a high number of sick leaves and actual shortages of personnel. Through a series of Change Laboratory sessions arranged by CRADLE researchers, doctors and nurses used conceptual tools from activity theory to analyze and redesign their work. By creating four to five smaller independent units that could take control of the workflow, the staff gained ownership of the situation. This led not only to a radically higher productivity, it also eliminated the waiting queues and resulted in a dramatic drop in the numbers of sick leaves and staff turnover.
What is your opinion about University West?
Being a small and young university, the spirit here is fresh and open to new thinking. We appreciate the collaborating attitude within the LINA-team very much, it is something that is not always found in the academic world. We hope that we can contribute with our scientific competences to further strengthening of research and teaching at University West.
So we will meet again?
For sure, we look forward to coming back!