Esa Poikela

University of Lapland
Faculty of Education

Research Centre of Learning, Studying and Teaching
Yliopistonkatu 9 D
PL 122
96101 Rovaniemi
+ 358 (0) 404844168

  Esa Poikela
Professor in Education, University of Lapland
Docent in learning at work, University of Tampere


Research interests

  • Adult education and professional education
  • Contextual knowledge, knowing and learning
  • Learning at work and leading learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • University pedagogy
  • Assessment and evaluation


Research projects

As a leader or co-leader

  • Creating Social Capital within Networks of Learning and Knowing, SoCaL-group 2003- 
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Learning, AsEL 2006-
  • Web Searching, Information Literacy and Learning, Web-Seal, Team B 2005-,funded by Finnish Academy
  • Problem-Based Learning as a Strategy for Developing Knowledge and Competence in the Context of Education and Work, ProBell-group 2001-, funded by Finnish Academy

As a senior researcher

  • Learning at work as a resource for development of employees and work community, 2000-2002, funded by Finnish Academy
  • Learning processes in different work and organizational contexts, 2004-2005, funded by Finnish Academy

As a researcher

  • Work, Organization and Training, The Research Program of the Effectiveness of Education 1995-1998, funded by Finnish Academy
  • Developing Vocations and the Modes of the continuing learning, The Research Program of Continuing Education 1989-1993, funded by Finnish Academy



Scientific advisor

  • Development and Research Project of the Psychosocial Well-being of Children and Youth in the Arctic in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Norway, ArctiChildren 2007-
  • Possibilities of Human Centred Mediation in developing Intellectual Capital, research project by Finnish Forum of Mediation 2007-
  • Professional Development Studies on Problem-Based Learning (60 credits) ESR-funded training project 2002-2005


Confidential posts


  • Reviewer of a International Journal 2003 – . The International Journal of Problem-based Learning: Theoretical and Experimental. Published by the University of Malaya.
  • Chair of the Advisory Committee 2003 – 2005. International Conference of Problem-Based Learning, June 9th – 11th, PBL in Contexts. Lahti, Finland.
  • Member of the Organizing Committee 2001 – 2003. 3rd International Conference of Researching Work and Learning, July 25th – 27th 2003, Work and Lifelong Learning in Different Contexts. Tampere, Finland.


  • Member of Planning Committee for evaluation of creating social and communicative competencies in vocational education 2007 - , the Finnish Education Evaluation Council
  • Member of Executive Board 2002 – 2005 and Leader 2003 – 2005 of Eduta-institute, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Tampere
  • Member of Committee for Quality Assurance, apprenticeship training 2001 – 2002, National Board of Education
  • Member of Committee for Quality Assurance, vocational education 2001 – 2002, National Board of Education
  • Member of Committee for Quality Assurance, vocational education 2000 – 2001, National Board of Education
  • Member of Executive Board of the Department of Educational Sciences 1998 – 2004, University of Tampere
  • Member of pedagogical committee 1998 – 2001, University of Tampere
  • Member of Academic Board of the University 1995 – 1998, University of Tampere
  • Member of Executive Board 1993-1994, National Association of Academic Researchers, Helsinki
  • Member 1990 and chairman 1991 – 1994 of executive committee, Association of Assistants and Researhers, University of Tampere
  • Member of Executive Board 1989 – 1993, the Institute for Extensions Studies, University of Tampere
  • Member of personnel development committee 1990 – 1991, University of Tampere
  • Member of board of the City library 1985 – 1988, Hyvinkää 
  • Member 1982 – 1984 and chair 1986 -1987 of pedagogical committee, Joint Organisation of Liberal Education, Helsinki
  • Auditor 1992 -1995, Research Society of Adult Education, Helsinki
  • Auditor 1983 -1984, Association of Citizens’ and Worker´s Institutes, Helsinki
  • Member of Editorial Council 1982 -1984, Journal of Adult Education, Helsinki
  • Member of Executive Board 1973, Student Union, University of Tampere


Recent teaching

  • Program of University pedagogy (25 ects, aimed for university teachers)
  • Work research (5 ects)
  • Learning at work and work community (5 ects)
  • Theories and practices of training in working life (4 ects)


Selected list of publications

Professor E. Poikela has published widely both nationally and internationally. The total number of his publications is more than 200 hundred pieces.


Poikela, E. & Nummenmaa, A. R. toim. (2006) Understanding Problem-Based Learning. Tampere  University Press.

Poikela, E., toim. (2005) Oppiminen ja sosiaalinen pääoma. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E., toim. (2005) Osaaminen ja kokemus – työ, oppiminen ja kasvatus. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. toim. (2005) PBL in Contexts – Bridging work and Education. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. toim. (2005) Ongelmista oppimisen iloa – ongelmaperustaisen pedagogiikan kokeiluja ja kehittämistä. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E. & Öystilä, S. toim. (2003) Yliopistopedagogiikkaa kehittämässä – kokeiluja ja kokemuksia. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E., toim. (2002) Ongelmaperustainen pedagogiikka – teoriaa ja käytäntöä. Tampere University Press.

Poikela, E. & Öystilä, S., toim. (2001) Tutkiminen on oppimista – ja oppiminen tutkimista. Tampere University Press.

Järvinen, A. & Koivisto, T. & Poikela, E.  (2000) Oppiminen työssä ja työyhteisössä. Juva. WSOY.

