The futures of agency
Exploring the liminal spaces between action and responsibility
25 October 2023 (Wednesday), 11:00-13:00, imagine2

Adult learners on their way to futures: observing changes in thinking and acting patterns in futures guidance studies

Futures guidance combines elements and methods of futures studies with holistic approach to guidance. The aim is to provide people with tools for thinking and acting that help them to identify different options and develop an understanding of the factors influencing their choices for the future.
Futures guidance is taught as a 15 ECTS module within open university at the University of Turku. Students will integrate what they learn into their previous knowledge and experience, forming a kind of "future lens" for guidance. In the studies, the future is approached at three levels: 1) personal futures thinking (individual), 2) futures guidance (community) and 3) futures research and foresight (system).
We examine the changes in futures guidance students’ patterns of thinking and acting about the future, i.e. futures relationship, both on a personal level and professionally. We are interested in how the longer-term development of a futures relationship affects the students and how futures thinking is concretised in their activities.
The target group of the study is adult learners (N=28) who have completed the futures guidance study module in the academic year 2022-2023. Our research data consists of students’ self-assessments at the beginning and end of the studies, thematic interviews (4-6), and an identity task and a portfolio of competences compiled by the interviewees at the end of their studies.
We make visible the impact of a future-oriented, pedagogically focused studies on the participants' personal and professional relationship with the future. Secondly, we develop research methods for examining these changes.

Research Scientist
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Education expert
FFRC Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku