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Doctoral Dissertation: Designing Learning Tools – Methodological Insights

I finally finished my doctoral dissertation. The dissertation was presented for public examination on December 7th at the Aalto University School of Art and Design.

The book is available at the University Book shop.

At some point there will be free PDF, too.

In a couple of weeks I am also going to post chapters of the book to this blog.

Photo ny Timo Honkela

In the Finnish tradition there are several steps to complete doctoral dissertation. At first, the manuscript is examined by two, so called, pre-examiners selected by the Research Board of the School. After this the Research Board sends your work to an opponent of their choice.

Finally there is a public defense of the thesis. The even starts with the candidate’s presentation of the work and the opponents general notes. Then starts the discussion based on the opponents questioning.

Here are the slides of my presentation:

The opponent of my work was Professor Gerhard Fischer (Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder), the director of the Center for Lifelong Learning and Design.

During the discussion I was very nervous, although Prof. Fischer showed that he is a master of Socratic method which is — if not necessary easiest — as least fair form of questioning.

Our School’s Adjunct Professor (docent) Timo Honkela wrote a summary and a commentary of the discussion.

6 replies on “Doctoral Dissertation: Designing Learning Tools – Methodological Insights”

Hi Teemu Leinonen,

it was great to follow your dissertation presentation via net .. is it possible to see it again in some URL address? I have never earlier heard to clear English, I enjoyed the content and the language. You have experiences worth of spreading, really.

and congrats!


Update: The transcript of my lecture is now online in here:—-introduction-to-some-methodological-thoughts/

Heli: Happy to know that you enjoyed the presentations and the discussion. I, however, decided not to publish the video/audio recording of the live event.

This may sound strange, but I believe in authenticity of live events and think that they have a special value. For instance, I did not design my lecture, neither the discussion for a video recording but for the live audience in the lecture hall, from where the online video stream was an alternative way to take part in the live event. “Media is the message” 🙂


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