Division of Education and Adult Learning (PVL)

We emphasize lifelong learning, with a focus on adult learning and are one of the world’s most prominent university settings in the area of adult learning. We also offer Sweden’s only folk high school teacher training program and hosts Mimer, a national network and program for adult education research. Our research on vocational education covers both youths’ and adults’ learning in vocational education and we train teachers in vocational education. Our division has an international character with extensive international collaboration. An example is the master programme in Adult Learning and Global Change which is carried out as a collaboration between four universities on four different continents.

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Upcoming event: ESREA conference 2018

Research projects at PVL

Research in adult and popular education

The research group in adult and popular education is the most prominent one in Sweden, as well as one of the larger ones in the world. The group act as national as well as international institutional hub in the research field. Here, the only professorial chair in adult education research in Sweden is located, as well as the Swedish network for research on popular education (Mimer) which was creatred based on a decision by the Swedish government in 1990. Since 2007, the secretariat of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults is located in the group, as is the editorial office of the European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults.

In a Swedish context, adult education research is part of the discipline of pedagogy. What characterises adult education research is an interest for pedagogical processes in relation to settings where adults are engaged in learning, may it be formal settings such as adult education or folk high schools, or more informal settings such as working life, everyday life or study circles. Similar to the discipline of pedagogy, adult education research draw on research perspectives and methods developed within the field as well as within other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, gender studies etc. Multidisciplinary perspectives are very relevant in relation to popular education research as Mimer has the task to encourage and support popular education research all over Sweden, no matter within what discipline such research is carried out.

Pluralism in terms of settings being studied (adult education, vocational education, popular education, folk high schools, study associations etc.), as well as in terms of research perspectives and methods is characterising the research group. The group conduct research of high relevance for the development of the research field, our educational programs, as well as for those working in the settings being studied. As a national institutional hub in adult education research, our competences are asked for by government agencies as well as adult education schools, folk high schools and study associations across the country.

Research on vocational education and training 

Our research environment on vocational education and training has expanded, and from a national perspective it is now among the larger in the field. Our research concerns vocational education and training for young people as well as adults and focus on various aspects relating to the conditions, implementation, results and effects of vocational education and training.
Vocational education and training is organized in different ways and to varying degrees in school and in working life. Our research is primarily aimed at the part of vocational education and training which is carried out in school under the guidance of professional vocational teachers. But we are also interested in, and conduct, research concerning the interaction between the two parts of vocational education, i.e. school and workplaces. We study vocational education and training organized at different levels: upper secondary school, municipal adult education and post-secondary vocational education at folk high schools and in Higher Vocational Education. The contexts of our research have so far mainly dealt with the Swedish setting, but we are also carrying out studies which concern vocational education and training in other countries. Research on vocational and professional education need not always be distinguished, why there is also an interest in professional education for, for example, teachers for adult education, folk high school teachers and teachers in Swedish for immigrants.
Our division hosts a research seminar in vocational education and training. Research on vocational education and training is interdisciplinary and thus, the research seminar is aimed at researchers in different disciplines. Participants of the seminar are researchers from Linköping University as well as from other universities. School leaders and teachers in vocational education are also welcomed to attend the seminar.

Education

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