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The Change Laboratory

A Tool for Collaborative Development of Work and Education

2013 - 294 pages

Jaakko Virkkunen (Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning, CRADLE, University of Helsinki, Finland) and Denise Shelley Newnham (CSAT, Department of Education, University of Bath, UK)

ISBN Paperback: 9789462093249 ($ 54.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789462093256 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789462093263

Subject: Professional Development, Professional Learning, Lifelong Learning, Learning

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The Change Laboratory


A new challenge of learning in work organizations—both in business and public administration—is to master entire life cycles of product, production and business concepts. Meeting this challenge calls—at all levels of the organization – for learning that expand the learners’ horizon and practical mastery from individual tasks up to the level of the whole system of the collective activity and its transformation. The Change Laboratory is a method for formative intervention in work communities that supports this kind of organizational learning. It is a path breaker in the area of work place learning due to its strong theoretical and research basis and the way that it integrates the change of organizational practices and individuals’ learning. It provides a way to develop practitioners’ transformative agency and capacity for creating and implementing new conceptual and practical tools for mastering their joint activity.

This first comprehensive presentation of the already widely used method is written for researchers, consultants, agricultural extension and HRD professionals, as well as practitioners involved in developing activities in their professional field. It explains this novel method as well as its theoretical basis on the Cultural Historical Activity Theory providing also practical examples and tools for carrying out a Change Laboratory intervention. A review is also provided of studies concerning various aspects of expansive learning processes in Change Laboratory interventions.

Jaakko Virkkunen, PhD, is retired professor of developmental work research at the University of Helsinki. Denise Shelley Newnham, MPhil, is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

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The Change Laboratory