Virolainen Maarit, PhD, senior researcher

PhD (Adult education), MA (Social sciences)
Virolainen Maarit, PhD, senior researcher
RUU A338


Twitter: @MaaritHan

Research interests

  • Education and the world of work, educational systems and society
  • Learning from work experience (internships, work placements, workplace learning), vocational and professional education, vocational education and training (VET), universities of applied sciences, construction of vocational and professional competence, cooperation and collaboration between world of work and educational institutions, learning wisdom in practice
  • Reforms of vocational and professional education system
  • Transitions from education to working life, educational careers

Member of editorial board:

Research networks for VET:

On-going   research and projects:

MFG 4.0

Manufacturing 4.0 – strategies for technological, economic, educational, and social-policy adoption and adaptation

“We concentrate on educational needs of those adults who have difficulties to meet the new demands of working life due to the increase of level of automation. Education systems are analyzed and developed to create a better match for the future demands of labor."

The MFG 4.0 project is a collaboration between seven research groups with different foci, such as: futures research, automation and distributed manufacturing, business models and profitability, education and reshaping social policies. The  University of Jyväskylä, FIER participates in WP4 – Education – lead by Dr. Juhani Rautopuro, University of Jyväskylä (JYU). Researchers of the project have been: Hanna Nygren, Emilia Lampi & Maarit Virolainen. The project is funded  by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland.

Wisdom in Practice 

Our aim in this project is to investigate how professionals face wicked problems and, on that basis, to develop pedagogy in higher education to prepare graduates capable of addressing sustainability problems and promoting planetary well-being in the everyday work. The knowledge produced in this project will inform the development of pedagogical practices for enhancing wisdom. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Director: prof. Hannu L.T. Heikkinen

Enhancing Research on the Integration of Formal Educational Programmes and Workplace Learning - FEWL

The project aims to enhance scientific excellence and research potential in the field of research on integrating formal education and workplace learning (WPL) for students in basic and secondary schools. It enhances research collaboration between Educational Sciences (SES) at Tallinn University (TLU),  Finnish Institute for Educational
Research (FIER) at the University of Jyväskylä (JYU), and Institute of Educational Sciences at Paderborn University (UPB).

Director: prof. Päivi Tynjälä. The project is funded by Horizon Europe (HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03-01)

Former international research collaboration:

Cedefop's project 'The future of VET in Europe" (2020-22)

See publications and national case studies:

"Future of VET: the way forward" - Conference 5-6 December 2022

The future of Vocational education – learning from the Nordic countries

(Funded by NordForsk, 2013-2016)


See publications, e.g.

C. H. Jørgensen, O. J. Olsen, & D. P. Thunqvist (Eds.). 2018. Vocational Education in the Nordic Countries: Learning from Diversity. Routledge.

S. Michelsen, & M.-L. Stenström (Eds.). 2018. Vocational Education in the Nordic Countries : The Historical Evolution. Routledge.

Nylund, M., & Virolainen, M. (2019). Balancing ‘flexibility’ and ‘employability’ : The changing role of general studies in the Finnish and Swedish VET curricula of the 1990s and 2010s. European Educational Research Journal, 18(3), 314-334.