Understanding Learning for the Professions: How Theories of Learning Explain Coping with Rapid Change

  • Erno LehtinenEmail author
  • Kai Hakkarainen
  • Tuire Palonen
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Working life is increasingly in turbulence. Whole traditional professional fields disappear as new ones emerge. Within traditional professions technological and organisational development often means rapid changes in knowledge, skills, and working attitudes required from workers. All of this results in a challenge to develop vocational and professional education, and models of workplace learning that respond to these changes. The central questions are how new generations should be prepared for a future, at least partly unknown, working lives and how old workers should be supported in the necessary updating of their knowledge and skills during their work careers are added challenges. The aim of this chapter is to analyse how adequate the contemporary theories of learning are for dealing with these challenges.


Change Learning theories Soft skills Transfer Expertise Knowledge acquisition Participation Sociocultural learning Conceptual change Knowledge transformation Activity theory Deliberate practice Cognitive theory 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Learning Research and Department of Teacher EducationUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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