Continued growth in areas of economy and welfare requires not only innovation but also versatility. Businesses, organisations, as well as individuals, must be able to respond quickly to the rapid changes in the market. And this is done by looking beyond the boundaries of one’s own field.

Innovation and agile craftsmanship are certainly also important in the north of the Netherlands, as we cannot always assume that we use the full potential of the work floor. How can agile craftsmanship expertise strengthen the resilience and vitality of the northern region of the Netherlands? The Agile Craftsmanship professorship of applied sciences gathers and develops knowledge regarding learning, change and innovation.

Learning, change and innovation

By carrying out design- and practice-based research, the Agile Craftsmanship professorship provides a concrete contribution to the professionalisation of those working in their field. The professorship also takes initiatives aimed at increasing the dynamics of learning, change, and innovation. Both vocational training programmes and teacher training courses can benefit directly from a didactic approach based on agile craftsmanship expertise. For this reason, the professorship researches and develops the application of new forms of learning that are based on network learning, blended learning and open education.

Research projects

At a wide range of businesses and institutes, we research professionalisation approaches aimed at change and innovation. Focal points are practice-based learning, workplace learning, network learning strategies and hybrid learning environments.

NRO workplaces Smart Industries

Within the NRO workplaces project we are setting up an educational workplace for the School of Education, a partnership between secondary schools and the teacher training courses of Groningen University (RUG) and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The purpose of the educational workplaces is to professionalise teachers in the participating schools by carrying out research together with researchers from NHL Stenden and Groningen University into education practices.

Teaching practices, learning process, subject content and teaching methodology

Research into the effectiveness of teacher professionalism shows that the professional development of teachers is the most effective when the professionalisation focuses on the problems in the teaching practice of the teacher, the learning process of pupils, the subject content and teaching methodology. And the fact that  teachers together develop and implement teaching material in this process. Collaborative learning, in particular, is important in the professional development of teachers in order to be able to meet the requirements of the education. What's more, it appears that teachers are keen to learn through experimenting in the classroom, by working together with colleagues and by reflecting upon the teaching practice. And finally, effective and expert supervision of processes and content improves the effectiveness of the professional activity.

Effect of the layout and design of the workplace

The central research question of the workplace is, therefore, the question of what is the effect of the layout and design of the workplace on the professionalisation of teachers: what conditions within the workplace have an influence on the professionalisation of teachers and does the workplace promote a culture of curiosity within the schools? The research is carried out by educationalists from  NHL Stenden and RUG as well as by school leaders, teachers and other teacher supervisors. In the main question, we distinguish the following research questions:

  • Does design thinking research contribute to improving the quality of the education design that teachers develop?
  • Does design thinking research contribute to improving the quality of the evaluation of the education design carried out by teachers?
  • Does design thinking research contribute to the professional development of teachers?
  • Are there restrictive or stimulating conditions within the school context that influence the professionalisation of teachers by having them carry out design thinking research? In particular: what is the aim of the innovation (the design of the workplace), how is the innovation carried out and what are the effects of the innovation?

Research studios

In order to answer the research questions, ten research studios were formed relating to subjects and subject-transcending themes, which include teachers of the secondary schools involved. Mostly education materials are designed in these studios, based on the model of design thinking research, aimed at developing personalised learning in secondary education. The contribution in terms of educational and teaching methodology ensures for scientific embedding, a research approach and effective data collection that may produce scientific output.

More information

The project kicked off on 3 November 2017: over fifty secondary school teachers gathered at the Dr Nassau College formally start on the research studios. The project lasts two years: interim evaluations will, of course, take place, as well as possibly the first research results! For more information, please contact the project manager of NHL Stenden: Hiske Koldijk,, telephone: +31(0)628303835.

Space for Agile Craftsmanship Vital Regions

Space for Agile Craftsmanship: research into learning activities and supervision strategies in hybrid learning environments.

The aim of this project is to develop methodologies for providing customised supervision to intermediate vocational education (MBO) students in hybrid learning environments. It is a research project concerning learning and supervision in hybrid learning and work environments.

Vocational education makes increasing use of hybrid learning environments, in which learning and working with others are intertwined. It owes its popularity in part due to the fact that such environments can contribute to educating students to become versatile professionals. At present, intermediate vocational teachers, workplace supervisors, coaches and other supervisors have noticed that the supervision of students in hybrid environments does not always run that smoothly. They are asking themselves what students are learning and how that process can be supervised.

Knowledge of learning activities and supervision in hybrid learning environments

The research project creates knowledge of learning and supervision in hybrid learning environments and employs this in methodologies for the various supervisors. These methodologies can help them in making well-considered choices. In a four-year project, researchers, lecturing researchers and students gain knowledge of learning activities and supervision in existing hybrid learning environments. This knowledge is then converted into methodologies that can then be developed further and tested. In order to make this knowledge available nationally, the consortium organises  knowledge workplaces and develops a national network about learning and supervision in hybrid learning environments.

Collaborations with businesses and institutes

SIA RAAK-PRO has awarded the consortium a subsidy for the ‘Space for versatile expertise’ project. This consortium consists of:

  • The Vocational Education professorship (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences)
  • Versatile Expertise Professorship (NHL Stenden)
  • De Leermeesters
  • ROC Midden Nederland
  • Friesland College
  • Deltion College
  • Albeda College

Collaborating businesses and institutes such as

  • Zuidoostzorg
  • Alliade
  • Midden Nederland district court

More information

For more information about the Raak-Pro Ruimte project, please contact Marco Mazereeuw via or check the website.

