Photo of Per Andersson

Per Andersson


How can we make learning visible, giving recognition to learning, independent of where, when, and how it takes place? My research also concerns vocational teachers continuing professional development, and the marketisation of adult education.

Adult education, vocational education and recognition of prior learning

The main interest in my research is recognition of prior learning (RPL) – how we can make learning visible and give recognition to what adults learn, independent of where, when, and how they do this.

Another main interest concerns how teachers, and particularly vocational teachers, retain and develop their vocational subject knowledge. Other research interests are grades and assessment (not only in RPL), the use of ICT in folk high schools and study associations, the trajectories of becoming an adult educator, and how folk high school teachers use their time on various tasks. I mainly teach in teacher education for folk high school teachers and vocational teachers, and in the PhD education.

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is about giving recognition to what people know, and primarily what is learnt outside the formal educational system. We can learn at work, and in our sparetime, and the need for RPL can arise when we move between different contexts, for example when we seek admission to an educational programme and want to get credit for what we have learnt in other contexts. 

One type of movement that can also result in need for RPL is migration, then it could also to a higher degree be a matter of recognition of formal credentials from other contexts and educational systems. In my research I have, among other things, studied how RPL is organised and developed on a local level, what the experiences are of participating in RPL processes, and what the problems are when it comes to the participants actually getting full recognition for their prior learning.

The competence of vocational teachers 

Vocational teachers are a category of teachers that could be seen as having a ’double identity’ or professionalism. They have a background in a vocation within which they have been practicing and developed knowledge and skills. Then, they have moved on to becoming teachers, training new generations in this vocation. The challenge for the vocational teachers is to develop their professionalism as teachers, while retaining and developing the professionalism in their ’basic vocation’, as this is where the contents of their teaching subjects is situated. In a present research project we put focus on how vocational teachers meet exactly this challenge of retaining and developing the vocational competence, the knowledge and skills that are the contents of their teaching.


I am responsible for the research group for vocational education. I am also part of the research group for adult education. At the moment I’m involved as project leader for a research project about the marketisation of Swedish adult education, financed by the Swedish Research Council (2018–2021).


CV and Collabration


PhD in education 2000
Associate professor (docent) in education 2006
Professor of education 2013


Adult Learning and Global Change


Expert network for recognition of prior learning, within the Nordic network for adult learning, NVL
Member of the board of Nordyrk, the Nordic network for vocational education and training.
Editor of NJVET, the Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training.
Member of the presidium of ESREA, The European Society for Research on the Education of Adults.



Per Andersson (2023) Understanding Recognition of Prior Learning as a Tool for the Labour Market Integration of Skilled Migrants Migration, Education and Employment: Pathways to successful integration, p. 29-44 Continue to DOI
Per Andersson, Hedvig Skonhoft Johannesen, Johanna Köpsén, Arnt Louw (2023) Editorial: The journal turns thirteen Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Vol. 13, p. iii-v Continue to DOI
Per Andersson, Karolina Muhrman (2023) Study and career counselling in Swedish adult education British Journal of Guidance and Counselling Continue to DOI
Helena Colliander, Anders Hallqvist, Per Andersson (2023) Teaching with a mission: Dimensions of professional identity among folk high school teachers in Sweden The Nordic folk high school teacher: Identity, work and education, p. 35-59 Continue to DOI
Per Andersson, Filippa Millenberg, Sofia Österborg Wiklund (2023) Freedom with reservations: The work of the Swedish folk high school teacher The Nordic folk high school teacher: Identity, work and education, p. 143-156 Continue to DOI