Poikela, E. (1999) Kontekstuaalinen oppiminen – oppimisen organisoituminen ja vaikuttava koulutus. Akateeminen väitöskirja. Acta Universitasis Tamperensis 675.

Poikela, E. (1994) Ammatti ja oppiminen - jatkuva oppiminen ja rakentajan ammatti. Ammattikasvatussarja n:o 10. Tampereen yliopiston Hämeenlinnan opettajankoulutuslaitos. Tampereen yliopisto.


Järvinen, A. & Poikela. E.  (2006) The Learning Processes in the Work Organization: From Theory to Design. In E. Antonacopoulou, P. Jarvis, V. Andersen, B. Elkjaer & S. Hoeyrup (eds.) Learning, Working and Living. Mapping the Terrain of Working Life Learning. Hampshire. Palgrave Macmillan, 271-294.

Poikela, E.   (2006) Knowledge, knowing and problem-based learning – some epistemological and ontological remarks. In E. Poikela & A.R. Nummenmaa (eds.) Understanding Problem-Based Learning. Tampere University Press, 15-31.

Poikela, E., Järvinen, A., Heikkilä, K. and Tikkamäki, K. (2006) Contextual Knowledge and Learning Processes at Work. In: G. Castleton, R. Gerber & H. Pillay (eds.) Improving 
Workplace Learning: Emerging International Perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 91-105.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. (2006)   Problem-based curricula – theory, development and design. In E. Poikela & A.R. Nummenmaa (eds.) Understanding Problem-Based Learning. Tampere University Press, 71-90.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. (2006) Learning and knowing at work – professional growth as a tutor. In E. Poikela & A.R. Nummenmaa (eds.) Understanding Problem-Based Learning. Tampere University Press, 183-207.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. (2005) The Strategic Points of Problem-Based Learning – Organising Curricula and Assessment. In E. Poikela & S. Poikela (eds.) PBL in Context – Bridging Work and Education. Tampere University Press, 7-22.

Poikela, E. & Poikela, S. (2005)    ProBell: ‘A Finnish Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Research NetWork’. In T. Barret, I. Mac Labhrainn & H. Allon (eds.) Handbook of Enguiry and Problem-Based Learning: Irish Case Studies and International Perspectives. Galway: AISHE and GELT, NUI Galway, 217-225.

Poikela, E. (2005) Yliopistopedagogisen asiantuntemuksen jäljillä. Aikuiskasvatus 1/2005, 58-66.

Poikela, E. (2005) Onko sosiaalisen pääoman värillä väliä? Teoksessa E. Poikela (toim.) Oppiminen ja sosiaalinen pääoma. Tampere University Press, 9-27.

Poikela, E. (2005) Luottamusta luova kehityskeskustelu. Teoksessa E. Poikela (toim.) Oppiminen ja sosiaalinen pääoma. Tampere University Press, 31-52.

Poikela, E. (2005) Työssä oppimisen prosessimalli. Teoksessa E. Poikela (toim.) Osaaminen ja kokemus – työ, oppiminen ja kasvatus. Tampere  University Press, 21-41.

Poikela, E. (2004), Developing Criteria for Knowing and Learning at Work: Towards Context-Based Assessment. The Journal of Workplace Learning 16 (5), 267-274.

Järvinen. A. & Poikela, E. (2003), Managing Learning at Work. Refereed proceedings of 3rd International Conference of Researching Work and Learning. Work and Learning in Different Contexts. Proceedings Book IV: Theme 6 Learning Processes and Work Processes. University of Tampere, Finland, 93-102 . 

Järvinen, A., Poikela, E.  & Merivirta, T. (2002) ’How to manage learning and knowing at work. Managing learning among a city’s personnel: A case programme of the Learning Tampere Project’. Proceeding Book of Educating Cities Conference.16th –19th June 2002, Tampere.

Poikela, E. (2002) Osaamisen arviointi. Teoksessa R. Honkonen (toim.) Koulutuksen lumo – Retoriikka, politiikka ja arviointi. Tampere  University Press, 229-245.

Järvinen, A. & Poikela, E.  (2001) Modelling Reflective and Contextual Learning at Work. The Journal of Workplace Learning 13 (7/8), 282-289.

Poikela, E. and Poikela, S. (1997) Conceptions of learning and knowledge – impacts of the implementation of problem-based learning. Zeitschrift fûr Hochschuldidaktik – Austrian Journal for Higher Education 21 (1), 8-22.

Poikela, E. (1996) Ammatin oppiminen - rakentajan ammatti ja jatkuva oppiminen. Teoksessa J. Tuomisto, K. Heikkilä, A. Juhela, E. Poikela & M. Vuorikoski. Yhteiskunnan rakenteet ja elinikäisen oppiminen. Kasvatustieteiden laitos. Julkaisusarja A/59. Tampere: Tampereen yliopisto, 235-304.

Poikela, E. (1995) Organizing the Continuing Learning Process. In A. Kauppi, S. Kontiainen  , K.E. Nurmi, J. Tuomisto & T. Vaherva (eds): Adult Learning in a Cultural Context Adult Education Research Society in Finland . University of Helsinki , Lahti Research and Training Centre. Tampere: Tammerpaino, 173-178.

Järvinen A., Kontkanen L., Poikela E. , Stachon K. & Valkama H. (1995) Work, Expertise and Learning - Searching for a New Paradigm. In M. Klasson, J. Manninen, S. Tosse & B. Wahlgren (eds): Social Change and Adult Education Research. Adult Education Research in Nordic Countries 1994. Linköping. UniTryck, 154-168.