Vocational Education Research: Studies in Teacher Education and Educational Vocations

This research group aims to contribute knowledge on educational topics that are especially relevant for the field of practice and to elucidate complex contemporary issues associated with education. The core of the research group’s activities consists of studies of key dimensions of education, such as ethics, professional development, change competency, learning and teaching. Integration of the two learning arenas of teacher education and schools/early learning is a core topic, where the focus is on the reciprocal interaction between theory and practice.

Our research includes student teachers and newly qualified teachers, primary and lower secondary school pupils and children in early learning, educational specialists and teaching/early learning assistants. The research group is open to researchers, teachers in primary/lower secondary schools, early learning teachers and students with a research interest in pedagogy.


The members represent a range of units and departments at NLA, as well as several other universities and university colleges.

Linnea K. Jermstad (head of research group), Associate Professor of pedagogy
Gunnvi Sæle Jokstad, Associate Professor of pedagogy
Mari Kristine S. Berg, Assistant Professor of pedagogy
Anne Lene Bakke Toppe, Assistant Professor of pedagogy
Øyvind Andre Fosse, PhD Research Fellow
Kristin Aadland Atkinson, PhD Research Fellow
Kristin Belt Skutlaberg, PhD Research Fellow
Ane Malene Sæverot, PhD Research Fellow
Trude Kyrkjebø, PhD Research Fellow
Brit Marie Hovland, Associate Professor of pedagogy
Marit Myklebust, Assistant Professor of pedagogy
Paul Otto Brunstad, Professor of pedagogy
Robert Flatås, Assistant Professor of pedagogy
Gila Hammer Furnes, Associate Professor of pedagogy
Svitlana Holovchuck, Associate Professor of pedagogy
Reidun Rygg, Assistant Professor of pedagogy

External members 

Ursula Småland Goth, Professor of pedagogy (Kristiania University College)
Glen-Egil Torgersen, Professor of pedagogy (University of South-Eastern Norway, deputy head of the group) 
Herner Sæverot, Professor of pedagogy (HVL) 

Work of the research group

The research group contributes to the master’s degree programmes ‘Pedagogy in professional training’, ‘Basic training’, ‘Master of Education’. The research group supervises master’s degree students in these programmes and involves them in research and exploratory activities associated with the training of teachers for schools and early learning professions.

The objective of the research is to generate knowledge about and identify key factors that impact on:

  • The core remit of pedagogy
  • Change and development work in schools
  • Supervision and professional development
  • The professional community
  • Leadership
  • School development and professionalisation
  • Teacher training for schools and early learning – how partnership with the field of practice can help close the gaps between theory/practice and education/vocation
  • Change competency in students
  • The teachers’ encounter with external actors and educational programmes (e.g. evidence-based programmes) 
  • Phenomenon-based learning
  • Pupil-/student-led learning methods
  • School culture 
  • Balancing theory and practice

Research Strategy for Operational Pedagogy at NLA (OP-NLA)

  1. Basic scientific structures in OP:
  • Educational science – as a guideline, with openness to all disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches, but with pedagogy as its main framework
  • Functionality – research and interventions should help promote learning, education/Bildung (in school/society – and in educational science itself)
  • Real-world orientation – the research and interventions should be adopted in schools and other educational institutions (as well as businesses)
  • Methodological diversity – openness to and acceptance for diverse research methodologies and theoretical approaches to science
  • Aggregation vs. particularisation – choices of data and theories are supported with an emphasis on pedagogical structures
  1. Research strategy

OP-NLA shall:
i.  create an innovative and leading research community that shares knowledge,
ii. develop knowledge that is sought by others,
iii. cultivate our expert competence,
iv. promote a safe climate for motivation and quality, and
v. act as a competent and positive unit.


Head of the research group: Linnea K. Jermstad
Vice Rector for Research and Development: Torgeir Landro