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Faculty of Educational Sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Närhi, Leena (2023)
    The use of virtual reality learning environments is rapidly expanding in various disciplines. However, there are only a few comparative studies in education. This thesis explores the effectiveness of a virtual reality (VR) and a physical learning environment on students’ learning outcomes and motivation by comparing the virtual reality and the physical learning environment during one day of studies. The participants were fourth-year mechanical engineering bachelor students (N = 14) at a university of applied sciences in Finland. The intervention was implemented as part of the course module, where students learned the structure and the functioning of the harvester head engine, which was part of a logging machine. A quasi-experimental design was set up, and in the morning, one-half of the students started their studies in virtual reality and the other half in the physical learning environment. In the afternoon, student groups switched learning environments. Motivation and learning outcomes were measured by pre-test and post-test questionnaires. Additionally, students’ learning outcomes were measured by completed study tasks during the interventions and by observing. The teacher assessed the data related to learning as grades. The one-way repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted to analyse the effectiveness of the learning environments on motivation and learning outcomes. The development of learning outcomes was statistically significant (p < .00) in both learning environments during the morning and the afternoon. No difference was observed between the learning outcomes gained in the two learning environments. There was an interaction (p < .01) between intrinsic motivation and learning environments in the morning. While in the afternoon, intrinsic motivation developed positively (p < .01) in both environments. The results suggest that studying in two different learning environments maintains interest and helps to achieve significant learning outcomes during the one-day studies. When studying began in a physical learning environment, intrinsic motivation developed positively throughout the day.
  • Tiainen, Karoliina (2023)
    Parents and their children spend less time together than before. The everyday life of families with children is perceived as busy, and children spend even more time in day care. Home and family create the child's most important growth environment and interactive atmosphere has a significant connection to the child's safe growth and wellbeing. The atmosphere of caring refers to the ideal interactive atmosphere of a family with children, where the educational significance of being together is recognized. This study examines how the qualities of the atmosphere of caring and the qualities of parents' educational awareness are seen through the interaction of everyday life’s common activities of small children and their parents. The research method of this study is qualitive. Research data was collected using a diary method and a semi-structured interview. The participants consisted of five families, all of which had a mother, a father and two children, who were under school age. Families kept a diary for a week, of what they did together in their everyday life. The diaries were used as a support of the reflection in the interviews. Only parents were interviewed for the study. The data was analyzed by qualitive content analysis. According to the result of this study, during interaction of common activity, qualities of the atmosphere of caring appeared, which increased the positiveness of the emotional climate. These qualities were lack of urgency, the supporting of the cooperation between children, genuine presence, and consideration of participation. The qualities which increased the positiveness of the emotional climate were also seen as part of the educational awareness of the parents, which was found to embody different goals related to education. The goals were educational child orientation, children’s future everyday management skills, the reconciling of hobbies, work, and family life. A precondition for the goals is awareness of the educational significance of unhurried time with children, which is also a precondition for the realization of the atmosphere of caring. Therefore, unhurried time together with children, plays an important role in family’s everyday life’s interaction.
  • Utriainen, Maarit (2023)
    Objectives. The purpose of this thesis was to examine curiosity and persistence and their associations with occupational well-being (measured as work engagement and burnout) among Finnish school principals during the Covid-19 pandemic. The theoretical framework was social and emotional skills and their associations with well-being described by the OECD. Previous studies have shown that social and emotional skills are generally positively related to life satisfaction, occupational well-being, and success. It was hypothesized that curiosity and persistence are positively associated with work engagement and negatively with burnout. In addition, it was examined whether principals' age and gender had any effects on the results. Methods. This thesis used data from the Principal Barometer 2021 research study. A structured questionnaire was sent electronically to 1,200 school principals across Finland in the spring of 2021. The sample consisted of 656 principals, of which 58.7 % were women. The average age of the respondents was 51 years. The data was analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis. Results and conclusions. The results showed that both curiosity and persistence were positively associated with work engagement (vigor, dedication and absorption). Furthermore, persistence was negatively associated with burnout (exhaustive fatigue, cynicism and impaired occupational self-respect). In this thesis, principals' age and gender had no effects. The results indicated that curiosity and persistence are positively reflected in principals' occupational well-being, and it would be useful to foster and develop these skills. It is important to increase understanding of principals' occupational well-being, not only because of principals' own well-being, but also because their well-being is reflected in the well-being and success of teachers and students as well.
