Doctoral research

I am doing my doctoral studies in the learning environments research group in Media Lab Helsinki, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The dissertation is going to be submitted for pre-examination in spring 2016.

The Structure and Components for the Open Education Ecosystem
Constructive Design Research on Online Learning Tools


This research studies the design of online learning tools for open education. The dissertation is based on five articles and design cases that study open education from different perspectives: open educational resources, open learning environments, and assessment of teachers’ competencies. The central concept of the study is the open education ecosystem. The study explores how the design of online learning tools could benefit from the digital ecosystems approach. Designing online learning tools open education is a wicked problem that involves uncertain requirements and has to contemplate the influences to and from the stakeholders and other components of the ecosystem. To clarify the design challenges related to the open education ecosystem, this study summarizes a set of design challenges from the design cases. As a second outcome, this study identifies and recommends a set of design patterns that address these design challenges. Finally, the study proposes the structure and components that are needed for the open education ecosystem.

This dissertation is based on the following five publications:

Article I
Põldoja, H., Leinonen, T., Väljataga, T., Ellonen, A., & Priha, M. (2006). Progressive Inquiry Learning Object Templates (PILOT). International Journal on E-Learning, 5(1), 103–111.

Article II
Leinonen, T., Purma, J., Põldoja, H., & Toikkanen, T. (2010). Information Architecture and Design Solutions Scaffolding Authoring of Open Educational Resources. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 3(2), 116–128.

Article III
Põldoja, H., Duval, E., & Leinonen, T. (2016). Design and evaluation of an online tool for open learning with blogs. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(2), 64–81.

Article IV
Põldoja, H., & Väljataga, T. (2010). Externalization of a PLE: Conceptual Design of LeContract. In The PLE 2010 Conference Proceedings. Barcelona: Citilab. Retrieved from

Article V
Põldoja, H., Väljataga, T., Laanpere, M., & Tammets, K. (2014). Web-based self- and peer-assessment of teachers’ digital competencies. World Wide Web, 17(2), 255–269.