Enhancing learning as theoretical thinking in robotic surgery


  • Laura Seppänen Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
  • Marika Schaupp Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
  • Mikael Wahlström VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd




Activity theory, developmental instruction, orientation basis, professional learning, robotic surgery, theoretical-genetic generalization


Professionals in many domains need to deal with increasingly complex, technology-mediated and uncertain work. Thus ways of learning that continuously and flexibly create new knowledge are needed at work. The aim of this article is to describe the logic of theoretical-genetic generalisation, and to use this, in addition to other methodological resources from pragmatism and cultural-historical psychology, for devel-oping a learning method for robotic surgery. In theoretical generalisation, or theoretical thinking, the learner orientates him-/herself in two directions: towards producing general, abstract understanding of dynamic interrelations within a phenomenon, and towards flexibly tailoring good solutions for each particular situation. Based on our ongoing study of robotic surgery, we sketch three different designs for learning which are all based on video-supported joint reflection of real robotic surgical operations. We outline the necessary principles and steps of the method in this context, and finally, discuss the potential of the outlined method for learning.

Author Biography

Laura Seppänen, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Senior Researcher

Sociotechnical change


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How to Cite

Seppänen, L., Schaupp, M., & Wahlström, M. (2018). Enhancing learning as theoretical thinking in robotic surgery. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 7(2), 84–103. https://doi.org/10.3384/njvet.2242-458X.177284