  • Stalchenko, Natalia (2022)
    Some previous findings suggest the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) on children's cognitive outcomes. Studying preschool PA enables to understand children’s considerable part of daily PA and to examine its relation to other skills specifically within preschool context. Early numeracy (EN) refers to young children’s mathematical proficiency, including relational and counting skills, as in understanding and operating with quantities, number relation, classification, and the concept of numbers. EN skills are shown to strongly predict later mathematical competence and academic achievements. Thus, it is important to study and support the development of children’s EN skills. However, previous research has mainly focused on school-age children, while research in early ages is scarce. No previous studies have used device-based measurement of PA with an individual test of EN to understand the associations between young children’s preschool PA and EN performance. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the relationship between PA during preschool hours and EN performance in children aged 4 to 5 years. More specifically, the following research questions are addressed: 1) How are PA intensity levels during preschool hours associated with EN performance in 4- to 5-year-old children? 2) What kind of profiles regarding PA intensity levels during preschool hours and EN performance can be identified among 4- to 5-year-old children? The sample consisted of children (N = 95, Mage = 4.6) attending preschools in Helsinki, Finland. PA was measured during 5 consecutive preschool days using hip-worn accelerometers, while EN performance was assessed using Van Luit and colleagues’ (2006) Finnish Early Numeracy Test. The data is analysed using quantitative research analysis. To answer the first research question, correlation matrix is performed to reveal relation between the variables of interest. For the second research question, latent profile analysis is used to identify children’s profiles according to their PA data and EN test scores, while the differences in profiles are compared using ANOVA. The results of the correlation analysis revealed no significant correlation between PA level during preschool hours and EN scores in children of ages 4 to 5 years. Latent profile analysis identified three profiles of children with high, medium, and low PA, whereas EN performance did not significantly differ among the profiles. In conclusion, while the results show significantly different amounts of PA among children during preschool, the main finding of the current study is in line with previous research, suggesting no direct relation between preschool PA and EN performance. Further research controlling for other factors that may influence the results is needed to examine how variation in PA level is related to EN performance in preschool.
  • Krekula, Siiri (2022)
    This research was interested in early childhood education managers' professional agency in context of pedagogical and human resources leadership. In addition, the early childhood managers’ pedagogical as well as human resources leadership experiences were studied. There is still very little previous research done in terms of early childhood managers’ professional agency but studying it could help in developing the early childhood educational field because according to previous professional agency studies, managers’ professional agency is linked to the personnel. Among other things innovating, developing and taking care of the well-being of staff are part of leadership agency. The data of this Master’s Thesis is based on nine early chilhood education managers' telephone interview transcripts. The telephone interviews, that lasted approximately 30 minutes each, were executed during the autumn of 2021. Transcripts from telephone interviews were analysed using content analysis and narrative analysis. Content analysis of the data identified five categories in early childhood education managers’ experiences in pedagogical leadership (central mission, common goal, consistency, job relevancy and practice in reality) as well as in human resources leadership (service management, presence, ensemble control, discretion and responsibility). Each of the categories had professional agency in early childhood managers’ experiences which was analysed narratively. Early chilhood education managers' experienced pedagogical leadership as important part of the job and they mentioned pedagogy being close to their hearts. Managers described experiences in human resources leadership as serving others but also working under pressure. The experiences of early childhood education managers in pedagogical and human resources leadership included plenty of traits of professional agency. The traits of professional agency adapt to all key moments of previous research theory which are: 1) respecting employee views, 2) drawing conclusions through dialogue, 3) bringing up own expertise, 4) learning and 5) speaking directly. Based on this study, professional agency was an important tool in pedagogical leadership and human resources leadership. Early childhood managers’ professional agency is shown through the decisions the manager is able to make under the sociocultural circumstances at the work place and within their own personal abilities.