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Learning Futures research group conducts internationally recognized research on children’s learning, development and wellbeing in collaboration with national and international partners. The research work centers on learning and development in socioculturally diverse activity contexts and on the development of pre-school and elementary education.

Research themes

The core research themes are:

  • Social interaction and learning
  • Sociocultural theories
  • Social ecologies of learning and development
  • Cognitive, social and emotional processes
  • Socio-emotional wellbeing
  • Informal and formal contexts of learning
  • Agency and resilience
  • Children, media and digital literacies
  • Children’s engagement and voice
  • Participatory pedagogy
  • Creativity and co-creation
  • Transitions
  • Participatory research methods
  • Visual research

Learning Futures research group is connected to the The Nordic Research Network on Researching Learning Across Contexts (NordLAC). NordLAC – research network is co-ordinated by Oslo University and it is funded by NordForsk.

We also collaborate with national researchers and research communities. At present, we partner with researchers from Oulu University who run a national research programme ‘Lukuinto’. The goal of this progamme is to strenghten children’s and young people’s interest and competencies in reading and writing including engagement with various literacies and media.  ‘Lukuinto’ is a collective endeavor entailing active collaboration between children, young people, families, schools and libraries.


In addition to scientific research Learning Futures research group develops educational materials, learning environments as well as pre- and in-service education of teachers. The most recent opening is a national in-service course on Positive Pedagogy realized in collaboration with Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education. The in-service course is financially supported by the Finnish National Board of Education.

Service for the community 

Learning Futures research group collaborates actively with different players in the community. It co-develops educational and learning futures by partnering with Global Education Leaders’ Program (GELP). GELP is co-oridinated by the Innovation Unit in London, Cisco and Bill ja Melinda Gates Foundation. The Finnish partners in the program represent the Finnish National Board of Education, University of Helsinki, and the cities of  Hämeenlinna and Tampere.

The research group collaborates with Finnish schools and day care centres co-developing and researching new learning environments and social practies that promote children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

The research group partners with a development program Pienten Paja run by the Museum of Technology. Pienten paja is a new learning environment targetted specifically for pre-school and early elementary school children. The environment is designed to function as an exchibiton, playground and lab, enriching the education landscape of young learners and their families in innovation and technology.

Learning Futures research group is led by professor Kristiina Kumpulainen.

Contact information

Kristiina Kumpulainen
Professor of Education, pre-school and elementary education
Department of Teacher Education
P.O.Box 9
00014 University of Helsinki
GSM: +358 50 3815221
skype: kristiinakkk