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"Without intergenerational knowledge transfer, we’re toast"


“To me, educational issues are crucial to the survival of society, and if we don't enable knowledge transfer between generations, we'll be toast pretty quickly," says Daniel Pettersson, new research leader of the University’s strategic research area, Innovative Learning.

Daniel Pettersson Photo: Camilla Haglund

Daniel Pettersson Photo: Camilla Haglund

To Daniel Pettersson, innovative learning is a way to envision learning as a lifelong project for all people in society. We should think of ourselves as constantly being in a learning environment in which people never stagnate.

Innovations may involve new applications, new ways of conveying information and building organisations, but also lead to new ways of teaching in schools or in workplaces and to new continuing professional development.

“Regarding innovation, we often think of products, while it can be the way we speak, organise information, or the way we design the buildings used to entice people to learn.”

Filter bubbles and fact resistance

Daniel Pettersson is very concerned about social loneliness linked to filter bubbles. In such bubbles, the internet becomes your sole social interaction and you become controlled by algorithms that make you end up in social contexts even with people who you used to disagree with.

Lonely older people who approach the net without really understanding that they are in a filter bubble are particularly vulnerable, in Daniel’s view. They tend to believe what they read and then they themselves may start spreading inaccuracies.

“Here, we are facing a huge societal challenge; at least the younger generation learns about source criticism in school. We need innovations in learning for the elderly, to provide alternatives to filter bubbles.”

Interdisciplinarity on key topics

The interdisciplinarity of Innovative learning attracts Daniel Pettersson, as it enables many researchers to become involved. Finding as many researchers as possible pulling in the same direction could mean that the University attains a critical mass in this research group.

“In my opinion, the University has created a good opportunity here. Innovative learning stimulates Interdisciplinary research on relevant, important topics.”

In his research, Daniel Pettersson has taken a keen interest in international knowledge measurements that have shaped much of education policy. His thesis on PISA was among the first in the world to draw attention to this issue.

His interest in international assessments remains, but he has become more interested in how we use statistics, numbers, and images to convey truths about education.

“How we create truths is perhaps my real project,” Daniel Pettersson says.


Text: Douglas Öhrbom


Innovative Learning

Daniel Pettersson succeeds Guadalupe Francia and becomes, together with Anneli Frelin, research leader of the University’s strategic research area Innovative Learning.

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2023-01-23
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