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Searching for global employability: can students capitalize on enabling learning environments?

Isom�tt�nen, Ville; Daniels, Mats; Cajander, �sa; Pears, Arnold; McDermott, Roger


Ville Isom�tt�nen

Mats Daniels

�sa Cajander

Arnold Pears


Literature on global employability signifies “enabling” learning environments where students encounter ill-formed and open-ended problems and are required to adapt and be creative. Varying forms of “projects,” co-located and distributed, have populated computing curricula for decades and are generally deemed an answer to this call. We performed a qualitative study to describe how project course students are able to capitalize on the promise of enabling learning environments. This critical perspective was motivated by the circumstance of the present-day education systems being heavily regulated for the precipitated production of human capital. The students involved in our study described education system-imposed and group-imposed narratives of narrowed opportunities, as well as many self-related challenges. However, students welcomed autonomy as an enjoyable condition and linked it with motivation. Whole-group commitment and self-related attributes such as taking care of one’s own learning appeared as important conditions. The results highlight targets for interventions that can counteract constraining study conditions and continue the march of projects as a means to foster complex learning for the benefit of students and professionalism in global software engineering.


ISOMÖTTÖNEN, V., DANIELS, M., CAJANDER, A., PEARS, A. and MCDERMOT, R. 2019. Searching for global employability: can students capitalize on enabling learning environments? ACM transactions on computing education, 19(2), article ID 11. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 31, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 9, 2019
Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 14, 2020
Journal ACM transactions on computing education
Print ISSN 1946-6226
Electronic ISSN 1946-6226
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Article Number 11
Pages 1-29
Keywords Project-based learning; Employability; Global software engineering education
Public URL


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