SiGa-Lab Smart Sustainable Industries

The SiGa-Lab is the Simulation & Game-Based Training & Assessment Lab of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The SiGa-Lab provides training and assessment, carries out applied research and offers facilities in the areas of simulator learning and serious gaming.

The SiGa-Lab provides a wide range of simulations and serious games, which study programmes, businesses and (educational) institutes can use for developing and assessing the (inter)personal skills of students and staff.

We also carry out applied research in the areas of simulator learning and serious gaming. We do this in collaboration with Groningen University and Delft University of Technology. Our research focuses on the effectiveness of simulations and serious games as educational instruments and also on the validity of simulations and serious games as assessment tool.

  • Modern lab facilities

    We have our own workshop and research area at the NHL, which we can set up flexibly depending on the simulations or games that we play or research. Our SiGa-Lab is equipped with  the most modern multimedia facilities, including prowise boards, game computers, beamers, (touch)screens, tablets, lighting and audio installation as well as a video behaviour observation system.

  • Our range of games

    The SiGA-Lab offers a varied range of games. Below is an overview.

  • Capture

    The animated role play game Capture is a useful training/workshop tool for account managers to improve sales techniques. The workshop takes 2 hours and a maximum of 20 people can take part.

  • Integrity

    The animated role play game Integrity [g1] deals with ethical conduct and integrity. The workshop takes 2 hours.

  • O-Fidelity

    In the online simulation game O-Fidelity, participants have to deal with project management and organisational change. The course takes 2 to 3 weeks.

  • Play Your Strengths

    In the Lego Serious Play Game, Play Your Strengths, participants employ self-determination and gain an insight into their own talents. The workshop takes 2 hours.

  • Esch-Cape

    Collaboration and team development are central during the battle in this unusual escape room game Esch-Cape. In a series of rounds, participants battle against one another to leave the escape room as quickly as possible. This game can be used as an in-company event.

  • Team Up

    In the Multiplayer adventure game Team Up, the focus is on collaboration and team development. This training/workshop takes 2 hours and is suitable for a maximum of 8 people per workshop.

  • ARRA

    ARRA is a Multiplayer adventure game and is ideal for strengthening collaboration and team development. The participants compete against one another in groups of 8.

  • Artemis

    Artemis is a leadership and collaboration simulation game in which the participants work on competences such as leadership and collaboration. A maximum of 6 participants per workshop.

  • Quinn Leadership Styles Simulator

    ARRA is a Multiplayer adventure game and is ideal for strengthening collaboration and team development. The participants compete against one another in groups of 8.

  • Keep Talking

    In the communication and collaboration game Keep Talking, communication and reasoning are central.

  • ETU Communication Simulator

    How do you make a decision and how do you communicate that to your colleagues? In this video role play simulation game ETU Communication Simulator, participants gain a better understanding of the way in which they communicate.

Collaboration with businesses and institutions

At NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences we work closely with businesses and institutes that put our simulations and serious games to practical use. Under particular terms and conditions, businesses and institutes may use the facilities at our SiGa-Lab. For more information, please contact the manager:

More information

If you are interested in finding out about what we can offer, please visit our website Sims & Games for businesses and institutes. Alternatively, feel free to contact us to discuss how we can support you in personal development and assessment, by emailing us at or phoning 058-2511528.

We also have a wide range of possibilities for students. Look for our training courses and workshops with open registration at Sims & Games for students. You can also contact us to discuss research and internship possibilities at the SiGa-Lab.

With whom do we work?

The Agile Craftsmanship professorship initiates research projects and carries out studies for external clients, such as schools. The professorship works together with intermediate vocational education institutes and businesses in the region. The professorship also looks for connections with other professorships at  NHL Stenden in order to realise cross-sector approaches to social issues.

The professorship currently carries out research mainly into the ‘praktijkroutes’ (practical pathways) that Friesland College sets up together with institutes and businesses, the flexible education as provided at NHL Stenden, the wide range of excellence and honours programmes, the mentoring programme ‘Mentor Programma Friesland’, and a community of learning within the Noorderpoort College. Doctoral research is also carried out within the professorship. This focuses mainly on the changing role of the teacher in the innovation of education.

Our partners

  • Friesland College
  • De Friese Poort
  • Noorderpoort College
  • Alfa College
  • Bibliotheekservice Fryslân
  • Frisian Design Factory


All the disciplines of the Agile Craftsmanship professorship come together in a knowledge network. This knowledge network arose organically from a number of ongoing and new projects as well as doctoral research. Each member of the knowledge network has his or her own research project and works together on sharing this knowledge in building a common frame of reference.

As practice-based researchers, sometimes we can see the special character of an intervention, a way of coaching or learning setting more quickly and clearly than people in the work field. Moreover, we are able to connect these unique cases together at a meta-level. In this way, we can distil patterns, lessons and principles. In all this, the professionals from the work field function as co-researchers. This approach of conducting research together, with a certain duration and depth, is referred to as a research atelier.

The benefits of a research atelier

In a research atelier three cycles come together:

The development cycle of the school, business or institution. This can also include several organisations that jointly form a consortium.

Research cycle from the professorship, whereby we look for a connection with current issues, theory development and scientific discussions.

The learning cycle as the heart of the research studio, aimed at utilising knowledge and creating value for the actual practice.

Each cycle has its own dynamics and requirements, but it is within the interconnectedness that we see the joint strength. This provides a viewpoint to our shared responsibility. Each participant in a research atelier takes part in the learning cycle and contributes to connecting practice development and research.


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Research group Care and Welfare

Team members