Abstract Keynote 3

Prof. Dr. Yrjö Engeström

University of Helsinki (Finland)

Original version:

Change Laboratories for expansive learning in troubled times

Educational researchers are increasingly concerned about the practical relevance and societal impact of their scholarship. This has led first to the rise of design-based research (Brown, 1992), and more recently to the emergence and proliferation of interventionist research methodologies (e.g. Gutiérrez, Engeström & Sannino, 2016; Gutiérrez & Jurow, 2016; Sannino, Engeström & Lemos, 2016), aimed at both understanding and guiding or facilitating transformations in educational practices and institutions. A prominent example of the latter is the formative intervention method called Change Laboratory. Developed in Finland in the 1990s, the Change Laboratory builds on cultural-historical activity theory and the theory of expansive learning. In this talk, I will examine five Change Laboratories conducted in schools in Finland, Botswana, Russia, Brazil and the United States. I will examine how the central methodological principles of double stimulation and ascending from the abstract to the concrete (Engeström, Sannino & Virkkunen, 2014) were used in these interventions. My analysis will show that the interventions are increasingly driven by deep societal contradictions that are manifested as acute educational problems in schools. Such challenges are increasingly difficult to resolve within the confines of a school alone. This calls for a new generation of expanded Change Laboratory interventions which will engage heterogenous coalitions of societal actors working together with schools. I will conclude by offering a preview of such new generation of Change Laboratories from Sweden, France and Chile.

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