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PhDLearning at Workplace in the school-industry partnership for Digital Transformation

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Application fee €100 one-time
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In order to sustain growth in the conditions of aging population, lack of skilled labour and rapid technological development, the Estonian economy needs workforce with interdisciplinary skills who has both good vocational and ICT skills (Kutsekoda, 2018). Such workforce would enable the Estonian companies and institutions to fulfill the potential of ‘ICT horizontally through other sectors’—one of the growth areas of the Estonian smart specialisation strategy (Estonian Development Fund, 2013)—and start or proceed in their digital transformation.

Learning, especially workplace learning, and digital transformation go hand in hand. Digitally maturing organisations have to be capable to adapt to changes fast and thus, provide their employees with diverse learning opportunities to ensure that they have the skills necessary to take advantage of technological developments (Kane et al. 2015). Therefore, it would be reasonable to develop vocational students’ skills and habits of workplace learning during their traineeships, which are often the first encounter with an authentic work environment in their to-be-profession. Moreover, as digitally maturing organisations increasingly provide web-based and just-in-time learning (Kane et al. 2015), then the students should also learn to learn with technology as well as about technology.
Research Goal and Research Questions:

The aim of the proposed research is to propose novel mechanisms to support workplace learning in collaboration with the vocational schools and companies to prepare the students for digital transformation at their future workplaces.

What are the skills/knowledge required from vocational school students to cope with and contribute to digital transformation of workplaces? To what extent are vocational school students prepared for using digital technologies for workplace learning, to adapt to the changing needs of a digital transformation process? What are the technology-mediated services and practices to supporting vocational school students to be ready for digital transformation at their future workplaces?

Addition to described project-based research topics, other topics related to digital technologies are in focus through open competition. These topics are aligned with the priority research fields of the School of Digital Technologies: Digital transformation and lifelong learning and topics from the fields of technology-enhanced learning, information sciences, mathematics and human-computer interaction. To align PhD research plan with the priorities of the school, it is very important that you will find possible supervisor and plan your research proposal in close interaction with a supervisor at the school. It is therefore important that you start early and plan for several iterations of your research proposal until it is in a state that it can be submitted. Depending on your own availability and the availability of your supervisor, this process takes at least one month, sometimes more.

Contact: Tobias Ley (, Kairit Tammets (

Not available for applying at the moment

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Not available for applying at the moment

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States