University of Oulu

Ilomäki, L., Lakkala, M., Muukkonen, H., Paavola, S., & Toom, A. (2023). Investigating the Characteristics of Knowledge-Related Learning Assignments in Upper Secondary School. Education Sciences, 13(5), 471.

Investigating the characteristics of knowledge-related learning assignments in upper secondary school

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Author: Ilomäki, Liisa1; Lakkala, Minna1; Muukkonen, Hanni2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Faculty of Education and Psychology, Learning and Learning Processes Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Centre for University Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-22


This study reports on whether students have the opportunity to acquire generic competencies when they work with knowledge-related assignments at upper secondary school. We investigated 30 assignments. The data included lesson observations and interviews with teachers. The main categories of teaching practices were theory-based, and the subcategories and the levels of intensity were based on qualitative analysis of the data. The most common categories were Object-orientedness, Epistemic challenge, Process-like emphasis, Intensity of collaboration, Cross-fertilisation, and Information practices. The least common categories were Cross-fertilisation, Process-like emphasis, and Object-orientedness. Cluster analysis produced three groups: Open and challenging assignments with guidance and support (eight cases), Demanding assignments without support (seven cases), and Well-defined, teacher-directed assignments (15 cases). Assignments of the first type support students’ knowledge-related competencies the best. The second type of assignment is demanding because students work independently with limited support for challenging assignments. Assignments of the third type were well-structured and teacher-centered assignments.

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Series: Education sciences
ISSN: 2227-7102
ISSN-E: 2227-7102
ISSN-L: 2227-7102
Volume: 13
Issue: 5
Article number: 471
DOI: 10.3390/educsci13050471
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
515 Psychology
Funding: This work was partly supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant number 285806).
Copyright information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (