Creative Entrepreneurship in the Arctic

Author: Anzelika Krastina.

Entrepreneurship is no longer just an option, but vital for the survival and development of the Arctic regions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution comes with benefits as well as with the threats, such as job losses, climate change and globalisation. These are just few factors that clearly indicate that the world is changing rapidly, and the job and work environment in the 21st century differs from that of the 20th century. Being entrepreneurial is a decisive factor of current national and global economy, it is a new source of innovation for our societies and economies. It is even more relevant to the circumstances of the Arctic regions. Lapland region in Finland belongs to the so-called Arctic circumpolar region and shares common challenges with other Arctic regions, which among others are about cold climate, direct effects of climate change, long distances between settlements, scarce population, economy domination by heavy industries and urgent need for diversification of local economies. Therefore, entrepreneurship is considered as a solution to many socio-economic challenges in the region and education institutions. Lapland University of Applied Sciences takes this factor into account, incorporating entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial attitude development in the strategy of education development.

The importance of entrepreneurship development and education in the circles of regional development in Lapland was in particular recognised soon after the global crisis of 2008. Moreover, in the cross-border cooperation forums in the Barents Euro Arctic Region, stakeholders raised the issue of young people leaving the northern regions for better economic opportunities in the south and the need to find solutions that would reverse the flow of migration. As a rule, it was mostly educated young capital that was a big loss to the region. Having similar challenges in Arctic regions in Europe, many stakeholders, including regional authorities, universities, local communities and activists came to a common vision to enhance entrepreneurship among young people and local communities. (Arctic Smart Rural Community , 2019). Lapland University of Applied Sciences played a big role in further initiatives and endeavours (Lapinamk, 2019).

Creative entrepreneurship is an approach for developing the Arctic. Taking into account specific circumstances of the region, one can realise that traditional entrepreneurship approach cannot be the most suitable way for the purposes of entrepreneurial development in the region. Arctic region cannot be compared to the regions such as Silicon Valley in the USA or many regions in central Europe with condensed population of networked entrepreneurship, investment and society. What is the advantage of the northern European or Arctic regions in Europe, is certainly its human capital. The entire Circumpolar Arctic is well covered with educational institutions producing highly educated human capital across the Arctic. Most importantly, there is a great platform for interacting across the Arctic among the institutes in the form of one network under the umbrella of the University of the Arctic. Also called UArctic, it is a cooperative network of about 200 network universities, colleges, research institutes concerned with education and research in and about the North (University of the Arctic, 2019).

Creative approach to entrepreneurship development can be reflected through the experiences of various national, regional, cross-border and international projects and initiatives. The projects and initiatives have different scope, aim and context, but however, there will never be the same repetitive approach. Each of the initiatives is searching for a new innovative way to approach the matter of entrepreneurship development. What is most important, these activities are not taking place somewhere on the side, but are directly integrated with the educational processes at the university. Entrepreneurship education is nowadays directly incorporated with the curriculum and education offered at the Lapland UAS and partner educational institutions. In order to better illustrate creative and innovative ways of entrepreneurship development facilitation, several initiatives are introduced below.

Northern Stars – Creative Entrepreneurship in the North

The so called “Northern Stars”  seminar evolved as a student project into a large international seminar aiming to disclose the challenges and opportunities for the entrepreneurship in the north and to encourage entrepreneurship among young people. As a rule, it combines key-note presentations, success and failure stories by entrepreneurs from the Arctic region and in addition a variety of innovation workshops. The 2017 seminar was a great success when all the 200 seats and every single staircase were taken by the audience, which marked the interest and growth of the event from 30 participants from the starting year in 2011 when the initial event was called “Strengthening the North – Let’s stay here”. It was the initiative of the students to discuss the ways on how to motivate young people to find good opportunities in the north instead of moving to the south.

InnoBarentsLab – ”a safe place to fail”

Initially, the lab was created as a platform and environment for young people to develop and test their business ideas with the assistance of business coaches. Currently the activities of the lab have a focus on the so called impact entrepreneurship, sustainable solutions for the Arctic communities and social entrepreneurship. “Breaking the Ice” was a project created by students to help the integration of immigrants into the local Lapland community. “Give back to Finland” was a student project by foreign students, who felt a gratitude towards the state in Finland for a great education and opportunities. The activities of the project included events in the elderly homes, kindergartens, hospitals with the performances and different cultural events. Currently the challenges of climate change and in particular, the actions needed for sustainable Arctic development are the core of the innovation lab.

Creative Steps 2.0 methodology to facilitate innovations across the borders

Challenges of a more globalised world, current working environments and changing nature of business in the context of Arctic region livelihoods requires a creative and innovative mind-set and ability to work across distances, which could be done with the use of modern technologies. Within the project Creative Momentum, co-founded by the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (2015–2018), a group of experts was working on developing such a collaborative innovation model for the actors or businesses from creative industries across the north of Europe. Even though the world nowadays is filled with a variety of innovation methodologies and tools, it was difficult to find a suitable solution when it comes to online collaboration. An innovation workshop called Creative Steps 2.0 was created as a response to the named challenges. In practice, the participants involved collaborate online on distance and create new products, services, or innovate entire business models. Creative Steps 2.0 model is also a response to the need to develop education and training methods that will encourage entrepreneurship and the networking of companies in remote Northern European regions.

The Creative Steps 2.0 (CS 2.0) innovation workshop model is not a typical business development and innovation workshop and can be considered as an innovation result of a Creative Momentum project. It is distinguished from many other innovation workshops for the following reasons. First, the CS 2.0 methodology aims to enhance cross-border collaboration and interaction between businesses and students with the help of coaches and external experts. Second, the CS 2.0 methodology aims to encourage the use of digital tools for better online and distance collaboration. Third, it offers simple patterns of activities (ten steps) that help all participants in the workshop to progress in their work from one step to another with clear tasks and outcomes. Therefore, it serves as a guideline process for participants in various entrepreneurship development situations. Such business development process seems to be in particular suitable when the businesses in creative sector are engaged with multidisciplinary student teams.

According to the participants during the project, cooperation and working over distance is certainly a business trend that has already emerged. It has been noticed that the use of online tools among small creative businesses and young start-ups is not yet a daily routine, neither are they used as effectively by students or academics. Therefore, the workshops were a great opportunity to test various online tools for digital cooperation and to enhance digital ability, which is extremely important for all participants: businesses, companies and also future education. Online working, as a part of the workshops, proved to all participants that distance is not an obstacle. When an entrepreneur from Finland is meeting with an entrepreneur from Northern Ireland even online and co-operating with a creative student team again in a different location, it can produce really great results. (Creative Steps 2.0, 2019)

Apart from the mentioned creative entrepreneurship development initiatives, there are many other projects taking place, such as Arctic Valley business simulation game, Arctic Youth Forum, Arctic Business Dating match-making events, SMART practice or so-called integrated purpose-driven practical training and Entrepreneurship path integration into education which gives the opportunity to students and many others to engage with entrepreneurial experiences. Actual outcomes of all these initiatives need to be assessed in more detail, however, the proof of positive outcomes already now can be measured with many new start-ups and increased confidence about the entrepreneurship as a possible alternative for a career choice among young people in the Arctic regions.

Author

Anzelika Krastina, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, International coordinator, School of Northern Well-being and Services, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, anzelika.krastina(at)lapinamk.fi


Arctic Smart Rural Community. 2019. https://arcticsmartness.eu/arctic-smart-rural-community/, retrieved 15.10.2019

Creative Steps 2.0. responds to the challenges of a globalised world. MyCreativeEdge project. https://mycreativeedge.eu/deep-in-thought-item/creative-steps-2-0-responds-to-the-challenges-of-a-globalised-world/ , retrieved 15.10.2019

InnoBarentsLab. 2019. http://www.innobarentslab.org/, retrieved 10.10.2019

Lapinamk. 2019. https://www.lapinamk.fi/en/Who-we-are , retrieved 12.10.2019

Northern Stars Seminar https://www.facebook.com/northernstarsseminar/ retrieved 15.10.2019

University of the Arctic. 2019. https://www.uarctic.org/, retrieved 10.10.2019

Blueprint for a training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs

Kirjoittajat: Minna-Maari Harmaala & Hanna Harilainen.

As a part of a larger research and development project, we aim to create a training program for both businesses and higher education institutions on effective business opportunity recognition in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving the SDGs could create 380 million jobs and unlock €10 trillion in business opportunities. Business leaders are called to develop new directions to embrace an economic model which is low-carbon, environmentally sustainable, and turn poverty, inequality and lack of financial access into new market opportunities for “smart, progressive, profit-oriented companies”. The SDGs offer a compelling growth strategy for businesses. The abundance inherent in SDGs will not materialize without private companies who would seize the market opportunities they open up. (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017).

Higher education institutions of business and management play a key role in the training of future leaders. According to recent research (SDG Accord Annual Report, 2018), 40% of university students have heard of the SDGs and know what they are about, 32% have heard of them but do not know what they are about, and 25% say they have never heard of SDGs. The majority (91%) agreed that sustainable development should be actively incorporated in all universities and colleges.

Business opportunity recognition

Theoretical perspectives of explaining the entrepreneurial behavior of business opportunity recognition, such as causation, effectuation (Sarasvathy, 2001) and entrepreneurial bricolage (Baker & Nelson, 2005) show that there are various routes to recognizing business opportunities in the environment. The traditional model or perspective of entrepreneurship, or “causation”, posits that the entrepreneur decides on a predetermined goal and then selects between means to achieve that goal (Sarasvathy, 2001). Causation draws on economic thinking to describe how an entrepreneurial action is taken and relies heavily on advance planning. (Fisher 2012). Effectuation as an explanation to the entrepreneurial process emerged from studies of the decision making process in uncertain operating environments. Effectuation explains the entrepreneurial process of starting new business activities, taking risks (affordable loss) and adaption to changes in the environment. Learning by doing and continuous learning is an integral part of the effectuation process. (Sarasvathi, 2001). Baker and Nelson (2005) found that “companies engaging in bricolage refuse to enact the limitations imposed by dominant definitions of resource environments” and thus they argue that on understanding entrepreneurial behavior, a constructivist approach to resource environments is more fruitful than objectivist views. In contrast to the causation approach, in this model the entrepreneur relies on radical experimentation and solves problems as they arise instead of rigorous planning.

George et al (2016) synthesized the opportunity recognition literature. Their framework (Figure 1) suggests that influencing factors (prior knowledge, social capital, cognition, environmental conditions, entrepreneurial alertness, and systematic search) are related to opportunity discovery and/or creation, which leads the individual to evaluate and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities.

Figure 1. The opportunity recognition framework (adapted from George et al. 2016, 338).
Figure 1. The opportunity recognition framework (adapted from George et al. 2016, 338).

Sustainable business opportunity recognition

Sustainable entrepreneurship is viewed as considering a triple bottom line approach of people, planet and profit introduced originally by Elkington (1994, 1997). In this respect, sustainable entrepreneurship considers the creation of environmental and social value alongside and equally importantly as the creation of financial profit.

Patzelt and Shepherd (2011) argue that merely entrepreneurial knowledge and economic motivation are insufficient in explaining sustainable business opportunity recognition. They introduce a model that considers knowledge of the natural/ communal environment, motivation, perception of threat to the natural/communal environment and altruism alongside entrepreneurial knowledge as determining factors in the recognition of sustainable business opportunities. These key determinants are depicted in figure 2.

Figure 2. A model of recognition of sustainable development opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011).
Figure 2. A model of recognition of sustainable development opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011).

It seems that the greater the existing knowledge of the natural and/or communal environment is, the greater the likelihood that the entrepreneur will pursue sustainable business opportunities (Patzelt & Shepherd 2011, Hart 2005, Prahalad 2010). Further, it seems that knowledge of the existing natural or societal challenges, combined with a high degree of entrepreneurial knowledge makes this connection stronger and further facilitates the sustainable business opportunity recognition. The entrepreneurial knowledge alone is not sufficient to recognize sustainable business opportunities but knowledge of the natural/communal environment, perception of threat, motivation and altruism are further needed as antecedents to sustainable business opportunity recognition. Entrepreneurial knowledge is a moderator facilitating the transformation of the other types of knowledge and motivations into sustainable business opportunity recognition.

Business models around sustainable development goals

Schaltegger, Hansen and Ludeke-Freund (2016) define a business model for sustainability as “a business model for sustainability helps describing, analyzing, managing, and communicating (i) a company’s sustainable value proposition to its customers, and all other stakeholders, (ii) how it creates and delivers this value, (iii) and how it captures economic value while maintaining or regenerating natural, social, and economic capital beyond its organizational boundaries.”

Boons and Laasch (2019) argue that the concept of business models needs to be looked at from a process perspective, which is in line with the concept of sustainable development as a process. They emphasize four distinct characteristics for developing business models for sustainable development:

  • Business models for sustainability require an inclusive process of negotiated social practices.
  • The business model needs to be open and continuously accept and include input from its surroundings.
  • All business models must compete with other business model despite their sustainability orientation.
  • All business models are also environmentally connected to other business models and their consequential effects, either positive or detrimental to sustainability, need to be considered.

Table 1. Contingency framework on business model dynamics (Saebi, 2015).

 Environmental dynamics
Regular environmental changeEnvironmental competitivenessEnvironmental shift
Type of business model changeBusiness model evolution (BME)Business model adaptation (BMA)Business model innovation (BMI)
Type of dynamic capabilityEvolutionary changing capabilityAdaptive change capabilityInnovative change capability
Underlying capability dimensionDynamic consistencyCustomer agility, strategic flexibility, exploitationExploration, business model know-how, dedicated organizational units for BMI

Wadin and Ode (2019) use, test and extend the framework introduced by Saebi (2015) and presented in table 1. The table draws together the types of changes necessary in the business model and in the firm’s dynamic capabilities with respect to the changes in the environment. The environmental dynamics are categorized into either being slow-moving gradual changes (regular environmental change), periodically changing competitive demands that can be at the most very intense (environmental competitiveness) and dramatic discontinuities and disruptions (environmental shift). Each require a different approach in terms of the business model change either through evolution or innovation as well as in the dynamic capabilities of the firm. As a result, companies need to be equipped to spot the different demands and build up their dynamic competences as well as tailor the required business model changes.

Conceptual framework

Based on the literature we generated a conceptual framework (Figure 3) to guide the development of the blueprint for the training program.

Figure 3. Conceptual framework for training program development.
Figure 3. Conceptual framework for training program development.

Out of this conceptual framework, we have striven towards the practical application in the format of training program outline (Table 2). Each topic is linked to a competence being learned and a specific learning objective is listed for each topic.

Table 2. Effective training program outline on business opportunity recognition in SDGs for businesses and higher education institutions.

TopicCompetence-based learning objective
The role of the environment in the opportunity recognition process Stable environment and discovery of opportunities
(causation)

Complex and changing environment & creation of opportunities
(effectuation & bricolage)
The learner is able to analyze the environment to understand whether it requires discovery of existing or creation of new opportunities.
ResourcesExisting resources as a source of entrepreneurial opportunityThe learner is able to engage in systemic search for existing resources and utilize them while seeing resource constraints as a source of creativity.
ActionAction as a mechanism for overcoming resource constraintsThe learner is able to innovate mechanisms to overcome resource constraints.
Social capitalCommunity as a catalyst for venture emergence and growthThe learner is able to systematically analyze the applicability of and activate his/her social capital for the opportunity recognition process.
Awareness and personality traitsAwareness and personality traits as a factor of opportunity recognitionThe learner is able to realistically assess his/her personality traits and level of awareness in the opportunity recognition process.
Knowledge of natural/ communal environment and sense of urgencyDynamics of environmental change and its implications for sustainabilityThe learner understands relevant environmental and communal challenges and their change dynamics and is able to evaluate the rate of change and urgency.
Business model change types and dynamic capabilitiesDifferent environmental change types require different business model change approaches and different dynamic capabilities; sustainable business models are contingentThe learner is able to identify the required business model change types and related capabilities as a response to different environmental change dynamics.
Motivation and altruismMotivation and altruism play a role in sustainable business opportunity recognition.The learner is able to appreciate changes in the natural/ communal environment and is motivated to pursue solutions to those challenges.
Modes of value creation and value captureValue can be created with or for the target group and either through market mechanisms or through the mission.The learner is able to differentiate between different value creation and capture categories especially from the viewpoint of for-profit businesses.
Process approach to sustainable business modelsCertain process elements, such as inclusion and competition, are essential in the creation of successful sustainable business modelsThe learner is able to identify and build the required process elements to ensure success of the sustainable business model.

Discussion and conclusions

In this conceptual paper we have identified the key elements of an effective training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs and created a blueprint of such a program. This paper focused on the first module of the training program only which deals with the basics of business opportunity recognition regarding social challenges. The specific SDG challenges with most business potential as well as examples of successful SDG opportunity utilization cases are dealt in different modules of the training program.

Kirjoittajat

Minna-Maari Harmaala, D.Sc.(Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, minna-maari.harmaala(at)haaga-helia.fi

Hanna Harilainen, D.Sc.(Econ.), Head of Degree Programme, Principal Lecturer, International Business, Master’s Degree Programme in Supply Chain Management (Sourcing), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, hanna.harilainen(at)metropolia.fi

Baker, T., & Nelson, R. 2005. Creating Something from Nothing: Resource Construction through Entrepreneurial Bricolage. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50(3), 329–366.

Boons, F., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2013), Business models for sustainable innovation: State-of-the-art and steps towards a research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45, 9–19.

Boons, F., & Laasch, O. (2019), Business Models for Sustainable Development: A Process Perspective. Journal of Business Models, 7(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.jbm.v7i1.2164

Business and Sustainable Development Commission (2017). “Better business, better world”.

Elkington, J. (1994). Towards the sustainable corporation: Win–win–win business strategies for sustainable development. California Management Review, 36, 90–100.

Elkington, J. (1997). Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. Capstone, Oxford, NY.

Fisher, G. (2012). Effectuation, Causation, and Bricolage: A Behavioral Comparison of Emerging Theories in Entrepreneurship Research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(5), 1019–1051.

George, M. N. Parida, V., Lahti, T., & Wincent, J. (2016). A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: Insights on influencing factors. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(2), 309–350.

Hanohov, R., & Baldacchino, L. (2018). Opportunity recognition in sustainable entrepreneurship: an exploratory study. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 24(2), 333–358.

Hart, S.L. (2005). Capitalism at the crossroads. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2016). Development Co-operation Report 2016: The Sustainable Development Goals As Business Opportunities: The Sustainable Development Goals As Business Opportunities.

Patzelt, H.; & Shepherd, D.A. (2011). Recognizing opportunities for sustainable development. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(4), 631–652.

Prahalad, C.K. (2010). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.

Raith M.G., & Siebold N. (2018). Building Business Models around Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Business Models, 6(2), 71–77.

Saebi, T. (2015), Evolution, adaption, or innovation? A contingency framework on business model dynamics, in J. Foss & T. Saebi (Eds.), Business Model Innovation – the organizational dimension, pp. 145–168. Oxford University Press.

Sarasvathy, S. (2001). Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 243–263.

Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E.G., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2016). Business models for sustainability. Organization & Environment, 29, 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1086026615599806

SDG Accord Annual Report (2018) refers to a research carried out in March 2018 with 3543 responses on students studying predominantly in the UK, Austria, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Denmark, France and Germany about their awareness and interest in the SDGs.

Wadin, J. L., & Ode, K. A. (2019), Business models for sustainability – change in dynamic environments. Journal of Business Models, 7(1), 3–38. http://journalofbusinessmodels.com/vol-7-no-1-2019/vol-7-no-1-pp-13-38/

Abstracts 1/2020

Editorial: UAS Journal – starting the 10th year of open and responsible publishing activities in higher education

Ilkka Väänänen, Editor-in-chief, UAS Journal, ilkka.vaananen(at)uasjournal.fi

On the very same day of releasing this issue, the 16th of March, the journal of the Finnish universities of applied sciences, UAS Journal, released its first issue in 2011. We are now therefore starting the celebrations of the journal’s 10th anniversary year. The theme for the year will be sustainable development, which is also one of the focus areas for this year chosen by Arene, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.

Universities of applied sciences play a key role in Finland’s innovation and learning ecosystems, in which we produce new practical knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the whole of society in cooperation with businesses, government and the third sector. Communications constitutes an important channel for ensuring effectiveness and usability. These communications include multi-channelled and broad-based activities, high-quality publications, and various expert and developer networks. The UAS Journal promotes all these elements, inspiring different university actors to put their open, multidisciplinary RDI activities and expertise on display and building networks both nationally and internationally. The purpose of the journal is to support the dialogue between universities of applied sciences and wider society and to affect a high-impact ‘hat trick’ through cooperation, dialogue, the articles published, and the involvement of expert individuals. The journal also functions as a communal development forum for universities of applied sciences and helps develop our project culture and strengthen our research orientation.

The UAS Journal wants to maintain and develop the professional expertise of the learning ecosystem. Each year the journal publishes around 60 articles, with contributions from nearly a hundred authors. Some articles are viewed thousands of times.

This first issue for the anniversary year is the 38th produced. The UAS Journal was preceded in the 2000s by the Kever and Osaaja journals. In 2011, it became an OA publication which used the Open Journal System platform. The first editors-in-chief were Mervi Friman and Riitta Rissanen. The journal serves as an accessible online publication that operates in line with the principles of transparent and open scientific research. The editorial policy of our journal, which is published four times a year, has remained unchanged. It has expanded to involve international cooperation on special themed issues together with the European association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning, EAPRIL. In addition, we have developed the visual components of the journal and changed the layout to make it clearer and more readable. The goal is to publish articles that are concise and to the point, and to publish more of them. We want to respond to topical issues, and we are always pleased to receive feedback on the journal as well as suggestions for themes and for further development. The success of the UAS Journal depends on us all. We are producing high-quality communications for universities of applied sciences in cooperation with all interested stakeholders. We will soon be taking into use persistent identifiers, URN, for the articles published, and we will be adding practical perspectives into the texts. There are also plans to carry out a reader survey and then use the results to further develop the journal’s user-orientation and production process.

The popularity of the ‘current topics’ themed edition now before you was truly huge. We received a record number of article proposals – 60 in all. The themes for last year’s issues were competence-based learning in universities of applied sciences, digitalisation and the new role of data management, artificial intelligence, and creative sectors and innovation activities. For this issue, we openly invited people to send whatever kinds of articles on topical issues, on the diverse activities and roles of universities of applied sciences in business cooperation, and on RDI activities. We were not able, unfortunately, to publish in this issue all of the articles received. Among other topics, these 22 published articles examine the ways in which universities of applied sciences develop cooperative activities and services that promote both cooperation with businesses and industry and also permanent service structures and cooperation structures created to support communities and teaching.

This 10th anniversary issue presents in a diverse way topical issues relating to the different activities of universities of applied sciences, such as the development of pedagogy and guidance, cooperation with employers, development of services, and the opportunities for RDI activities and work-based learning. Many thanks to all the contributing authors and to the theme issue editor Johanna Wartio from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for producing the content for this issue! You have not only written the articles but have also provided a large and diverse display of the strong expertise of Finnish universities of applied sciences and their important role in applied research and practical RDI activities. Together we build responsibly for the future!

I hope you all enjoy and get inspired by the articles in this issue and throughout the UAS Journal’s 10th anniversary year!

Ilkka Väänänen
Editor-in-chief

Research and development is an opportunity to the continuous learner

Anu Sipilä, MBA, Vocational Teacher, Coordinator in learning collaboration & Master Study Guidance, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences,  anu.sipila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Marianne Wegmüller, M.Sc. (Econ.), RDI communications, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, marianne.wegmuller(at)haaga-helia.fi

Lifelong learning is a concept largely present in discussions in our society. New practices for continuous learning are developed to benefit both the employee and the employer.

Research and development activities at universities of applied sciences aim at impactful solutions in cooperation with partners, both locally and globally. R&D projects offer the involved employees a chance to step into a new framework for a set time and bring back the actual outcome, but also new perspectives, contacts, thoughts and opportunities of various kinds.

Project work offers the lifelong learner, the employee, a diverse and challenging platform for learning and development. Knowledge is updated, expertise is taken further, enthusiasm and engagement are created and the employee is taken outside the comfort zone. Project work is lean and agile, which is the core of lifelong learning.

R&D projects make a structured platform for plunging into the unknown and learning continuously – thus taking change a bit further. Universities of applied sciences have a long history applying R&D to the benefit in the world of work, each with their own core competencies in focus. We are also experts of pedagogy and learning. We still need to develop ways to match the fast rhythm of business life.

Key words: change, continuos learning, flexibility, RDI activities

 

Hopes to disseminate results from RDI projects in a more effective way 

Kaisa Jaalama, M.Sc. (Admin.), Doctoral Student, Aalto University, kaisa.jaalama(at)aalto.fi
Juhani Talvela, Lic. Tech., IPR Expert, Aalto University, juhani.talvela(at)aalto.fi
Hannu Hyyppä, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Professor, Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, hannu.hyyppa(at)aalto.fi
Marika Ahlavuo, Master of Culture and Arts (Cultural Producer), Science Producer, Project Manager, Aalto University, marika.ahlavuo(at)aalto.fi
Hanna Lahtinen, PhD, Director, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, hanna.lahtinen(at)laurea.fi
Anne Kärki, PhD (Physiotherapy), Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, anne.karki(at)samk.fi
Seliina Päällysaho, PhD, M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi

Open RDI activities, such as practices of and attitudes towards openness in RDI, were explored in the Open RDI, learning, and the innovation ecosystem of Finnish UAS project in 2018. The web survey was addressed to the RDI staff, teachers and other experts working at a Finnish university of applied sciences (UAS). Based on the results, UAS experts have a positive attitude towards openness in RDI activities. Additional support is needed in some areas of open RDI, such as data management and research infrastructures. The motivation to publish and share RDI results is high, however, improving the availability of RDI results and conditions for publishing should be further enhanced.

Key words: competences, expertise, open RDI, universities of applied sciences, web questionnaire

 

Open RDI in the universities of applied sciences – views from staff members 

 Juhani Talvela, Lic. Tech., IPR Expert, Aalto University, juhani.talvela(at)aalto.fi
Kaisa Jaalama, M.Sc. (Admin.), Doctoral Student, Aalto University, kaisa.jaalama(at)aalto.fi
Hannu Hyyppä, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Professor, Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, hannu.hyyppa(at)aalto.fi
Marika Ahlavuo, Master of Culture and Arts (Cultural Producer), Science Producer, Project Manager, Aalto University, marika.ahlavuo(at)aalto.fi
Seliina Päällysaho, PhD, M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi
Hanna Lahtinen, PhD, Director, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, hanna.lahtinen(at)laurea.fi
Anne Kärki, PhD (Physiotherapy), Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, anne.karki(at)samk.fi

Views and considerations towards Open RDI are collected and analyzed among the staff members in the Finnish universities of applied sciences by four open-ended questions. Roles of teaching and RDI work and the integration of students into RDI projects gain the most responses. Best practices as well as greatest challenges were reported by the respondents. A number of organizational and management related problems are yet to be solved. A need for trust was emphasized indicating possible misconception in the requirements of open RDI.  

Key words: ammattikorkeakoulu, avoin tutkimus, TKI, näkemykset, asiantuntijat, verkkokysely 

 

Acquiring skills through the RDI Expert Coaching Programme

Mari Salminen-Tuomaala, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Health and Social Sector
Juha Hautanen, M.Sc. (Tech.), Head Of Department, Teacher Education College, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences
Sirkka Saranki-Rantakokko, HTT, Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, RDI Services, Pohjoinen hyvinvointi ja palvelut

Effective project management and project work skills are important requirements in higher education and various work place settings. This article is based on one example of the recent efforts to strengthen the research and development profile of the Universities of Applied Sciences: the national Research and Development (R&D) Expert Coaching Programme, launched in 2014 by a pilot funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme aimed at improved effectiveness by increasing networking with actors in innovative environments and by developing more practical and user-oriented operational models. Further aims were to improve participants’ competence in the following areas: project planning and implementation; research, development and innovation; management and leadership; commercialisation of research results; targeting customers, and integration of the results into teaching. By means of simulation-based learning it’s possible to learn a lot about project management and it’s challenges.

Key words: coaching, development, innovation, multidisciplinarity, research, simulation

 

RDI creates a Master

Anu Sipilä, MBA, Vocational Teacher, Coordinator in learning collaboration & Master Study Guidance, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences,  anu.sipila(at)haaga-helia.fi
Jarmo Ritalahti, Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer, Head of Master Degree Programme in Aviation and Tourism Business, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, jarmo.ritalahti(at)haaga-helia.fi

To integrate Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) activities to education activities in Finnish universities of applied sciences is a topical theme. The integration was one of the focuses when Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences started to develop its Master Degree Programmes. The process that is now in its piloting phase includes a continuous collaboration with university’s core competence groups’ project managers and other actors. Project actors bring in themes and topics that are presented to master curriculum’s specialization teachers to include them to various courses serving similar aims than the projects.

Key words: development, master curriculum, RDI

 

Is the future already here – the robotics of many possibilities challenges the R&D activities in the universities of applied sciences

Tapio Mäkelä, Lic. Admin., Specialist, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, School of Health and Social Studies, tapio.makela(at)jamk.fi

Automation and robotisation have already impacted and will continue to impact business organizations and citizens personal life. The implementation of robotics affects personnel motivation, skills needs and working methods. These impacts can be either positive or negative, depending on how business development efforts and the implementation process are handled. Challenges are unavoidable if a company’s change projects are carried out in a technology-driven manner, without acknowledging people’s human needs, such as the need for a feeling of security, stability and opportunities to exert influence. These problems, a lack of information and knowledge capital, and a lack of experience in the implementation, utilisation and impacts of robotics have slowed down process automation in business organizations.

Key words: challenges for development, development in the world of work, robotics

 

Xamk in support of the authorities in preparing against oil damage

Justiina Halonen, Research Manager, Master Mariner (B.Sc.), justiina.halonen(at)xamk.fi

Ministry of the Interior’s national risk assessment recognizes the risk of a marine oil spill incident as one threat scenario and disruption, the likelihood of which is rising. The risk results from the increasing vessel traffic and is affected by the increasingly frequent extreme weather events and unforeseen vulnerabilities the rapid development of ship technology poses. In parallel with preventive safety measures, capability to deal with the consequences of marine incidents is needed. According to environmental authorities, an oil spill in the Gulf of Finland could rise up to 30 000 tonnes. An oil spill of that volume could generate 200 000–500 000 tonnes of oiled wastes as the oil contaminates water, soil and vegetation. Responding to such an incident might take several years. The need for practical response guidelines initiated a joint development process with the response authorities and UAS. As a result, an oil spill response model was created. Today, the model is an integral part of national oil spill preparedness, and collaboration continues to further improve the response capability.

Key words: oil spill response, environmental damage, emergency preparedness, seafaring, maritime safety

 

 Xamk Ambulance simulator connects studies and RDI

Antti Jakonen, ensihoitaja YAMK, väitöskirjatutkija, projektipäällikkö, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsingin yliopisto, antti.jakonen(at)xamk.fi
Jarno Hämäläinen, sosiaali- ja terveysalan YAMK, ensihoidon lehtori, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, jarno.hamalainen(at)xamk.fi
Hilla Sumanen, dosentti, FT, ensihoidon yliopettaja, Kaakkois-Suomen ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsingin yliopisto, hilla.sumanen(at)xamk.fi

The ambulance simulator, located at the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) Kotka campus, is a unique learning environment for emergency care. On top of that, it offers a great platform for researching, developing and training safety-critical emergency response driving (ERD). Xamk’s ambulance simulator combines research, development, innovation (RDI) and teaching of emergency care. Research and development done in Towards Safer Emergency Response Driving I & II –RDI-projects have shown that there are crew-related risks in ERD and a need for development to make ERD safer. Through pilot projects done in Towards Safer Emergency Response Driving I –RDI-project, educational course for safer ERD was developed. Xamk’s ambulance simulator is utilized efficiently during the course. The overall aim of the Xamk ambulance simulator is to help develop ERD safer.

Keywords: ambulance, emergency vehicle, health education, prehospital care, risk factor, safety, social education, training

 

Higher education institutions and the Act on data management in public administration

Kari Kataja, M.Sc. (Eng.), M.A., M.Sc. (Econ.), M.Ed., Information Systems Manager, Data Protection Officer, Chair of the network of DPOs in universities, Häme University of Applied Sciences, kari.kataja(at)hamk.fi
Jaakko Riihimaa, PhD, IT General Secretary, AAPA (Human network of CIOs in Universities of Applied Sciences), jaakko.riihimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi
Walter Rydman, M.A., Coordinator, CSC – IT Center for Science, walter.rydman(at)csc.fi

Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences have had to react vigorously as several laws that have significant impact on data management have recently come into force. The latest law was the act on data management in public administration at the beginning of 2020.

The law has strong incentives for the cooperation between authorities. Required changes can be difficult, so it is helpful to think possible benefits higher education institutions can gain from the new law. At the end of 2019 AAPA (The Network of CIO’s in Finnish UAS’s), FUCIO (CIO-network in universities) and CSC – IT Center for Science explored collaboration ideas together. Based on these results, we will continue to work together in late spring 2020.

Key words: Act on data management, data management, data protection

 

Experiences on the internationalisation of Finnish online marketing businesses 

Marko Mäki, Lic. Econ., Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, marko.maki(at)haaga-helia.fi
Tuija Toivola, D.Sc. (Econ.), R&D Manager, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tuija.toivola(at)haaga-helia.fi 

The aim of this paper is to contribute to the expansion of the eCommerce (eCom) operations of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in Finland to global markets. In addition, one important goal was to acquire knowledge and support participants’ learning of fast growing online and digital business models. The conclusions of this study underlined the importance of effective digital marketing activities including knowledge on online customer journey and capability building for global eCom operations. Additionally, small eCom companies strongly highlighted the importance of learning from each other’s experiences and peer to peer support.  

Key words: eCommerce, digital business models, international business, SMEs

 

Creative Entrepreneurship in the Arctic

(the original article in English)

Anzelika Krastina, MEd., Senior Lecturer, International coordinator, School of Northern Well-being and Services, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Key words: Arctic region, creative entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education

 

Blueprint for a training program on business opportunity recognition in SDGs

(the original article in English)

Minna-Maari Harmaala, D.Sc.(Econ.), Principal Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland; minna-maari.harmaala(at)haaga-helia.fi
Hanna Harilainen, D.Sc.(Econ.), Head of Degree Programme, Principal Lecturer, International Business, Master’s Degree Programme in Supply Chain Management (Sourcing), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland; hanna.harilainen(at)metropolia.fi

Key words: competence-based learning objectives, opportunity recognition, SDGs, sustainable business models

 

More sustainability and responsibility into universities of applied sciences

Kari Laasasenaho, PhD, RDI Specialist, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, kari.laasasenaho(at)seamk.fi
Nina Kokkonen, MM, Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, nina.kokkonen(at)hamk.fi
Sanna Tyni, PhD, Specialist, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, sanna.tyni(at)lapinamk.fi
Petri Lempinen, PhD, Executive Director, The Rectors’ Conference of the Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene ry), petri.lempinen(at)arene.fi

Sustainable development has long been a part of Finnish university of applied sciences, but environmental issues such as climate change have increased the need to support sustainable practices in teaching, supervising and on campus more than before. Higher education institutions are responsible for promoting sustainable development in their own activities and support sustainable thinking of students.

Circular Economy Competence to Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) project (funded by Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture) and The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene have start to discuss about the need to promote sustainable development and circular economy at UAS’s. One of the aim is to update the sustainable development programs of UAS’s. Arene is going to establish a Sustainability and Responsibility group and sustainable development is raised as one of the important theme in the Arene’s 2020 Action Plan. The project and Arene are actively encouraging each UAS to implement concrete actions for sustainable development.

Key words: circular economy, education, research and innovation activities, sustainable development, university of applied sciences

 

Students from SAMK solving challenges in energy efficiency

Teija Järvenpää, B.Sc. (Eng.), Project Researcher, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, teija.jarvenpaa(at)samk.fi
Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola, PhD, Research Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, minna.keinanen-toivola(at)samk.fi

The environmental regulations related to climate change are increasing as well as the requirements for energy efficiency in ports and shipyards. The three-year (2018–2020) SataMari project, funded by ERDF, is searching for practical solutions to improve the energy efficiency of the maritime cluster in Satakunta region. Several students from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences have been involved in the SataMari project. The project team acts as a link between students, teachers and companies. Experiences have been good: students like the work-based learning, companies value impartial assessments and the work done for their development areas. The project gains additional value while students can provide deeper reviews on single subjects which the project team would not have resources to do. The important result of the SataMari project is a decision-making tool that serves as a data bank to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy use in the maritime cluster.

Key words: energy efficiency, energy and environmental engineering, maritime cluster, project, thesis

 

Up with cooperation and collaboration

Mikko Matveinen, Project Manager, M.A. (Arts), Karelia University of Applied Sciences, mikko.matveinen(at)karelia.fi

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Karelia UAS) has been focusing to development of the wood construction sector as strategic choice since 2014. The development work has been done systematically part of the different research and development projects (RDI) under the degree programme of construction engineering.

Already six years later there are concrete results visible including Finland’s tallest wooden apartment building Joensuu Lighthouse. Among other development activities Karelia UAS has been doing research part of the construction process which aims to produce information about building process, building physic and behaviour of structures to be used in other similar buildings. Therefore, Lighthouse also works as a platform for development of the wood construction sector.

Universities has also a key role when tackling the local and global challenges. Taking these drivers in to account when planning the future activities requires strategic choices. Climate change will be one of the key drivers which is affecting to the construction sector in the near future. Therefore, the need for environmentally friendly materials in construction is evident. Article tells about the strategic foresight, commitment and stakeholder cooperation part of the RDI-operations.

 

Core competences in the education of an Advanced Practitioner (Master)

Virpi Sulosaari, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, virpi.sulosaari(at)turkuamk.fi
Minna Elomaa-Krapu, D.H.S., Director, Innovations, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, minna.elomaa-krapu(at)metropolia.fi
Hanna Hopia, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, hanna.hopia(at)jamk.fi
Kirsi Koivunen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, kirsi.koivunen(at)oamk.fi
Rauni Leinonen, PhD (Ed.), M.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, rauni.leinonen(at)kamk.fi
Eeva Liikanen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, eeva.liikanen(at)tuni.fi
Ulla Penttinen, Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa, ulla.penttinen(at)novia.fi
Outi Törmänen, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, outi.tormanen(at)lapinamk.fi
Leena Walta, Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences, leena.walta(at)turkuamk.fi
Johanna Heikkilä, D.H.S., Specialist, Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, johanna.heikkila(at)jamk.fi 

The changes in Finnish health care have led to the development of advanced roles for healthcare professionals. An Advanced Practitioner is a professional who has acquired an expert knowledge base, complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for extended practice which is shaped by the context and/or country in which s/he is practicing (ICN APN/NP network, n.d.). Core competencies and master’s level education must underpin the preparation to the advanced roles. This competence framework is intended to guide the development of advanced practice education in Finland. Thirteen universities of applied sciences have participated in the process of identifying the core competences we all can share. The framework provides a tool in planning AP education and supports collaboration between the universities of applied sciences. The core competencies are: 1) research and service development, 2) patient education and staff development 2) professional leadership, and 4) clinical expertise and direct clinical care.

Key words: advanced practice, advanced practitioner, clinical expertise, master in health care education

 

Sparking innovation in an international bioeconomy community

Anna Aalto, Project Manager, M.Sc. (Econ.), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, anna.aalto(at)jamk.fi
Diana Pitkänen, Specialist, B.A. (Industrial and Product Design), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, diana.pitkanen(at)jamk.fi

Biobord is an open virtual innovation hub for connecting bioeconomy developers that offers tools for managing the project lifecycle, network building and management, interactive online capacity building, matchmaking and connecting with innovation support services. Biobord is developed by JAMK University of Applied Sciences in a partnership of four regions across Baltic Sea, Central Finland, Inland (Norway), Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Poland) and Vidzeme (Latvia).

Biobord is developed in an iterative service design process that has reached the piloting phase. During the piloting phase, we are testing Biobord with different user groups and service cases. With regional and international pilot cases, the partnership is developing and scaling up the platform and its operational model with the feedback and experiences of users. The development and piloting is supported by the ‘Rural RDI Milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems’ – project (RDI2CluB).

Key words: bioeconomy, digital platform, innovation ecosystem, networks, piloting, service design, user-centered design

 

Regional cooperation model for encouraging entrepreneurial competences 

Anneli Manninen, M.Sc. (Tech.), M.Ed., Project Manager, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, anneli.manninen(at)laurea.fi
Petri Graeffe, B.Sc. (Pol.), Managing Director, Uudenmaan Yrittäjät ry (a regional organization of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises), petri.graeffe(at)yrittajat.fi

Laurea University of Applied Science’s pedagogical approach is called Learning by Development (LbD). It means that learning takes place as much as possible in working life context and development projects. However, although living labs deliver all learning through work-related projects, majority of the students might obtain only limited experience of developing with companies. In Radar project, we created a new action model that brings small and medium sized companies in contact with the University of Applied Sciences and its students. The development activities are realized in cooperation with the regional Development Companies and entrepreneurial organizations that operate on company interface and are thus able to identify suitable development needs for thesis and student projects. Thus, students are offered a chance to learn entrepreneurship in practise (Raij 2014). The professionals coaching the enterprises learn in the interaction as well.

 

Stakeholder cooperation and anticipation in Oulu UAS

Sari Ahvenlampi, Quality Manager, M.A., Oulu University of Applied Sciences, sari.ahvenlampi(at)oamk.fi
Ismo Kinnunen, Development Manager, PhD, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, ismo.kinnunen(at)oamk.fi

In the year 2019 we surveyed the anticipation of education at Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oulu UAS). The starting point was exploring how educational departments anticipate future educational needs. We surveyed how department practices anticipation by interviewing our staff and then deepened our perspective with a questionnaire. There are three main ways to anticipate at Oulu UAS:

– participating and monitoring the development of the field of education
– through stakeholder cooperation
– through surveys and analyzes.

In stakeholder cooperation the main anticipation parts are interaction, discussions and meetings with partners which were strongly highlighted in every educational department. The second important area are feedbacks, surveys and researches. The third part of stakeholder cooperation are projects. Stakeholder cooperation is been developed according to partnership agreements which provides companies direct links to Oulu UAS and engage companies into long-term cooperation.

Key words: anticipation of education, development work, field of education, stakeholder cooperation

 

Strengthening clients’ skills towards the world of work

Helena Kangastie, M.H.S., Specialist (RDI and Learning), Lapland University of Applied Sciences, helena.kangastie(at)lapinamk.fi
Jonna Löf, M.Ed., Guidance Counsellor, Senior Advisor, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, jonna.lof(at)lapinamk.fi

Lapland has a common strategy for information, counselling and guidance (ICG) that defines common activities in the Lapland region. The strategy is committed to providing customers with low-threshold ICG services expertly and with partnership in a professional and collaborative manner. In addition, we support our clients the make choices for their individual career paths and to strengthen their skills.

The universities of Lapland have been actively developing guidance for years.  This article describes in a general way the development of the ICG work and, in particular, the improvement of the strength-based future guidance in the Lapland UAS. At the moment, we are implementing the project VAHTO – Developing Strength Based Future Guidance. The aim of the project is to enhance the career planning of university students in order to support their transition to the world of work and to develop practices and methods that promote the identification of their individual strengths.

Key words: future and strength baced counselling, university of applied sciences, world of work

Is Finland a land of thousands of forgotten projects? 

Katri Halonen,  Dr.Soc.Sc., Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer in Culture Production, Project Manager in Osuma – osallistamalla osaamista coordination project, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, katri.halonen(at)metropolia.fi

During the past six years, almost 500 European Social Fund funded projects have been managed by universities of applied sciences. Thousands of expert working hours have been allocated to implement innovative development processes in the society. This article asks what happens when the project ends. It suggests a four-step method for effective valorization running from project planning to implementation and the life of the project after the funding has ended. The four-step results valorization method emphasizes communication, variating actions with different actors, mainstreaming the results to practitioners and knowledge ecosystem and consolidating the findings to strategies of existing infrastructures.

Key words: European funding, project, valorization

Call for papers: UAS Journal 2/2020, Universities of applied sciences promoting ecological sustainability

We invite education planners, teachers, specialists, researchers and developers to contribute to UAS Journal issue 2/2020. The theme of the issue is Universities of applied sciences promoting ecological sustainability.

Sustainable development was first defined in the Brundtland commission in the United Nations, in 1987. From that point a process started, which has proceeded both internationally and nationally, as well as in governmental and other sectors in the society.

In Finland, sustainable development has been promoted since 1993, when the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development was established, as the first such commission in the world. The commission involves a large group of societal actors in addition to the government. The first task of the national commission was to define sustainable development as a continuing, organised societal change happening globally, regionally and locally, the goal of which is to secure good life for current and future generations. This also means that the environment, human and economy will equally be taken into account in decision-making and actions (Ministry of the Environment, https://www.ym.fi/en-US/The_environment/Sustainable_development).

Finland is committed to Agenda2030 that was accepted in the UN summit for sustainable development in 2015. Agenda2030 consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, many of which concern ecological sustainability, especially goals 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, 13: Climate Action, 14: Life below Water, and 15: Life on Land.

Universities of applied sciences can promote ecological sustainability through various practical measures such as education, projects, and collaboration with actors in the world of work. Various ways of promoting sustainability may also be intertwined, and the scales of promoting ecological sustainability may vary from global to very local.

Article proposals for this themed issue may concern e.g. solutions in teaching the natural scientific basis or applications (e.g. circular or green economy) of ecological sustainability, various projects in monitoring or improving the state of the environment, or developing the sustainability of the acts of the university. In addition to successful projects, we are interested in unsuccessful experiments, through which everyone of us has the opportunity learn a lot.

The maximum length of a specialist article is 10,000 characters, a review 4,000 characters and less formally structured texts about 3,000 characters (incl. spaces). Detailed instructions for authors can be found on  uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers

The editors of the themed issue are Eveliina Asikainen/TAMK and Tove Holm/City of Turku.

Eveliina works as a lecturer in Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), and one of her duties there is to promote sustainable development there. She has worked in positions related to environmental education and promoting sustainable development in various educational institutes for twenty years.  She is a biologist, with doctoral degree in 2014. She has been largely involved in forest economy, circular economy, urban planning and participation.

Tove worked with topics of quality, environmental management and promoting sustainable development in a university of applied sciences for 15 years, and thereafter, for three years as an education manager in a unit of sustainable development and management in an adult education institution. For the past couple of years she has been working in the Baltic Sea Challenge in Helsinki and Turku, aiming to engage towns, cities, municipalities and organisations in committing to the Baltic Sea protection  The Baltic Sea Challenge has grown into an international network with over 300 actors around the Baltic Sea region, including universities of applied sciences. Tove has a doctoral degree in environmental science in the University of Turku in 2014. Her research is cross-disciplinary: enabling change, and especial promoting sustainable development in education, in universities of applied sciences, with the use of quality assurance.

  • Send your article proposal by e-mail to eveliina.asikainen(at)tuni.fi during week 14 (beginning of April).
  • Feedback will be sent to the responsible author in week 16.
  • Send your final version in week 18 (beginning of May).
  • The themed issue will be published in week 20.

Call for papers: UAS Journal 4/2020, Using data from work-related studies

We invite education planners, teachers, specialists, researchers and developers to contribute to UAS Journal issue 4/2020. The theme of the issue is using data from work-related studies in teaching, education planning and education systems development.

Universities of applied sciences have a great deal of information about careers and employment, which they obtain from various stakeholders, employment networks and the universities of applied sciences’ own career monitoring and other feedback surveys.

This information is not, however, used to the full in teaching, education planning or national school systems development. Analysing and using career and employment data in a greater variety of ways would benefit both education organisers, teachers and students, as well as employment and public operators.

Subject of the call for papers

We are interested in how the results of national career monitoring surveys conducted by universities of applied sciences are used and implemented, but articles may also be based on other reviews concerning the impact of higher education, alumni employment and career paths or labour market development.

The articles may be related to the following subjects or questions:

  • What kind of work-related data are UASs using? What kind of data is still needed?
  • What kind of data is used systematically, and how is it used? What kind of data should definitely receive more attention than it currently does?
  • Can/should work-related studies be viewed critically? What does this mean in practice?
  • Work-related studies in proactive education and management development work
  • Work-related studies as a tool for pedagogical development
  • Employment quality and measuring this
  • Access to work-related studies by different UAS user groups.
  • Work-related studies in assessing and developing educational quality and impact
  • The principle of continuing education and using information from work-related studies.

Proposed articles based on research or investigational work take priority, but disseminating comprehensive and multifaceted work-related studies and cases from practice are also of interest, especially because nationwide career monitoring surveys have only been conducted twice.

Schedule and practical guidelines

  • Send your article proposal to uraseurannat(at)turkuamk.fi by Sept. 15, 2020.
  • Feedback on the articles will be sent to the responsible author by Oct. 15, 2020.
  • Send your final version of the article by Oct. 31, 2020.
  • The themed issue will be published during the week 50.

The maximum length of a specialist article is 10,000 characters, a review 4,000 characters and less formally structured texts about 3,000 characters (incl. spaces). Detailed instructions for authors can be found on  uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers

The editors of the themed issue are Liisa Marttila/TAMK, Jaana Kullaslahti/HAMK, Anne Rouhelo/ Turku AMK, Arja Räinä-Räsänen/Oamk, Taina Kilpinen/Laurea and Tina Lauronen/ Education and Training Research Foundation, ESR project, From UAS to Career – Career Data for All.

 

Call for papers: UAS Journal 1/2020, Current topics

AMK-lehti / UAS Journal issue 1/2020 is themed with current topics and the diverse functions and different roles of universities of applied sciences in cooperation with companies, as well as in research and development activities.

How do universities of applied sciences develop their cooperation services to promote cooperation with companies and the world of work? How can R&D activities help create permanent service and cooperation models to support communities, and support teaching facilities?

In this themed issue we want to bring forward varied current topics in higher education, such as developing higher education pedagogy and career guidance, cooperation with the world of work, developing services, and possibilities in R&D and work-based learning.

We are also looking for concrete examples of cooperation between universities of applied sciences and the world of work, as well as sustainability and effective results in R&D.

We wish to receive article manuscripts both from universities of applied sciences and other organisations. In addition to articles, we welcome reviews and summaries concerning research, development and innovations in universities of applied sciences, as well as news and literary reviews in the field. You may also submit audiovisual content.

The maximum length of the article is 10.000, a review 4,000 and other categories approximately 3,000 characters (spaces included). Instructions for writers can be found in uasjournal.fi/in-english/instructions-for-writers. Please read them carefully before submitting your text.

Guest editor:
Johanna Wartio, Lecturer, Project Manager, M.A.

  • Send your article proposal to the guest editor at johanna.wartio (at) metropolia.fi during the week 4 (by January 24, 2020).
  • Feedback will be sent to the responsible author during the week 7.
  • Send your final version during the week 9.
  • The themed issue will be published during the week 12.

Please share this call for papers!

Kind regards

Guest editor Johanna Wartio
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Schedule updated Feb 11, 2020.

CampusOnline.fi – The National Portal for Online Studies in the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – some results

Author: Minna Scheinin.

This article focuses on the changes in the learning environments and how the higher education institutions have reacted to digitalization. We discuss some of the results of the eAMK project (www.eamk.fi/en), which has been conducted in Finland in cooperation with 23 universities of applied sciences.

The rationale for changing the educational models in higher education comes from the surrounding world and the global drivers for change. It is widely discussed that the education system cannot remain the same. For example, the concept of Education 4.0. relies on the industrial change and the concept of Economy 4.0., where the virtual world and the reality are blended and which is described as an era of creating innovative knowledge (Puncreobutr, 2016, p. 93). According to The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2016), learning to learn and flexibility are the key competences in the future work. Education should train students to manage in a world, where they continuously need to adapt to new working methods, new technologies and new business models (Konst et al. 2018).

Education 4.0. caters to the needs of the society in ‘innovative era’. Learning management has an important role to help the learner to grow with knowledge, skills and attitude for the life ahead. Models for such skills are many. Based on a long-term development work the Fincoda model includes such skills as creativity, critical thinking, initiative teamwork and networking (Keinänen et al. 2019, p.21) Education 4.0. also has features, such as flexible delivery, anywhere anytime, student ownership, personal, peers and mentors (Fisk 2017) and it predicts the end of the predominance of the lecture (Feldman 2018). Finally, the buzz trend of digitalization is radically remodeling the educational design.

One of the main trends in all educational sectors is to transfer the teaching online. This can cater to the need for education to remodel both education and the innovative society. However, a lot of pedagogical work has to be done in order to wisely support learning and to exploit digitalization to its full potential. Firstly, it is not always clear what we mean by online learning. The crucial points are, for example, whether online learning means that the learning takes place only online or if there are also face-to-face meetings with the learning group. Does it mean that the learning process is independent or tutored and are there online meetings, which are preset for a certain timeslot or not? Or, is the learning totally independent without any interaction between the peers or the teacher (Joshi 2018). In CampusOnline, the prerequisite is that the students are able to carry on the studies 100 percent online. Other attributes can vary. Secondly, how are we able to support the development of such future work skills, which we know little about today? The methods used must support the learning of the skills described above.

The national online study portal CampusOnline.fi – getting there

In Finland, we have foreseen the change in the digitalized education and have developed a national portal for all Finnish universities of applied sciences (UASs). The UASs can offer their online courses on the year-round basis for all students. This has been developed within the framework of the eAMK project. A lot of background work was executed in order to reach the final results. A mapping was carried out as how the UASs would profit from specialising in some areas while at the same time some basic courses need to be offered by several universities for the need of a vast amount of students (Kosonen, R., & Sjöholm, T. 2018).

Digitalization is one of the social drivers to change the practices in education. When transferring teaching online, the teachers have to adapt the teaching practices bearing in mind that the next generation is constantly in multimodal social environments (Konst et al. 2018, p 4.). A scanning was made about the teachers’ work and a possible change in the teacher work load when the teaching is transferred online in the summer semester (Scheinin, M. 2017). The main result was that there were no major challenges in the workload online, neither did the summer semester disrupt the teachers’ holiday period. We also studied the students’ expectations about the prerequisites of an online course, which would support deep learning. Such qualities are a clear design of the course, the course content to be relevant to learning and challenge the student and the learning process must be socially active (Forss 2017). The master’s degree students reported that they would need more non-stop courses, where students can hop on and off according to their own timetable. Additionally, these students expressed that the courses must meet the quality criteria and the content must be relevant to the working life context. (Böckelman et al. 2018). The Quality criteria for online learning were also developed in order to support the teachers in designing good quality online courses (Varonen et al. 2018, eAMK 2017).

CampusOnline.fi is launched

The main aim of the project was to develop the portal for the year-round online offering of all universities of applied sciences in Finland. This aim was reached in the autumn of 2018 as the portal CampusOnline.fi (www.campusonline.fi) was launched. The experience gained and feedback gathered from the pilot version of the summer semester portal (summers 2016, 2017 and 2018) was of valuable help when designing the portal. The CampusOnline.fi was extended in autumn 2018. The spring term of 2019 offered 380 courses and the summer term of 2019 altogether 600 courses.

The portal was designed to be user-friendly and easy to use. The student can search for studies for example according to the field or level of study, the language of instruction, semester or the university offering the course. The student can then scroll the list of courses and make acquaintance with the short description of each course. When he/she chooses to enroll to the course, he/she is directed to the enrollment system of the offering institution. This means that the main function of the Campusonline.fi -portal is to bring the visibility of all online courses to one site, where the student can learn what is offered and when. This design alone has demanded a lot of work and cooperative will to serve the students in the best possible way in their search for online studies.

Cross-institutional studies and information management – challenges to be solved

The main focus in CampusOnline.fi has been to develop a user-friendly portal for showing the online studies of UASs in Finland In CampusOnline.fi. However, the cross-institutional studies have been recognized as a national technology challenge. A lot of work is being done to find technical solutions. This is coordinated by another national project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The information and student management challenges still remain to be solved. These are, for example, access permission issues, the student enrollments as well as the credits transfer system. As we expect the volume of the studies to increase in the future, the present solutions will not be sufficient. In the framework of another project, the aim is to develop the technical infrastructure and the interoperability of the different interfaces and platforms. This would enable automated information and student management process between the institutions. The vision is that, in the future, students can enroll to and access the cross-institutional courses as well as get the credits transferred to the home institution by automated processes between the institutions.

What has changed?

Every project should be able to answer the question: what is the impact of the project? According to the statistics and student feedback from summer 2018 and autumn 2018 the change is evident. In the summer of 2018, 529 courses were offered nationally and over 55 000 credits were gained through cross-institutional studies. As for autumn 2018, the students were mainly very happy about the usability of the portal as well as the study offering. The reasons to select studies from other universities of applied sciences are many: students want to choose courses that are not available in their home university. Online courses also enable studies for those who are in the working life and not able to attend lectures. Also family commitments may be difficult to combine with studies and students report that online studies are then the only possibility to carry on studies. The cross-institutional studies have also made it possible to learn about the studies of other universities and to study in multidisciplinary groups.

To conclude, the national online course offering has so far had a recognised impact on the possibility for the students to choose studies from all universities of applied sciences. The students also report that online studies have enabled them to flexibly gain missing credits for the graduation. Flexible studies are one focus area in the vision roadmap of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Therefore we think that by enlarging the study offerings also more widely for the working life as well as ensuring the good quality of the courses we work in line with the expectations for flexible studies and lifelong learning.

Author

Minna Scheinin, Lic. Phil., MA(ODE), Head of Future Learning Design, Turku University of Applied Sciences, minna.scheinin(at)tuas.fi


Böckelman, T., Forsell, M., Komonen, K., Paaso, L., Tuomi, S., & Pilli-Sihvola, M. 2018. Kysely YAMK-opiskelijoille ja -alumneille verkko-opinnoista. Blog.  https://www.eamk.fi/fi/digipolytys/kysely-yamk-opiskelijoille-ja–alumneille-verkko-opinnoista. Retrieved 5 January 2019.

EAMK. 2017. Quality criteria for Online Implementations. https://www.eamk.fi/en/courses-offering/quality-criteria. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

Feldman, P. 2018. The potential of Education 4.0 is huge – the UK must take the lead, now. https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/the-potential-of-education-4-is-huge-the-uk-must-take-the-lead-now-12-sep-2018. Retrieved 6 March 2019.

Fisk, P. 2017. http://www.thegeniusworks.com/2017/01/future-education-young-everyone-taught-together. Retrieved 5 March 2019.

Forss, M. 2017. 5 saker studenter behöver i digitala kurser. Blog.  https://www.eamk.fi/fi/digipolytys/5-saker. Retrieved 5 January 2019.

Joshi, M. 2018. Verkkotutkintojen termiviidakossa – Riippumatonta opiskelua riippumatossa? Blog. https://www.eamk.fi/fi/digipolytys/verkkotutkintojen-termiviidakossa—riippumatonta-opiskelua-riippumatossanew-page. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

Keinänen, M. & Kairisto-Mertanen, L. 2109. Reseaching learning environments and students’ innovation competences. Education + Training, Vol. 61 Issue 1, pp. 17-30., https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-03-2018-0064. Retrieved 12 Feb 2019.

Konst, T. & Scheinin, M. 2018. “The changing world has implications on the higher education and the teaching profession”, On the Horizon, 26: 1, 1-8.

Kosonen, R. & Sjöholm, T. 2018. Miten eri ammattikorkeakoulut voisivat profiloitua verkko-opetuksessa? Blog.  https://www.eamk.fi/fi/digipolytys/miten-eri-ammattikorkeakoulut-voisivat-profiloitua-verkko-opetuksessa. Retrieved 5 March 2019.

OECD Forum. 2016. Paris May 31st-June 1st, available at: www.oecd.org/forum/home. Retrieved 12 June 2016.

Puncreobutr, V. 2016. Education 4.0: New Challenge of Learning. St. Teresa Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2: 2. http://www.stic.ac.th/ojs/index.php/sjhs/article/view/Position%20Paper3. Retrieved 6 January 2019.

Scheinin, M. 2017. Towards year-around studies. Blog. https://www.eamk.fi/fi/digipolytys/towards-year-around-studies. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

Varonen M. & Tyrväinen P. 2018. eAMK Quality Criteria for Online Implementations. Blended and Online Learning: “Changing the Educational Landscape”, Overview of papers on Higher Education for the Future as presented during the Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference in Aarhus, October 2018. https://conference.eadtu.eu/previous-conferences. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

Abstracts 2/2019

It’s time to work together

Tapio Varmola, President, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Chairman, The Rectors Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences (ARENE)

Digitalisation is bringing many changes to the way that higher education institutions operate. It impacts both research and innovation activities, and raises the need for many changes in both teaching and support services.

In the UK, a dream was born in the 1970s to build an Open University. Thanks to technological developments, the principal idea behind this – higher education teaching that is independent of time and place – can now be made a reality. Many higher education institutions in Finland are now pondering this idea as they work on reshaping their strategies.

Finland has 23 universities of applied sciences and 13 universities. By bringing together the strengths and expertise of all of these, Finland could become a model country for flexible study, a forerunner in modern higher education studies.

This requires new kinds of cooperation between higher education institutions, to which their boards, teachers, and key data management personnel and partners must be committed. Here are a few examples:

Student mobility and cooperation in higher education require compatible processes and perhaps also shared platforms. New digital operating models are needed in study administration in order to promote student mobility. Higher education collaboration in online teaching and pedagogical development should be encouraged in every way possible, and teachers should be rewarded for it. There is also a need to study the effectiveness of digital teaching.

In Finland there are many national data resources for teaching which should be put to use and further developed for the benefit of students. This could also generate a unique competitive advantage at the international level.

The current state of affairs is a fragmented one: we currently have in use around 150 different teaching and study administration data systems and applications. Through long-term collaboration, we can at least get from fragments to building blocks, and then gradually put these blocks together.

New expectations are being placed on higher education institutions in the area of continuing education. This creates both challenges and opportunities for teaching. The competencies of adults in the workplace are at varying levels, but at least some of them are already acting in a digital, global operating environment. How do we respond to this demand?

Higher education institutions have had a wide variety of experiences with national collaboration projects relating to teaching or study administration. They do not always leave people hungry for more. But let’s not indulge those that gripe about the past. We must shape for the coming decade a new digital vision for joint learning, implement it ambitiously, and value the experiences of working together which we already have.

 

AAPA and FUCIO: Collaboration of universities in digitalization for decades

Jaakko Riihimaa, IT General Secretary, AAPA (Human network of CIOs in Universities of Applied Sciences), jaakko.riihimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi
Teemu Seesto, IT General Secretary, FUCIO (Human network of CIOs in Universities), teemu.seesto(at)utu.fi

In Finland both universities and UASes (Universities of Applied Sciences) have a human network of CIOs (chief information officers). Although all universities compete with each other, these networks cooperate closely with each other and share knowledge. In both networks there is a ”stooge”, an IT General Secretary working full time. Common expert groups in the fields such as cyber security, privacy issues, enterprise architecture, contract management as well as identity management, work efficiently within that framework. A wide variety of data is also collected and the results are shared annually.

Key words: CIO (chief information officer), knowledge sharing, co-operative networks, digitalization

 

The new role of IT in digitalization

Anssi Hietaharju, M.Sc. (Admin.), Advisor, Sofigate Oy, anssi.hietaharju(at)sofigate.com
Mari Nyrhinen, D.Ed., ICT Manager, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, mari.nyrhinen(at)diak.fi

Digitalization has created a wave of change in many industries. Organizations now invest increasingly on digitalization in pursuit of innovations, increased effectiveness and modern customer experiences.

As new information technologies infiltrate to a variety of activities the organization is engaged with, it generates a risk that digital development becomes fragmented and every digital service composes an independent entity. Therefore, it is crucial that the IT functions and core functions in the organization work in close cooperation to ensure that the services in the organization produce the highest possible added value for both its internal and external customers.

This article presents the mindset of the Business Technology standard (BT standard) that was published by the Business Technology Forum in January 2019. BT standard offers a strategy, including a set of best practices, tools and structures, for organizing and coordinating technology management as whole across the entire organization. Moreover, this article shows how technologies in BT standard have been categorized in different technology areas.

In addition to the point of views of the BT standard, the article provides some tips on how to get started in building a BT mindset in your own organization.

Key words: Business Technology standard, digitalization, information technologies

 

Framework for Digitally-Competent Educational Organisations: DigCompOrg

Kari Helenius, M.Sc. (Tech.), CIO, Häme University of Applied Sciences, kari.helenius(at)hamk.fi
Lotta Linko, M.A., Quality Manager, Häme University of Applied Sciences, lotta.linko(at)hamk.fi
Henna Pirttilä, M.A., Development Manager, Häme University of Applied Sciences, henna.pirttila(at)hamk.fi

New technologies are changing education at organisational and pedagogical level. New digital competencies are required from students, staff and support functions. This article discusses how DigCompOrg (Kampylis, Punie & Devine 2015) has been utilised at three different levels at HAMK: to promote strategic development, structure enterprise architecture and organise team work.
DigCompOrg is a European framework for the digital competence of an educational organisation. It covers leadership and governance, teaching and learning, professional development, assessment, content and curricula, collaboration and networking, and infrastructure.

At strategic level DigCompOrg provides a frame for developing the core competences of HAMK’s (Häme University of Applied Sciences) ICT: facilitating digitalisation, information management and automation, data-driven decision-making and agile service development. Embedded in enterprise architecture, DigCompOrg reveals the interdependencies between development projects that affect skills, processes, data, information systems, technologies and digital infrastructure. HAMK’s learning development team have structured their operational roadmap, action plan, targets and tasks in accordance with DigCompOrg.

A shared framework ensures parallel activity at strategic, tactic and operational level.

Key words: digital competencies, enterprise architecture, action plan, digitalization, development

 

A common path towards the future – The Lapland University Consortium’s shared CIO Office and ICT Services

Manu Pajuluoma, M.A., CIO, University of Lapland & Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Manu.Pajuluoma(at)ulapland.fi
Markku Taipale, M.A., CIO, University of Lapland & Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Markku.Taipale(at)lapinamk.fi

Lapland has over ten years of successful contract-based cooperation in providing ICT services for higher education institutions.

The introduction of the Lapland University Consortium’s shared CIO Office and ICT Services at the beginning of 2019 marks the next major step forward in the consortium’s strategic development efforts. In connection with the reorganization, sixteen employees of the Lapland UAS made a transition to the new Group CIO Office and ICT Services organization operating at the University of Lapland.

The organizational change process was co-designed with the employees involved in the change. During the initial stages of the development work, descriptions of the current state of the operations were produced and the vision of the Group CIO Office and ICT Services was outlined. The results of audits and evaluations carried out in our work community were utilized in the process. Based on the initial investigations, working groups of experts were set to develop the organizational structure and to define the core tasks, roles and responsibilities.

The activities of the Group CIO Office and ICT Services of the Universities are based on shared policies and services. Development is guided by a common enterprise architecture, common information security policies and a shared customer care model.

Key words: Information management, ICT Services, change management, collaboration, joint planning, University Consortium

Karelia is led by information

Mikko Penttinen, Quality Coordinator, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, mikko.penttinen(at)karelia.fi
Lauri Hänninen, ICT-planning Officer, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, lauri.hanninen(at)karelia.fi

Changes in the higher education funding model and the reductions of funding have resulted in the need for systematic monitoring and anticipation of higher education operations and economy. A large amount of real-time data is available in many different systems and the challenge has been the management of this amount of data and the use of the information as a support for the management in decision-making. Based on this need, Karelia University of Applied Sciences started to develop a knowledge management tool, Karelia-Vipunen. The success of the development work was based on cooperation between IT and other units at the higher education institution. This article describes the development history of Karelia-Vipunen as well as the use of its data in the monitoring of operations and economy.

Key words: Karelia University of Applied Sciences, knowledge management, data administration, Karelia-Vipunen, cooperation

IT benchmarking for better knowledge management

Tuomo Rintamäki, M.Pol.Sc., M.Sc. (Econ.), CIO, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, tuomo.rintamaki(at)metropolia.fi
Juha Venho, M. Eng., CIO, Turku University of Applied Sciences, juha.venho(at)turkuamk.fi
Teemu Seesto, IT General Secretary, FUCIO (Human network of CIOs in Universities), teemu.seesto(at)utu.fi

How digitalization in universities of applied sciences (UAS) correlates with their spending on IT resources?
How much are we spending on IT? How does our spending on IT compare with other UASs?
If we know the structure of our IT costs can we improve the impact of IT on core functions?

Most Finnish UAS are participating in BenchHEIT survey (BM) with the aim to find answers to these questions and to be able to provide recommendations to UAS management to improve the impact of IT resources.

BM is a survey on IT costs and volumes of higher education institutes. Its participation is voluntary and free of charge. The survey has been invented and is being developed and managed as a EUNIS Task Force.

From the BM analysis we can find out that IT costs in relation to student FTE have decreased about 7% during the last five years. During 2013–2017 the share of IT expenditure out of total expenditures of the Finnish UASes has remained fairly stable, about 6.5% . According to these figures there has not been heavy inputs on digitalization. On the other hand, the space allocated to IT classrooms have decreased 38%.

In the BM analysis it is possible to pick up other universities and put them in comparison by all indicators. E.g. the top management of Turku UAS prefers to be compared with other big Finnish UASes. Regular, annual participation in BM survey makes it possible to draw time series and to find out core development trends. IT chiefs of Finnish UAS have introduced permanent process to improve the reliability of BM data and thus improve its value in comparison.

Key words: Benchmarking, IT-costs, digitalization

 

Project portfolio management enables data management

Outi Pelkonen, BBA, Planner, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Johanna Krappe, M.A., Head of Research, Development and Innovation Services, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Juha Venho, Master of Engineering, CIO, Turku University of Applied Sciences

In the year 2014, TUAS faced severe problems in project portfolio management. The portfolio and project management system did not support the processes nor the information management. TUAS decided to start a digitalization project where the project processes would be developed and a new project portfolio management system would be purchased. The aim was to enhance portfolio management, streamline the processes and decrease the number of systems and Excel files in use. After extensive internal planning and requirement phase and a short deployment phase, the TEPPO system was implemented on the 1st of June 2017. Roll-out was made progressively in line with the changes in processes and different functionalities were taken into use monthly during the first half a year. There have been over 400 monthly users, which means more emphasis needs to be given to the training and instruction. Trainings will be organized continuously for new and advanced users in order to ensure the adoption of the new system and procedures. A crucial prerequisite for success in these kind of changes is the clear support and commitment of the management board. Evaluation of the implementation shows that other critical factors are communication and engaging a wide range of the users in the planning phase. TEPPO is now a permanent part of TUAS’ continuous development cycle.

Key words: Project portfolio management, RDI-projects, Digitalization, Information systems

 

Using data – perspectives on data management in University of Applied Sciences

Seliina Päällysaho, PhD, M.Sc. (Econ.), Research Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, seliina.paallysaho(at)seamk.fi
Jaana Latvanen, M.Soc.Sc., Information Specialist, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, jaana.latvanen(at)seamk.fi

The questions relating to the data management have arisen to a significant role in R&D work, public administration as well as in business. The collected data can be used to create new ideas but also provide the companies a good opportunity to develop their business and new products. The most common datasets in research, development and innovation projects of the universities of applied sciences are often collected by inquiries and interviews. The data management is very complex. The processes of storing and opening the data sets are still undeveloped and need to be improved.

This article represents the handling of the data which is created in the Finnish UAS (Universities of Applied Sciences) and brings out the special characteristics of the data management especially of the projects which are carried out in the company cooperation.

Key words: open R&D, open science, universities of applied sciences

 

Let’s learn in digicampus – meaning Where?

Matti Sarén, PhD, eMBA, President/CEO, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, matti.saren(at)kamk.fi
Jaakko Riihimaa, PhD, IT General Secretary, AAPA (Human network of CIOs in Universities of Applied Science), jaakko.riihimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi
Jukka Ivonen, B.A., CIO, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, jukka.ivonen(at)haaga-helia.fi
Petri Silmälä, M.A., Coordinator, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, petri.silmala(at)metropolia.fi
Sonja Merisalo, MScEng, UX Designer/Trimico Oy, sonja.merisalo(at)trimico.fi

Wake up to the future world, where a helpful kyborg is a housemaid and instead of mom there is an eMommy reminding you to go to the next lecture. To be precise, the lecture has changed to a global module which is held in a hologram space online. Actually, the whole concept of education has evolved: professional qualification has compartmented to a portfolio of know-how. AI takes care of the routine and technical issues. In learning, person´s self-direction is still important. Digitalization has changed the traditional educational structure: a resource-driven individual´s knowledge path is the way to learn. VR enables different kind of simulations and AR makes it easy to learn e.g. human anatomy. The best learning environment depends on the student, demands of the educational institute and features of the subject and the course. New technologies bring machine learning and AI algorithms to student guidance. Teacher is more of a “with learner” or “with supervisor” supported by technology.

Key words: learning, digital campus, virtual reality, learning environment, know-how, pedagogy, information management

 

IT management, digitalization and pedagogy

Tore Ståhl, M.Ed., Educational Researcher, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, tore.stahl(at)arcada.fi

End-users often think of IT management as distributing gadgets and maintaining network connections. The most crucial management, however, happens in the background in terms of data and user management.

Digitalization is the buzzword of this century, although it is often unclear what it includes, and what we want to achieve through digitalization. Within higher education, digitalization should be student and learning oriented.

Higher education pedagogy and learning is characterized by an increasing portion of activities on-line, which decreases or at least alters several aspects of communication, such as the lack of visual cues. Partly due to this, learning analytics has become interesting since it can provide us with cues regarding student behaviour.

Digitalization, on-line learning and learning analytics are connected by their dependence on the user identification provided by the IT management. Although IT infrastructure is a prerequisite for digitalization, it should be subordinate in relation to learning and pedagogy.

Vilken är IT-förvaltningens roll då högskolorna digitaliseras? Denna artikel är avsedd att ge den vanliga användaren en förståelse för IT-förvaltningens roll i högskolan generellt, och att presentera några reflektioner runt digitalisering, pedagogik och lärande (oppiminen). Reflektionerna härrör ur flera perspektiv, dvs. mina 10 år som ”adb-ansvarig”, 14 år som nätpedagogisk utvecklare och en 4 års sejour som IT-chef.

Key words: information management, user management, learning, digitalization, learning analytics

 

The co-operation between an academic library and IT services in producing digital services

Minna Kivinen, M.A., Information Systems Specialist, Häme University of Applied Sciences, minna.kivinen(at)hamk.fi
Sinikka Luokkanen, M.A., Information Services Manager, Häme University of Applied Sciences, sinikka.luokkanen(at)hamk.fi

Diversification of studying styles and an increase in commercial higher education form an additional challenge for university libraries when providing services and materials. In the case of printed materials, it is easy for the library to serve all customer groups, but there are challenges in the field of digital services and the supply of electronic material. Libraries acquire licensed e-materials both via FinELib consortium and by themselves. Contracts are made for each individual organization and costs depend on the volume of users. Access to e-materials stem from network settings; users who have rights for using e-materials should be able to connect to materials on campus as well as off-campus. Mobile and digital services are designed to serve university’s own students and staff. Finnish university libraries are open to the public and library staff must be aware of which services can be offered to different customer groups. Library staff have ongoing dialogue with university’s IT services to maintain library services and to find solutions to overcome technical barriers.

Key words: academic libraries, licensing, user groups, digital services

 

Information managers in co-operation

Marjo Valjakka, MBA (eServices and Digital Archiving), Planner, Data Management, Data Protection Officer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, marjo.valjakka(at)laurea.fi

Information management is a legislated obligation for the universities of applied sciences but also an essential part of digital processes, securing the operations and management of reputation. Still problems in information management can be found in all the universities of applied sciences.

IT department has traditionally taken care of technical requirements of data management whereas the content and quality of information has been the responsibility area of records management professionals. The digital world needs, however, more cooperation between these two units as well as between the whole personnel. Every employee has to understand their role in handling the data.

Due to the requirements of legislation and digitalization, it seems that the time is now right for the concrete development of information management internally but also between the universities of applied sciences. One example of cooperation are CSC’s five idea paths concerning digital record management methods and digital archiving.

Every development project requires resources. That is why it is essential that the administration is committed for the development procedures and that the employees can see their benefits for themselves. Collaborative working methods, strategy based operational models as well as consistent training are the means to achieve high-quality managed information management and genuinely digital service processes in all the universities of applied sciences.

Key words: information management, record management, co-operation between UASes

 

Possibilities of utilizing artificial intelligence in customer service operations of service organizations

Sebastian Fagerström, MBA, Head of Sales, SME, Finland, If Insurance, sebastian.fagerstrom(at)gmail.com
Keijo Varis, D.Sc. (Business Administration and Economics: Management and Leadership), Principal Lecturer, School of Leadership, Master School of Engineering and Business, Turku University of Applied Sciences, keijo.varis(at)turkuamk.fi

This article discusses the possibilities of utilizing artificial intelligence in customer service activities in the service sector, especially in the insurance sector. To sum up, by utilizing correctly, artificial intelligence enables the development of customer service functions, both in terms of cost efficiency and quality of services. From the point of view of both the customer and the service organization, the combination of artificial intelligence applications and services provided by people is best suited to a customer-oriented and cost-effective service organizations. Artificial intelligence applications can automate simple and routine customer service situations and tasks, leaving more time for customer service personnel to handle situations and tasks that require emotional intelligence and extensive understanding and profound knowledge. As a whole, the service speeds up and the quality improves. However, the exploitation of artificial intelligence in the service sector of customer service organizations requires the creation of a comprehensive artificial intelligence strategy and its coordination with the service organization’s competition strategy, customer service strategy and IT strategy.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence, customer service, artificial intelligence strategy, learning systems

 

PEPPI – Digital Service Environment for Higher Education Institution management

Virve Peltoniemi, MBA, ICT Manager, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, virve.peltoniemi(at)tuni.fi

Peppi-ecosystem has expanded into the most significant ERP Service for Higher Education Institution (HEI) management. Peppi provides role-specific desktops and e-services for students, teachers, planners, higher education services and administrators.

Peppi offers interfaces for integration and there are also many plugins made by universities or commercial operator. Universities can acquire these plugins from the owner (HEI) or commercial operator.

Vision for Higher Education and research in Finland 2030 also set the sights on the Digital Service Environment consisting of digital services by HEI’s themselves and also shared digital services. How Peppi supports all this digital transformation?

Firstly, Peppi development model was improved in 2018. Six thematic groups of HEI-specialists drive forward system and service development. Secondly, service for Cross-Institutional Studies development project has started. Thirdly also accessibility testing of Student Desktop in on the way in 2019. In addition to all that new digital Peppi-service for the Management of Further Education, Extension Studies and studies in the Open University of Applied Sciences (UAS) has been released. As well there are some interesting Learning Analytics and Recognition of Prior Learning services in progress.

Key words: ERP Service, Peppi-ecosystem, digital service environment

 

The digitalisation of higher education institutions increasingly relies on a fast and reliable network

Harri Kuusisto, Funet Development Manager, CSC – IT Center for Science, harri.kuusisto(at)csc.fi
Maria Virkkula, Communications Specialist, CSC – IT Center for Science, maria.virkkula(at)csc.fi
Matti Laipio, Development Manager, CSC – IT Center for Science, matti.laipio(at)csc.fi

Can you imagine life without the internet? The university and research network serves as a backbone of everyday lives of students.

Functioning network connections facilitate smooth web surfing for students in a fast and reliable campus network. In today’s world, the day-to-day work of higher education institutions would practically come to a grinding halt without functioning network. Throughout its history Funet, higher education institutions’ common network, has aimed at breaking boundaries and records. It opened the door to the global internet for Finland 30 years ago. Since then, the network has been updated regularly. In the planning of the current update of the network, the aim has been to find a solution for the all future needs of students and personnel of higher education institutions.

Key words: internet, Funet, data communications, success story

Data protection was enhanced by training

Matti Kuosmanen, Lic.Phil., Data Protection Officer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, matti.kuosmanen(at)savonia.fi
Olavi Pesonen, M.A., B. Eng. (Information Technology), IT Manager, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, olavi.pesonen(at)karelia.fi
Kari Kataja, M.Sc. (Eng.), M.A., M.Sc. (Econ.), M.Ed., Information Systems Manager, Data Protection Officer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, kari.kataja(at)hamk.fi

In 2017-2018, the Public Administration Information Management Advisory Board (JUHTA) and the Public Administration Digital Security Steering Group (VAHTI) organized two joint data protection projects.

In connection with these projects, the Population Register Center organized a security and data protection management training (TAISTO18) in November 2018. The aim of the exercise was to develop organizations’ capabilities to manage security breaches. About 235 public administration organizations participated in the exercise, of which seven were universities of applied sciences and eight were universities.

The exercise was successful and participation was felt to be useful. It is necessary to continue training in crisis situations. This is what TAISTO19 will do next autumn.

Key words: privacy, data security, TAISTO18, GDPR

 

Facilitating challenges for the interpretation of the EU Data Protection Regulation: cooperation and codes of conduct

Maria Rehbinder, LL.M., Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/E), Senior Legal Counsel, Academic Legal Services, Aalto-yliopisto, Vice Chairman of LIBER Working Group on Legal Matters
Ulla Virranniemi, LL.M., M.A., Data Protection Officer, Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, ulla.virranniemi(at)oamk.fi
Kari Kataja, M.Sc. (Eng.), M.A., M.Sc. (Econ.), M.Ed., Information Systems Manager, Data Protection Officer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, kari.kataja(at)hamk.fi

Codes of conduct makes easier to contribute to the proper application of GDPR, taking account of the specific features of Finnish universities. Data protection officers of Finnish universities co-operate to create codes of conduct for research and student administration. Common codes of conduct reduces the need for local interpretation.

Key words: data protection, GDPR, codes of conduct, Higher education

 

Bank of Ideas – Collaboration, Visibility and Agile Experiments

Antti Mäki, Director, CSC, antti.maki(at)csc.fi
Outi Tasala, Customer Solution Manager, CSC, outi.tasala(at)csc.fi
Jussi Auvinen, Data Administration Contact, CSC, jussi.auvinen(at)csc.fi
Karoliina Ahtiainen, Customer Solution Trainee, CSC, karoliina.ahtiainen(at)csc.fi

Ideapankki, ”Bank of Ideas”, is a service with the intention of collecting, sharing and progressing development ideas to further the digitalisation of higher education and research in Finland. The service was developed in cooperation between AAPA and FUCIO, networks for Finnish Universities’ and Universities of Applied Sciences’ Chief IT Officers, and CSC – IT Center for Science. Ideapankki brings forth and discloses development needs and ideas to everyone in order to enable discussion on these while aiming to find the right body to progress and do pre-studies on these development ideas. Ideapankki has been in a trial use for about a year at the time of the publication, and experiences gained from this have been encouraging. Over 50 ideas have been submitted to the Ideapankki, and the idea committee, selected CIO’s from the CIO networks together with CSC have proposed ideas to different tracks for furthering them. Any representative of higher education or research institutions can propose a new development idea for Ideapankki.

Key words: Ideapankki, digitalisation, development ideas, cooperation, agile experiments, idea modelling, CSC

 

 

Abstracts No 1/2019

Editorial: Strong competence-based learning in higher education

Asko Karjalainen, D.Ed., Director, School of Professional Teacher Education, Oulu University of Applied Science

Competence-based learning is a multi-levelled phenomena. In the higher education sector, the term has until now generally referred to the wording of competence objectives for degree programmes that was developed during the Bologna process. In vocational upper secondary education, however, the term has a whole extra level of meaning. According to the vocational education reform, competence-based learning means carrying out the education process in such a way that the student progresses along an individualised study path which takes into account their initial competence level. The competence which the student already has is identified and all eligible previous experience and training is credited. Teaching and instruction is provided in order to supplement this prior competence and attain the learning objectives of the degree programme. Competence is shown through demonstrations in genuine work tasks or equivalent simulated situations. This method is referred to as strong competence-based learning.

Strong competence-based learning has a long history in Finland. The story begins in 1994, when the competence-based qualification system was initiated in vocational adult education. Currently, all vocational education is demonstration-based and individualised, in accordance with the principles of strong competence-based learning. There is therefore an abundance of experience and research knowledge on offer which all higher education institutions would do well to take a look at. Strong competence-based learning presents challenges to both educational institutions and teaching staff. The biggest challenge is in changing the way that both the teacher and the student operate. On the other hand, this method opens up almost revolutionary perspectives in education planning, implementation and development. The concept of competence acquires extra depth, as does the understanding of the core of the teacher’s work and the student’s responsibility. The pedagogical significance of education’s connection with the workplace becomes clear and guides the path of development.

Strong competence-based learning involves learning psychology that is really spot on. The method implements in an excellent way the foundational learning principle that all new learning should be based on previous learning. Although this principle has been known for a long time, its implementation in the traditional model depended on the teacher’s pedagogical imagination. In competence-based education, the student’s prior competence is always examined and any observed deficiencies are corrected before new things are taught. The studies then progress towards new competence in line with the student’s requirements and capabilities. If we would now start to act in this way, I believe that our higher education teaching would obtain even better qualitative results and would easily meet the quantitative objectives set by the Ministry.

Does strong competence-based learning fit with higher education teaching? It would seem to fit at least with professional teacher education and master’s degrees from universities of applied sciences. Positive experiences with both of these have already been obtained, and there are already examples available of good practices. There are no structural or operational barriers to the process of making the operating model for higher education institutions entirely competence-based. The old way of teaching and studying is deep in our culture, however, and this can lead to impassioned debate that has little to do with the facts. If renewal is the goal, the best course of action is to experiment and develop. Strong competence-based learning has to be studied in practice so that we can learn the opportunities it presents for higher education degree programmes. Debating different ideas without having any personal experience of the matter is hardly likely to move anything forward in practice. If all Finnish universities of applied sciences would try out strong competence-based learning without delay, even in just one degree programme, we would soon obtain a lot of data and material for constructive discussions as well as signposts for genuine development. Isn’t it time to shift from thought to action? Let’s challenge the universities to join the experiment as well!

 

Foundations of competence-based education: Universities of applied sciences and the theory of knowledge

Hannu L. T. Heikkinen, Professor, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä

The article examines the epistemological foundations of universities of applied sciences in Finland. A special focus is on the concept of competence-based education (“osaamisperustainen koulutus”) which has become popular in the Finnish discussion about education, but especially concerning the education given by universities of applied sciences. The author claims that the national discussion about competence based education is based on a ‘limited view’ on universities of applied sciences, focusing mainly on technical and practical issues. The author advocates an ‘encompassing view on universities of applied sciences’ instead. In Aristotelian terms, the encompassing view covers not only the technical (‘techne’) the practical (‘phronesis’) dispositions, but also the theoretical (‘episteme’) dispositions to knowledge as well as critical-emancipatory interests. This idea is based on Stephen Kemmis’ interpretation which integrates Aristotelian views on knowledge with Jürgen Habermas’ theory of knowledge and human interests. The central message of this theoretical article is that the encompassing view on competence-based education is essential in our times of eco-crisis, and education must provide the future generations thinking tools to overcome the global challenges which we have to solve in the near future.

Key words: forms of knowledge, knowledge interests, research, universities of applied sciences

 

By using evaluation criteria are we assessing how the learning objectives have been reached?

Anna Nykänen, M.Ed., Specialist in Education, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Common evaluation criteria for bachelor studies have been renewed at Laurea University of Applied Sciences and taken into use in January 2019. In the article, it is argued that from the point of view of competence-based education common criteria are not as helpful for assessment as study unit specific criteria would be in the study units. However, in case of project studies or work-based learning we should be able to assess and recognize unexpected competences.

Key words: evaluationevaluation criteriacompetence-based educationcompetencies

 

Competency based evaluation unifies Finnish nursing education and the quality of the education

Marja Silén-Lipponen, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Project Manager, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Paula Mäkeläinen, Dr.Sc., Principal Lecturer, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Tiina Nurmela, Ph.D. (Nursing Science), Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences

The YleSHarviointi project is expected to develop competence-based evaluation for generalist registered nursing students education (180 ECTS). The aim of the project is to verify the competency level required for pre-licensure generalist registered nurse students and help to ensure that a sufficient and consistent level of professional nursing qualifications are offered by all registered nursing programs. The assessment also makes it easier for nursing students to progress in their studies, supports the return to work for those nurses, who have been absent from nursing for a some time, and helps to compare the learning outcomes of nursing qualifications both nationally and internationally.

Key words: competence-based evaluation, national evaluation model, nursing qualifications, healthcare

 

Case: competence-based practice carried out in an employment relationship

Anniina Friman, Biomedical Laboratory Scientist (Master’s degree), Part-time Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Kaisa Friman, Nurse, M.Sc. (Health), Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Tiina Tarr, Physiotherapist, M.Sc. (Health), Student Coordinator, Turku University Hospital
Tuija Lehtikunnas, Nurse, Dr.Sc. (Health), Hospital Director of Nursing, Hospital District of Southwest Finland
Sini Eloranta, Nurse, Dr.Sc. (Health), Docent, Principal Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences

The aim of this project of Turku University Hospital and Turku University of Applied Sciences was to create an innovative and competence-based way to run a practical training and to create a model in which working, studying, recognition of prior learning and work experience could be intergrated. In this project three practical nurses, who studied their bachelor’s degree were hired to share shifts of one practical nurse’s vacancy for a four months’ period. Students completed an internship of 6–8 ECTS alongside their other studies.

Results showed that practical training supported students professional growth and strengthened their competence in various ways. In terms of employment, students experienced pressure on expertise, which in this case turned out to be a major motivating factor. For those students who already had families, the recognition of prior learning and the financial compensation was the main driving force to take part in this type of practical training.

This type of competence-based practical training builds a completely new form of co-operation between a school and a workplace by supporting students for smooth adaptation to working life.

Key words: competence-based learning, mentoring, practical training, employee, multiform studies, healthcare

 

Health and social services are reformed – how about educations?

Soile Juujärvi, Dr.Pol.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Timo Sinervo, Dr.Pol.Sc., Research Manager, National Institute for Health and Welfare 
Olli Nummela, Ph.D., Researcher, National Institute for Health and Welfare 

The health and social services system in Finland is undergoing a huge reform that strives for more efficient and effective services, improved health, wellbeing and equality among citizens. The guiding principle is to increase freedom of choice in services, while the citizen can choose a service provider from among a variety of authorised providers from the public, private or third sectors. Services are supposed to be integrated packages adjusted to individual needs, and pathways within services will be smoother. The successful reform requires a paradigmatic change in ways of conceptualising and implementing competences in profession education and vocational training. While competence-based curricula allow to specify knowledge, skills and attitudes, they offer valuable tools for creating new competences and updating old ones among health and social care students and professionals. Implications of new competence needs for education and pedagogy are discussed.

Key words: Health and Social Services Reform, health care and social services, competence-based curriculum,  competency, service integration, stncope

 

Student always at the center – students’ experiences in competence-based special needs teacher education

Pirkko Kepanen, D.Ed., Special Needs Teacher (retired)

The article is based on a doctoral dissertation, the material of which was gathered in a vocational special needs teacher education programme implementing a competence-based curriculum in 2014–2016.The research results show that the competence-based educational model represents a new learning method of which the adult students involved in the study did not have previous experience.

Key words: University of Applied Sciences, vocational special needs teacher education, competence-based approach, self-assessment, reflection, reconstruction

 

Competence-based circular economy teaching

Marketta Virta, M.A., B.Eng., Turku University of Applied Sciences
Pia Haapea, Lic.Tech., Principal Lecturer, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Taru Owston, M.A., Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Asseri Laitinen, M.A., Lecturer, VAMK University of Applied Sciences

The scarcity of resources on our planet forces us to re-think our ways of consuming, producing and educating. The move from a linear economic model to a circular one requires educated people who are able to assess the life cycle of a product and work together with others to create new services and long-lasting products.

The Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, financed a project “#kiertotalous” to create a manual and a toolbox for educators who want to help their students learn about the circular economy model. The methods have been in use in three universities of applied sciences who now had to put in writing what they have been doing in such a way that three other universities were able to use the model.

The method all use the format of a project where students work in teams. There is no circular economy without close collaboration of people from different fields, so multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. The students receive a brief and work a for a client that can be a business, an authority or an individual. They are asked to evaluate themselves and their peers and they receive feedback from the client.

The projects vary from short 24-hour events to processes lasting the whole term. Learning important innovation and work-related skills, both students and their coaches bring forth hope for our planet.

Key words: circular economy, learning methods, multisectoral, technology, design, business economy

 

Competence-based studies in higher education – the roles of teacher and student during change

Merja Sinkkonen, Dr.Soc.Sc., Head of Master’s Degree Programme, Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Annukka Tapani, Dr.Pol.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Jussi Ylänen, Lic.Phil., Principal Lecturer, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

The aim of this article was to study how a teacher and master-level students effect on the learning outcomes during the “Project Competence” course.

Our data consists of questionnaires (N= 53) gathered form master-level students in the university of applied sciences in the end of the course “Project competence” in May 2017 and 2018. We asked the students to divide their learning outcomes (100%) among different actors (student, teacher, student group and working life). And estimate the realization and ideal state of their learning outcomes and justify their answer. In this article we focus our attention to the answers dealing with students themselves and the role of teacher.

As a result of this study we found that it is important for a student to take responsibility for his/hers own development like employees need to take responsibility for their own development.

Key words: competence-based, learning, teaching, master’s degree, development expertise in pedagogy

 

Development of competence-based curricula in the Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Helena Kangastie, M.Sc. (Health), Head of Development, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

The merging of two Lappish universities of applied scienses in 2014 was accelerated by the development of competence-based curricula. The development Project (OPS2017) was conducted in 2014–2017 and its main objective was to build competence-based curricula for all education programmes. In addition, the key objective was to harmonise the ways of organising learning. The student’s learning process was at the centre of the development. In this article, I describe that development work and its results.

Key words: competence-based curriculum, university of applied sciences, organising learning

 

Professional Teacher Education and the Competence Frames of References

Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen, Ph.D., Docent, Dean, School of Professional Teacher Education, Häme University of Applied Sciences
Iiris Happo, D.Ed., Principal Lecturer, School of Professional Teacher Education, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Sirpa Perunka, D.Ed., Senior Lecturer, School of Professional Teacher Education, Oulu University of Applied Sciences

Professional teacher education targets at teachers in vocational institutions and universities of applied sciences. The education provides a general pedagogical qualification. According to legislation, professional teacher education includes the basics of educational science, professional pedagogical studies, teaching practice and optional studies. Haaga-Helia, Häme, Jyväskylä, Oulu and Tampere Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) have the permission to offer teacher education. These UASs are participating in the Teacher Training Forum and Teacher Training Development Project (OPEKE) organized and funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Teacher Training Forum has outlined a common frame of reference for competences expected from all kinds of teachers. They are comprehensive subject specific knowledge, creative expertise and agency as well as constant development of oneself and the community’s competence. An earlier analysis by Mahlamäki-Kultanen and Nokelainen (2014) demonstrated that teacher education is competence based and the competence targets in all UASs are on a high professional level and are quite uniform. In 2019, the OPEKE-team analyzed the latest curricula. It proved out that the competence targets are in line and correspond with the Finnish National Qualifications Framework level 7. The competence requirements include, among others, a comprehensive understanding of their own field, readiness to apply scientific research and methods in practice as well as competence to act as an expert and innovator in their professional field teaching

Key words: professional teacher education, competence based education, curriculum

 

Strive for strong and competent region

Tiina Kirvesniemi, D.Ed., Project Manager, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Leena Muotio, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Universities of Applied Sciences have an important role in regional developing. The fields of developing vary in question of target groups, objectives and developers. Both RDI and teaching act in regional developing in different areas and ways. To improve regional developing, it is necessary to focus the functioning of internal operations of the university. According to workshops held to four teams of Culture and Arts and RDI-team of Creative Industries, the RDI-staff and teaching seem to work quite separated, like trains in different trails. This leads to situation where the students are unused potential in RDI projects and they miss opportunities to widen their competence-based learning contexts. It is crucial to get to know each other in RDI and teaching so that teachers and students can participate in project planning, realization and implementation. Then it is possible to answer the challenges of regional development as united.

Key words: Culture and Arts, Creative Industry, teaching, competence-based approach, RDI

Assets based community participation and place making

Authors: Kate Miller, Ronald McIntyre & Gary McKenna.

This paper discusses how processes of community development and community education tend to be dominated by a deficit discourse that is influenced by neoliberal political and economic forces. It provides an example of how a community outreach programme can turn the tide on these processes by implementing assets based approaches to place making and working with young people. Assets based approaches value the resources that exist in the community and build on the strengths and affordances of communities. We identify that there are a parallels between deficit models of community development and deficit or ‘banking models’ of education. We argue that a strong assets based approach that emphasises and values the experience of community members is an effective way to empower communities to make positive change.

Introduction

This paper arises from an Erasmus + project funded to share innovative practice of assets based approaches to community participation and develop collaborations across Higher Education Institutions and community groups across Europe. The University of the West of Scotland, in collaboration with our partners at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland, University of Bologna in Italy, University of Maribor in Slovenia and The University of Southern Denmark have been working with community stakeholder groups that are implementing assets based approaches to working with communities. The work done by our community partners emphasises the importance of valuing the lived experiences of community members and also valuing community places and how these are made.

All of our partners have found that implementing an assets based approach is often working in opposition to a dominant narrative in community development and neoliberal policy discourses that emphasises a widely deficit view of communities. This deficit view extends beyond the purely economic aspects of community life. We argue that this deficit view of communities if not challenged can lead to the implementation of practices that accentuates the negative aspects of communities and can further disempower community members hindering the process of making positive change.

What we call a deficit model of place has been challenged on a number of levels, from the tendency to treat economic inclusion in the neoliberal economy as a proxy for inclusion more generally, and in particular from those working within participatory approaches to community development (Macintyre 2016; Shaw & Mayo 2016). There is a parallel between deficit models of community development and deficit or ‘banking models’ of education. Deficit models have been challenged with educators emphasising the need to move from viewing education as a matter of pouring knowledge in, to one recognising people as experts in their own lives.

Deficit Models of Place

This paper focuses on the UK, specifically Scotland, while Scotland has a degree of political autonomy within the UK as a devolved nation, political discourses within the “Public Sphere” are shaped at the UK level (e.g. Mooney & Scott 2016). As one of the first countries to industrialise, the UK then became one of the first to deindustrialise, the communities, which had built up around those industries suffered the loss of these jobs (Harvey 2006). Many of these industries were based in the West of Scotland, in Glasgow and its surrounding area.

The sense that these places were “left behind” as the economy moved on was further developed through the structure of programmes aimed at supporting the economic regeneration of these areas. These policies came to the fore in the UK under the Labour Government of Blair in 1997 through its work on Social Exclusion/Inclusion. Levitas et al. (2007) identified three main themes within social exclusion, the first theme relates to lack of resources, the second looks at social cultural aspects, and has been called the moral underclass discourse (MUD), the third embraced by Labour was the social integration discourse. It suggested that poverty in these communities was not so much a material problem relating to a lack of resources but a social one.

Deficit models of Education

Freire (2007) argued that mainstream education operates using the ‘banking model’ where learners are considered to be empty vessels and educators the providers of knowledge. Many young people in these ‘left behind’ communities struggle to succeed in mainstream education. In some places community outreach organisations (NGOs) are developing in order to provide alternative educational spaces that young people can access and where they can participate in dialogical and creative activities in ways that most mainstream educational contexts are not able to support.

Giroux (2005) argues that there is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either operates as a means to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ”the practice of freedom,” the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Freire always viewed history as possibility, ”recognizing that History is time filled with possibility and not inexorably determined,” (Freire 2000, 26). Communities change through place making processes that are connected to political and economic processes. It is important to draw attention to pedagogical practices that can empower communities to make positive change.

Place Making Through Arts Outreach

Below we provide an extract from an interview with a practitioner from an arts outreach programme situated in a community that has suffered effects of deindustrialisation. It illustrates how engagement that draws on the resources of the local community can challenge deficit models of communities and empower community members to make positive changes.

Researcher: How might thinking about your community identity help with your professional practice?

Community worker: A lot of the people we see will maybe have quite a low opinion of themselves, of their communities; their perception of the community might be that they are not the best place to be. I would actually completely turn that on its head. I do not see it that way at all. I see everywhere as an opportunity to be amazing places and I would really encourage folk (people) to think about where they are in those terms, because I think that these are communities that have got long histories of amazing people that have achieved incredible things that have been formally recognised… You know, that is where working with young people is an incredible thing because we can turn that on its head and say: well did you know that this is where the first edition of Robert Burns’ poems was published? You know which is an international and universal book that everybody knows you know “Auld Lang Syne” (meaning times long past). These songs were all published in this town. People think this town has a heavy industries background and it does, but it actually had a creative industries before it had a heavy industries background…We are about to move into a former school which we have taken on as a transfer and that school had two Nobel Peace Prize winners come out of it. The only school anywhere that had two Nobel Peace Prize winners out of it – I mean that is an incredible fact in itself .., it is not a coincidence.

Researcher: Is it about the potential of the community?

Community worker: It is about recognising the potential and it is about understanding where it came from and it is also about the whole thing about the potential of it becoming alive again, or well, it has always been alive and it has always been here. So it is about recognising that and then giving that place opportunity to think about it in those terms going forward and having no parameters at all – it is up to you. It is over to you guys actually you can decide how this goes, you have got that empowerment to take it forward (he is talking about the young people).

Researcher: What opportunities does this open or indeed close off for you as a practitioner?

Community worker: Speaking personally I think the amazing thing that we have done is some fantastic pieces of work with a community facing aspect. The Council and the Government had offered money for our participatory budgeting programme …and the young people were able to secure funding to run a small gallery space in the Burns Mall – which is the local shopping centre… That all came about from a family engagement workshop that I was running with families, a visual art workshop. .. the kids themselves secured the funds to make this happen….we had a gallery preview the way you would have in any gallery. The local press came along and gave us two pages. It was great publicity mothers and fathers; grandparents; and brothers and sisters all came to see it. We sold work and one of the young people created a book and we sold the whole edition and it was really exciting stuff. Drawings and paintings and a digital offer [we showed] all kinds of art. We had fashion and we had other pieces of work as well. So that was an example of how we could look at our community in a positive light and through our professionalism and through our practice we were able to engage with families. We have incredible opportunities to do that kind of a thing on a national scale. I would actually like to see it happening on an international scale. I think we should be having artists and musicians coming to see us from around the world because I think that suddenly becomes again about putting our place on a global map. We are a wee (small) town near to Glasgow and sometimes kids come here and this is the biggest place they have been to. They have never been to Glasgow….but it is about blowing all that out of the water and saying we are actually a town in Europe in the world and I think it is really crucial that we celebrate that. We always have been and we always will be – so why do we not just run with that? Instead of deciding that we have to think that we have to go somewhere else to be a creative person and we have to be somewhere else to be important.

Fig.1. Centerstage wall of strengths-based art produced by local youths as a way of giving them a voice.
Fig.2. Centerstage paper mache tree for pinning the leaves containing young children’s strengths and statements of what they have learned.

Towards a More Radical Approach to Assets Based Community Development

This paper suggests a strong parallel between deficit models in education and approaches to local economic development; this can be traced from the political rhetoric to how this is articulated through policy and practice on the ground. In both we see a tendency to treat people and places as “left behind”, as missing something, this something might be tangible assets such as modern school buildings or it might be intangible like confidence or social capital. We offer an alternative assets based approach, as implemented by the specific arts outreach programme discussed above, as a way of resisting dominant narratives (Negt, Kluge, ([1993] 2016) that treat places which have not been folded into neoliberal capitalism as left behind, and therefore lacking something. It resists a reading from ABCD light, where ideas around assets as commodities become folded into neoliberalism either through support to exploit them or through questions around how and why people are not exploiting them, which itself fits into a deficit model of place. We suggest a deeper more radical engagement with ABCD. This draws on our own work on participatory action research and design (Macintyre 2016), and our engagement with inclusive pedagogies in adult education (Cannell & Macintyre 2017). These approaches reject deficit models of education emphasising the need to recognise people as experts in their own lives and their own communities.

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the funding from the Erasmus + programme which made the project ‘Designing Collaborative Educational Resources (COERS) for Assets Based Community Participation (ABCP) across Europe’ (Assets com) (ref. 2016-1-UK01-KA203-024403) on which this paper is based possible. We would also like to acknowledge the work of our colleagues in our partner Higher Education Institutions and all of the community stakeholders participating in the project.

Authors

Kate Miller, The University of the West of Scotland, Lecturer in Education, PHD, kate.miller(at)uws.ac.uk

Ronald McIntyre, The Open University, Designer, Executive Masters in Business Studies, ronald.macintyre(at)open.ac.uk

Gary McKenna, The University of the West of Scotland, Research Fellow, PhD, gary.mckenna(at)uws.ac.uk


Cannell P. & Macintyre R. (2017). Free open online resources in workplace and community settings – a case study on overcoming barriers, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19(1), pp. 111–122.

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Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum: London.

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Levitas R., Pantazis C., Fahmy E., Gordon D., Lloyd E., & Patsios D. (2007). The Multidimensional analysis of social exclusion Project Report by Bristol Institute of Public Affairs for the Department of Communities and Local Government, http://roar.uel.ac.uk/1781/1/multidimensional.pdf last accessed 27th of August 2015.

Macintyre R. (2016). Approaching Participatory Design in ”Citizen Science”. In Design for Learning: 5th International Conference designing new learning ecologies, 18th -20th of May, Copenhagen. http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/46337

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No 4/2018 Abstracts

Editorial: Regional development requires participation and utilisation of the diversity of regions and regional developers

Jouni Koski, Ph.D., President, Managing Director, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

If the decision to construct a network of universities across the whole country was a significant one for regional development, then so also was the decision made over a quarter of a century ago to strengthen the higher education sector through universities of applied sciences which serve different areas of economic life. Regional development was further boosted with legislation that added the task of regional development to the duties of universities of applied sciences, in addition to the tasks of education and RDI (research, development and innovation). At the same time, or perhaps precisely because of this regional development task, the pedagogy of universities of applied sciences has seen impressive development. In contrast to how things were before, pedagogy is no longer a school’s internal matter, but it has become a shared issue for the region and the partnering organisations operating in it. A form of pedagogy has developed which integrates universities of applied science with society and with their region and which strengthens participation and partnership and regional development. In this way, new foundations have been laid down for further advancing regional development in Finland, which reached the grand age of 101 on 6 December 2018.

Although Finland is not large in population, it does cover a large area. In order to develop well, our country’s varied, unique regions require diversity, which is one of the strengths of our dual university system – also when considered from the regional perspective. Different kinds of regional development methods and models have been developed in different parts of the country, and a number of these will be presented in this theme issue. In the future, the role of universities of applied science in regional renewal and vitalisation may become more and more significant, and this requires the continual development of regional development methods and models. In this process, the open sharing and international benchmarking of different regional development methods and models are, without doubt, key factors for moving forward. Similarly, increasing the participation of local citizens in the development of their residential areas and living environments will certainly bring more effective solutions to regional and social problems because they are based on residents’ knowledge of their conditions and needs.

Universities of applied sciences have a significant role as developers of methods and processes for supporting civil participation. Through their pedagogic development, universities of applied sciences have become strong joint developers that know how to use diverse methods to engage citizens, businesses, communities and university students in joint development work. In this way, the objectives can include a good life for Finnish people, integration, and also, for example, the strengthening of regional vitality. When seeking to develop things, participation is of immeasurable value, whether it involves individuals or whole communities and organisations. I would like to return to consider again that significant decision to add the task of regional development alongside the universities of applied sciences’ tasks of education and RDI. If this decision had not been made, the involvement and participation of universities of applied sciences in regional development would not be at the level that it is today.

The strength of the pedagogy of universities of applied sciences for regional development is founded on participation, in which the involvement of students plays a central role. When university students, who are accumulating professional expertise, participate in regional development work together with employees, and when the learning takes place in cooperation with regional partners, the result is a huge and powerful contribution to development. The 145,000 students and around 10,000 experts at universities of applied sciences are a significant resource for the regional development of our country. It is excellent that we are learning all the time to make better use of this resource in our society.

 

Students as circular economy accelerators

Marketta Virta, M.A., Engineer, Project Assistant, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Sonja Lankiniemi, MBA, M.Sc.(Econ.), Project Specialist, Project Manager, Turku University of Applied Sciences

Students influence the development of their area already during their studies. In Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), the students are strongly involved in RDI activities from the beginning of the studies. Students have been an important asset e.g. in the development of Topinpuisto, circular economy hub located in Southwest Finland. Topinpuisto develops the value chains of circular economy and accelerates the transition to circular economy in Turku and in Southwest Finland.
Among other things, students have researched the opportunities of a circular economy to create a new business.

At TUAS, students are not seen as clients but as partners. Student-business cooperation is beneficial for students, companies and their regions. Students can deepen and develop their expertise and companies can take steps towards a more sustainable future. When participating in RDI, students have an impact on their region even before their graduation and promote, for example, the realization of carbon neutrality and circular economy.

Keywords: circular economy, project study environment, RDI activities, technology

 

Technological innovations in the developing of villages

Marika Ahlavuo, Science Producer, Cultural Producer, The Research Institute of Modeling and Measuring for the Built Environment (MeMo), Aalto University 
Sami Alho, Project Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, SeAMK
Matti Kurkela, 3D-studio Manager, Lic.Tech., M.A., Aalto University
Jussi-Matti Kallio, Project Manager, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, SeAMK
Hannu Hyyppä, Professor, Dr. Tech., Docent, Aalto University

At Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (known as SeAMK), the School of Business and Culture, together with the School of Food and Agriculture, have carried out jointly with Aalto University various demos, projects and exhibitions centering on the theme of virtuality. This article focuses on the work applied in collaboration with SeAMK that has made headways and created joint ventures related to a Virtual Village Project and to two Master level theses in the field of digitalisation and virtual reality. New technology was used in a particular 3D virtual reality project (the so-called ’Virtuaalikylät 3D Liiverissä’ project) that was a joint effort with the villages of Southern Ostrobothnia and their active inhabitants. In the article, we examine from a 3D and technical innovations perspective how the cultural and knowledge resources present in the villages could be enhanced through virtual technology. As an important result from the co-operation between SeAMK and Aalto University, we have been able to predict future trends in the possibilities offered through the use of 3D virtual reality in assisting the development of villages.

Keywords: regional development, 3D, virtuality, cooperation, inclusion, culture, food and agriculture

 

Unique cooperation to boost regional development

Tuula Rajander, M.Ed., M.A., Planning Officer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

This article considers universities of applied sciences as a regional developer in sparsely populated areas such as Kainuu region. The joint problem of these areas is a lack of workforce, which obstructs economic development. Education is one of the most efficient ways to affect the supply of workforce.

Universities of applied sciences are part of the brand and attraction of their regions. Student recruiting brings more young people and people of working age to the area. Graduated students also like to stay in the area where they have studied. Digitalization of education has facilitated student-recruiting challenges of the UASes in sparsely populated areas.

From the student-recruiting point of view, it is important that UASes specialize in their own strong lines and subjects. The chosen lines should also match the general focus areas of the region. Focus areas in Kainuu region are innovations of technology and mining industry, bioeconomy, wellbeing and health. Corresponding strengths of Kajaani UAS are production systems, game and measurement applications, adventure activities, intelligent home care and business potential.

Keywords: continuous learning, developing of regions, lack of workforce, sparsely populated areas, student recruiting

 

Participative development in Lahti, Finland

Mirja Kälviäinen, Principal Lecturer, Institute of Design, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Sara Ikävalko, Lecturer, Institute of Design, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Kati Kumpulainen, RDI Specialist, Institute of Design, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

New digital native generations set new requirements for the city services and environments. In the City as a Service for Young Citizen project, young adults from 16 to 30 years of age have been participating in a mosaic of explorative user research methods to produce a rich picture of the possible use and needs of services by young citizens. The exploration-based methods have included user workshops, self-reporting design probes and theme-based material produced by users. The results have provided user empathy for envisioning service experiments to be tested in real user contexts and environments in the city of Lahti and with an ecosystem of local service providers. The participative user information and real life participatory experiments have produced evidence for the need of special service solutions for young citizen. These should be crossing the physical, face-to-face and digital realms and aligning with young users’ special requirements for authenticity and anonymity.

Keywords: design, participation, service design, young citizen, user driven research, experimentation

 

Co-creating urban art in Leppävaara with local volunteers

Martta Pirttioja, MSc, Environmental Designer, City of Espoo

In August this year, a colourful piece of art appeared on the wooden wall of the Galleria shopping centre’s parking area in northern Leppävaara. The artwork, was inspired by alder leaves, was co-created by multiple actors: active residents in the neighbourhood, the City of Espoo, the owner of the property and the Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

The project is an example of the work of the Environmental Design team which was established in April 2018 under a cross-administrative development program ‘Participatory Espoo’. The team’s principal task is to function as an easily approachable representative of the city and to boost the projects the inhabitants or other actors want to further. The ultimate goal is a network of active inhabitants, local businesses as well as third- and fourth-sector actors working together to create an Espoo they like. In an ideal case, the city’s role would be to enable these projects and to work as an equal partner.

Keywords: servicedesign, urbandesign, laureauas, Espoo, involvement

 

Youth, active part in development within different living areas

Jukka Piippo, PhD, Nurse specialized in psychiatry, Psychotherapist in specialist level, Principal Lecturer within Mental health, Arcada University of Applied Sciences

PAD – Positive Attitude Development project was a joint project between Arcada University of Applied Sciences and Tallinn University. The main aim with the project was to increase possibilities for young and young adults with mental health problems to get access to labor market within defined areas in the countries. This was done by decreasing stigma and influence attitudes towards mental health to become better. The main activities during the project were face-to-face meetings with citizens and employers. At the meetings, panel discussions were organized, in which issues concerning mental health problems were discussed between employers, professionals, members of target group and educational instances. One of important points during the project was when experts-by-experience become involved at the project. Their participation lead to many significant and positive developments of the projects activities.

Keywords: mental health, youth, cooperation, Helsinki, Tallinn, health and welfare

 

Assets based community participation and place making

Kate Miller, The University of the West of Scotland, Lecturer in Education, PHD
Ronald McIntyre, The Open University, Designer, Executive Masters in Business Studies
Gary McKenna, The University of the West of Scotland, Research Fellow, PhD

This paper discusses how processes of community development and community education tend to be dominated by a deficit discourse that is influenced by neoliberal political and economic forces. It provides an example of how a community outreach programme can turn the tide on these processes by implementing assets based approaches to place making and working with young people. Assets based approaches value the resources that exist in the community and build on the strengths and affordances of communities. We identify that there are a parallels between deficit models of community development and deficit or ‘banking models’ of education. We argue that a strong assets based approach that emphasises and values the experience of community members is an effective way to empower communities to make positive change.

Keywords: assets based approaches, community empowerment, critical pedagogy, education, place making

 

Creative Campus Arabia – Design Changes Cities

Tiina Laurila M.Sc., M.A., Project Producer, Metropolia UAS
Petra Lassenius, M.A., Project Manager, Metropolia UAS
Päivi Keränen, M.A., Project Manager, Metropolia UAS

This article presents how design discipline can contribute to the city and campus development. Two projects are introduced: Live Baltic Campus project (2015–2018) brought together city planners, government representatives, campus developers and stakeholders in utilizing the campuses of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki and 5 partner universities in Turku, Uppsala, Stockholm, Riga and Tartu as labs and developing them as innovation hubs. Creative Campus Arabia Project (2016–2018) focused on identifying stakeholders, vitalizing the neighborhood and providing services like a planned coworking space and XR Centre, new networks that support creative fields and the Arabia-Toukola area in Helsinki. At the same time the new XR Design degree program was founded by Design and Media Degree Program. Collaboration between educational institutes is also part of the development towards digitalization where technology-based solutions are utilized in designing future cities.

Keywords: campus development, city development, design

 

3D City models and virtuality as tools in regional development

Juho-Pekka Virtanen,  M.F.A., Doctoral Student, Aalto University
Kaisa Jaalama, Doctoral Student, M.Sc. (Admin.), Aalto University
Arttu Julin, M.Sc. (Tech.), Doctoral Student, Aalto University
Matti Kurkela, Lic.Tech., M.A., Studio Manager, Aalto University
Mikko Maksimainen, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Research Professor, Aalto University 
Matti T. Vaaja, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Professor, Aalto University
Hannu Hyyppä, Professor, Dr.Sc. (Tech.), Associate Professor, Aalto University

The development of 3D city models is progressing towards an interactive, smart digital twin of the urban environment. This allows the stakeholders of the urban environment to obtain information concerning the functions, planned changes and infrastructure. In addition to receiving data, citizens, officials and commercial actors can also communicate their own needs and actions, either via direct participatory actions, or indirectly, by accumulation of data to various services. Future 3D city models offer a multitude of benefits for cities, citizens and business.

Keywords: 3D, city model, urban environment, digital twin, engineering, geospatial data

 

Can a university of applied sciences contribute to regional development in the archipelago?

Rasmus Karlsson, M.Pol.Sc., Project Manager, Novia University of Applied Sciences

Can a university of applied sciences contribute to regional development in the archipelago? Novia UAS is involved in several regional development projects in the archipelago between Finland and Sweden. All these projects connect to local entrepreneurship. Regional development projects have a long history in the archipelago. Projects that are considered failures, or not leading to change for the better on a local level, might lead to distrust in project efficiency and lower interest in future project participation from the local community. Mapping local level needs and wishes in the application phase is important to make sure sufficient funds are allocated.

A university of applied sciences has a role as project partner not bound by municipal borders, providing a professional project organization, a wide network of contacts on different levels of the society including financing frameworks, and professional knowledge in a variety of subjects.

Keywords: regional development, archipelago, interreg, project leadership

 

Stakeholder informed curriculum development in the Central Baltic Area

Sanna-Mari Renfors, PhD, Researching Principal Lecturer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

This article presents a case of international curriculum development in higher tourism education in the Central Baltic Area. The aim of the curriculum is to provide an aligned and relevant skillset for the area to grow as a coherent and competitive tourism destination. In practice, the curriculum aligns higher tourism education with the needs of the tourism industry and the labour market in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia into a new, joint curriculum and a study programme. As Europeanisation enables cooperation between the higher education institutions in a broader geographical context, the curriculum is designed and delivered by four universities situated in three countries in cooperation with the tourism industry.

Keywords: tourism industry, regional development, curriculum development, Central Baltic Area

 

Does international cooperation enhance local social innovation?

Susanne Jungerstam, D.Pol.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Novia University of Social Sciences
Annika Wentjärvi, M.Soc.Sc., Research Manager, Novia University of Social Sciences

International cooperation and interprofessional work are both expected to enhance social innovation. Social innovation, in turn, is often expected to be locally developed in close cooperation with end users, organisations and stakeholders. In the BSR Interreg-project Social Empowerment in Rural Areas (SEMPRE), the aim has been to combine the elements of international and interprofessional cooperation and social innovation in a regional and local context. The aim of the article was to discuss both opportunities and challenges that the project encountered, primarily focussing on international and interprofessional competences. The main findings include both positive experiences of good practices and learning across borders, and challenges related to project activities primarily related to the development of both interprofessional and international communication competences, as well as to the project format of developing local social innovation in an international setting.

Keywords: social innovation, interprofessional, international cooperation, project, social services

 

Efficiency in maritime business both in Satakunta, Finland, and in Southern Africa

Teija Järvenpää, B.Eng.,  Project Researcher, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
Nina Savela, M.Pol.Sc., Project Researcher, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
Minna Keinänen-Toivola, D.Phil., Research Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

The changing environment, rapid development of technology and climate change will increase pressure to produce multiskilled personnel in Satakunta, Finland. The efficient maritime cluster in Satakunta constitutes of knowledge, energy efficiency and export actions. Maritime training in Satakunta dates back to 1880 and today, digitalization is emphasized in maritime training. Energy efficient solutions, developed in shipbuilding and port operations in Rauma, generate new business opportunities. The maritime cluster in Satakunta is strongly export-orientated. For example, in Southern Africa, potentials for SMEs include the maritime industry, cleantech, and opportunities in the circular economy. The sector’s eagerness to grow opens up possibilities for job creation and SME growth. This increases international recognition, enables the exchange of ideas, and the development of technologies. Know-how, digitalization and environmental friendliness are uprising accelerating trends in the maritime cluster in Satakunta as well as in export markets.

Keywords: maritime cluster, energy efficiency, export, Satakunta, Southern Africa, technology

 

The challenge of producing information that promotes regional welfare

Erkki Saari, MAdSc, DSocSc, RDI Senior Lecturer (social services), Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Leena Viinamäki, DSocSc, Principal Lecturer (social services), Lapland University of Applied Sciences

When we think about the role of higher education institutions as producers of information that promotes the welfare of those living in the various regions of the country, we take as our starting point the drawing up of welfare reports that are intended to be part of the welfare management of municipalities. Political decisions based on information provided by welfare reports can influence the polarisation of the country, e.g. whether its regions differentiate in terms of migration gain or loss or well-off and disadvantaged populations. In order to make justifiable political decisions concerning welfare, there is a need for statistical data that describes the welfare of the areas and the view and experience information of the authorities and of the population about the welfare of the population and the functionality of welfare services it can use. However, the welfare reports intended to be drawn up by municipalities should be replaced by regional welfare reports containing the above-mentioned information and drawn up by researcher groups formed by the higher education institutions responsible for the education in health care and social services, the Centres of Excellence in Social Welfare and the research institutions operating in different regions.

Keywords: regional development, welfare barometer, welfare account, welfare report, service system, social services, health care

 

Regional development and future knowledge in municipalities

Jaana Laitio, Degree Programme in Customer-Oriented Development in Social Service Work, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Saara Jäämies,Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design , Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Sanna Juvonen, Master of Education, Senior Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

In the future, the population of the world centralizes more and more in cities. The development of urban areas has a major impact on sustainable development of the European Union and its citizens from the economical, ecological, and social point of view. At the same time, urban areas are places where different challenges, inequalities, unemployment and poverty are concentrated. The development of municipal and urban areas and the skills of employees working there need to be ensured in a changing environment. The key challenges and at the same time competences of experts in the future municipalities are to work with digital services and to strengthen the inclusion of residents, as well as to promote human-centered work in changing environment.

Key words: public sector, municipality, employee, future, competence, Social Service Degree Programme, Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design

UAS Journal Workshop in the EAPRIL 2018 Conference

In the workshop ”International Collaboration Promoting Publishing Practice-oriented Articles in Higher Education”, given by Jaana Lamberg, Ilkka Väänänen, Mervi Friman and Mauri Kantola from the UAS Journal, there was discussion on what a good PBR (practice-based research) article is from the author’s, referee’s and reader’s perspectives. We also received theme ideas for the next international issue both in this workshop and in the session earlier today. The discussion was very active in both spoken and written form, as via the Padlet platform.

UAS Journal at the EAPRIL 2018 Conference

Members of the UAS Journal editorial board and the editor-in-chief gave a presentation in the EAPRIL 2018 conference in Portorož – Piran, Slovenia.

Ilkka Väänänen, Mervi Friman and Mauri Kantola gave a presentation ”The impact of the publication activities of practice-based research”. After the presentation, there was interesting discussion e.g. on the significance of national (mother tongue) publishing versus international publishing. The participants perceived it is important to share ideas internationally.

The Evolvement of an Online Learning Network of Experts

Authors: Minna Scheinin & Mauri Kantola.

Introduction

The purpose of the present article is to discuss the characteristics of an online learning network of experts. Further, the article discusses how to create a social community and interaction between people who share the same interest topics and the concerns attached to them. Expert groups often evolve within a project and work well through the lifecycle of the project. However, it is generally experienced that a group of experts is often dispersed at the end of the project. The participants easily lose interest towards collaboration when the funding is finished and the formal structure of the collaboration comes to its end. Can we find any personal characteristics of the participants or features of an expert group, which could support the cooperation to outlive the time span of a project? These are the main focus areas of the present article.

Background and Framework

The study is carried out within the framework of the Finnish project eAMK, the aim of which is among other things to develop a mutual digital study tray for all universities of applied sciences (UASs). The eAMK project has largely discussed the future visions of a national study offering together with the visions of the future learning ecosystems (Scheinin 2017). This is ”a golden age for universities to redefine their role in the environment of ubiquitous knowledge and intelligence” (Mulgan 2018, 175). In order to reach the project aim, ie. a flexible national online study tray of all Finnish UASes, it is crucial that the participants of the project work well together and are able to mutually understand the importance of national cooperation. These matters can be looked at by mirroring the discussions about Higher Education development on several levels. The top-down approach starts from the ideas for the future by the European Union. The fact that digitalization enables us to easily share knowledge and experiences has led to the discussions about the role and structure of HE institutions. The focus on teaching is shifting towards learning: who is teaching and where does learning take place, who is responsible for learning and what is the role of the institutions? The EU renewed agenda for higher education (COM 2017) lists three priorities for action:

  • Promoting excellence in skills development
  • Ensuring higher education institutions to be able to contribute to innovations
  • Supporting effective and efficient higher education systems

All these are crucial focus areas when learning is going to online and the institutions aim to offer high-quality online courses for the students.

OECD introduces the concept of networks within higher education on the basis of the strength of cooperation. From the looser typed of cooperation towards the more structured or intensive, they are listed as network, collaboration, alliance and merger (Williams, 2017, p.4).

Figure 1. The Summary of Concept of Networks on the basis of the Strength of the cooperation.

This approach is valuable to understand for the present eAMK project. As we are acting nationally towards a mutual online study offering, we need to understand the importance of the level our cooperation and if it has the potential to be intensified. In Finland, the universities of applied sciences are very autonomous and self-regulating as far as the structure and curricula are concerned. Therefore, it is not always a straightforward matter to unify practices or collaborate across the institutions. The structures and the funding systems do not support flexibility.

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture launched a vision for Higher Education in Finland 2030 (OKM 2018). This vision emphasizes a strong and multifaceted higher education as a change agent in the society and business structure, better ability to foresee, react and innovate. All this supports the brave initiatives to act differently and to find new paths for designing learning. This is where we understand that the national effort for the online study tray finds its rationale on the ministerial level. Finally, the concept of cooperation and networks is important not only by giving a framework for the different structural models for HEIs. It also covers another crucial point, namely how strategic networks are built and how they operate. Kantola et al. (2011, p. 185) argue that discussions about strategic networks are not only the in interest of the organizations but also of individuals. This means that it is justified to focus also on people, not only on structures. Cooperation is also noticed in several learning and strategic approaches of the HEIs, for example the innovation pedagogy developed at Turku University of Applied Sciences (Konst et al. 2018).

What has been said above, is summarized in a Figure 2 as follows:

Figure 2. Modelling new Practice for Higher Education to contribute to Innovations.

Reading from right to left, in order to contribute to innovations, HEIs should look at their strategic networks as well as the people who operate. How people operate in an expert group can be studied with the help of the model called Communities of Practice (COI). This will be focused on in the next chapter.

Expert group as a community of practice

Communities of practice (COI) is one model of an environment, in which a group of ”people share a concern, a set of problems or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on ongoing basis “ (Wenger et al. 2002). Such communities also foster mutual trial and understanding about the facts that tie together the participants (Palonen et al. 2017, p. 54). In the principals for cultivating COI Wenger brings the following elements into discussion: COIs are organic and the design elements should be catalysts for the evolution. The participation can occur on different levels and for different reasons. All live communities have a coordinator. In dynamic communities both private and public connections take place. What is important for the communities to thrive is that they deliver value for the organization, as well as for the teams and members of the community. Successful communities bring both new ideas as well as familiar topics into discussion. Finally, the communities also have a rhythm similarly as other everyday life (Wenger 2002, pp. 49‒64). We use the model of COI for further develop the evolving learning network of experts.

Method

The present study was carried out within the eAMK project. The aim of the project, the mutual learning platform, was opened in August 2018 under the name of CampusOnline.fi. It is based on the concept of the summer portal of the UASs, which has been organized for three summers. In the autumn 2018, a total of 68 courses were provided. The teachers of these courses, together with the project participants, are members of the evolving learning expert group studied here. These members are in different phases of their professional development in e-learning: less experienced teachers as well as experienced e-learning teachers, who acted as coaches and mentors within the group. All teachers were trained with a series of webinars concentrating on the good quality of e-learning. After the webinars, a two-day F2F seminar was organized, where the course materials were discussed and peer-assessed on a practical level in smaller groups. At this point, we carried out a questionnaire about the characteristics of the learning group of experts, which we considered had been evolved. The questionnaire was sent to 100 participants of the seminar and we received 44 answers.

Results

The aim of the questionnaire intervention was to study the characteristics of a learning network of experts and how such groups evolve digitally. We were also interested in the lifecycle of digital groups, when such consortia are built around a project and whether an expert group can outlive the life span of a project.

We studied what kind of people we had in the group with regard to how they experience themselves as undertaking new tasks. We found out that the participants are always enthusiastic about finding new ways of acting. They like to try out new things and the uncertainty does not seem to have an effect on their motivation and activity. The participants also experienced that the expert group is a good learning path for the professional development and a good learning forum, as the participants are in different phases in digitalization and carrying out online courses. We also found out that the participants are interested in the matters, from which they do not benefit themselves. They are willing to act across the institutional boarders in order to gain mutual benefit.

We asked an open question: what is needed for the expert group to have the potential to outlive the time span of the project? The answers were grouped under five main headings:

  1. Strategic management ‒ the activity becomes a part of the normal activities within all UASs.
  2. Resources – teachers’ resources to participate in the development nationally
  3. Clear aims and an action plan for the activity – a responsible party for the group
  4. Contacts – contacts both online and F2F
  5. Environment – a user-friendly platform

To summarize, certain characteristics of the participants, such as enthusiasm and openness for new things are prevalent in the present expertise group. The participants are also apt to work for mutual benefit. We also found out that certain characteristics of the group seem to be crucial if we expect the group to outlive the time span of the project itself. Such characteristics are, for example, strategic management, clear aims and responsibility of the group, as well as a user-friendly environment. These features coincide partly with the principles for cultivating COIs. The results provide a framework to further study these principles and how they are prevalent in the group that continues to grow during the project.

Conclusion and further studies

To answer to our main question in the beginning of this article, we think that it is possible to find characteristics of the participants or features of an expert group, which support the cooperation to outlive the time span of a project. The eAMK project has developed a loose e-learning community of experts in UASs and the network has grown through webinars and seminars carried out in the eAMK project. We have also found some characteristics that can help to further study the Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice and how the experts group will outlive the project.

The Future results may help us to understand what kind of challenges are involved in the cooperation of HIEs. As we know that the drivers for the change come from the surrounding society, the modelling of a new practice for HIE is necessary. Strategic networks are needed as well as communication and new kind of communities of practice. These can help the support HEI for innovations while keeping mind that it is people who make the connections, not the structures.

Authors

Minna Scheinin, Lic. Phil., MA(ODE), Head of Future Learning Design, Turku University of Applied Sciences, minna.scheinin(at)turkuamk.fi

Mauri Kantola, MA, Senior Advisor, Turku University of Applied Sciences, mauri.kantola(at)turkuamk.fi


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No 3/2018 Abstracts

Editorial: A step towards the future

Turo Kilpeläinen, President, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Digitisation has not only changed consumer behaviour but also the tried and tested methods of many sectors. And it goes without saying that, if it has not already done so, this shift will make an impact on the traditional structure of many higher education institutes (HEIs) Finland, in particular, has experienced the reality of demographic development alongside urbanisation processes and an ever-increasing sustainability gap in public sector funding.

As such, Finnish HEIs must carefully consider how to best go forward with the task of using public funding to generate the expertise and experts required by society. We must also think long and hard about the future role and purpose of HEIs from the perspective of both the individual and society as a whole.

It is generally accepted that HE students are mainly focussed on developing the knowledge and expertise necessary to secure their dream job. And when thinking about young students, the pressing questions are how and at what stage of their institution-based learning journey are they able to take what they have learned and apply it in the wider context of building a life of their own. In an era when it takes a just a second for a super computer to calculate the answers to a millennium’s worth of maths homework for every child in the world, we are going to need new ways of sparking their motivation to learn.

Currently, HEIs are primarily organised around the goal of completing degree-level qualifications. The paradigm shift we are experiencing, however, challenges us to make education more flexible, open, and accessible. In practice, this means we may need to tear down the foundations of the entire HE system. Not only should individual study modules be viable solutions for students pursuing a degree, but for professionals working towards CPD and job-seekers developing their expertise profile, too.

The impact of an increasingly flexible approach to higher education will inevitably bear fruit in terms of HE admissions. Indeed, courses and programmes will be opened up to everyone seeking to update their expertise. Students in Higher Education are increasingly diverse in terms of their background. Consequently, greater flexibility may mean that students are able to tailor the content of the study modules they take or their whole study plans in order to benefit from the expertise of leaders in their fields, both here in Finland and the rest of the world. In this model, the competencies that students develop are not limited by the education available at the institute they are attending. Instead, they can take advantage of a global pool of knowledge and expertise.

Predicting the future is difficult, though. When considering the impact of societal change, we may take the view that the expectations held by the state, regions, stakeholders in working life, and students in relation to HEIs will all change. That being said, we must also assume that the expectations of these actors will not necessarily be the same. The role of digitisation in facilitating accessibility and a completely new form of instruction would appear to be vitally important.

Consequently, this publication seeks to consider concrete examples of the ways in which digital developments are making an impact on teaching and learning at universities of applied sciences. The themes covered include digital competence among students, teachers’ digital pedagogical expertise, pedagogical approaches, raising the profile of universities of applied sciences, and a wide range of practical examples of learning environments and digital tools. The premise behind all this is a desire to meet the needs for expertise in professional life.

As a group of universities of applied sciences and one university, we have taken a courageous step towards the future with the development of the “eAMK” network (an e-resource for universities of applied sciences). The bringing together of HEIs in this way will hopefully foster a permanent community of expertise that transcends institutional borders. Indeed, glinting on the horizon is a new kind of network-based operational model for the entire HE sector.

 

It is all about the future digital competence

Marja Kopeli, M.A., Faculty Coordinator, Savonia University of Applied Sciences

As a part of eAMK project four universities of applied sciences (HAMK, Humak, KAMK and Savonia) made in November 2017 a Webropol inquiry for students concerning their digital skills. In the questionnaire there were 48 claims and with them the students estimated their digital skills and also estimated the importance of mentioned skills.

According to the survey the students have good skills to study in digital learning environments chosen by their home university. The UAS orientation services seem to work quite well from this point of view. Instead the students seem to need more training to lead their identity in digital world and also to gain, use and create information in digital environments. Overall the students estimated their skills lower than the importance in 80 percent of the claims.

When planning degree programme curricula the future orientation should be in an important role, also in digital skills point of view.

Co-configurative approach to digital literacies in higher education

Olli Vesterinen, Ph.D. (Ed.), Principal Lecturer, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Sara Sintonen, Adjunct Professor, Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki
Heikki Kynäslahti, Adjunct Professor, Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki
Yutaro Ohashi, Associate Professor, Nippon Institute of Technology

Digital literacy is crucial in higher education sector as well as in future work. Higher education institutions can prepare students for the world of work better if the developing of digital competences is acknowledged. Interventions in formal education are urgently needed, and more attention should be given to teacher training and in-service training in order to narrow the digital divide gap (Kaarakainen, Kivinen & Vainio 2017). The article discusses five points of digital literacy: 1. to self-evaluate or to test? (evidence) 2. perspectives (such as identity) 3. participation (agency) 4. dynamic in terms of time (development) 5. individual vs. team (peer-learning). All this connects with the digital pedagogical practices. A co-configurative approach has been developed to look beyond traditional tool-based self-evaluations, which have been the current narrative in the research on digital literacy.

The compliance of teaching and guiding with digipedagogy

Eija Heikkinen, Ph.D. (Sc.), Development Director (Education), Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

Working life requires collaboration between universities, businesses and stakeholders. Students, teachers and staff need opportunities to learn how to connect with each other to create and develop new operating models, products and services. An open business culture requires a proactive attitude towards goal-oriented collaborative development activities and allows the staff members of companies and universities to make mistakes.
The pedagogical approach of Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) is called cKAMK, where C describes the concepts of connect, create and coach. Teachers and students work in teams and use project learning methods to solve problems or to develop new products and services collaboratively. In coaching, the teacher is the expert who guides students to find the information they need. The students are responsible for learning and active participants in their work. In addition, KAMK develops a digipedagogical approach and has created a staff competence development model, which includes digital tools for the model’s connect, create and coach functions. This article describes the cKAMK approach.

A Teacher’s Role in the Midst of Digital Change

Tarmo Alastalo, M.Eng., Certified Business Coach, Senior Lecturer, Karelia UAS
Maarit Ignatius, M.A., Coordinator, Blended pedagogy, Karelia UAS

Karelia University of Applied Sciences promotes the creation of flexible study and learning opportunities and the diversification of year-round education by supporting the development of the personnel’s digital skills, change of working methods and the transforming role of a teacher. According to the strategy of Karelia UAS (2017–2020), the implementation of each study unit should form a pedagogically coherent whole that suits the learning environments used.

The objective of this systematic development of learning and study processes is both a functional and pedagogical change aiming at emphasising the student’s role in the learning process and the development of more individualised learning and study processes. The goal of the development cycles is not only to enhance the digital pedagogical skills of the teacher, but also to create new tools for the long-term guidance, counselling, teaching and evaluation of the student. One of the tools used in the development of the digital pedagogical change and in the change of the teacher’s role is the SAMR model by R.R. Puentedura (http://hippasus.com/blog/).

Online implementations by the support and assistance of eAMK project 

Kati Mäenpää, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Guidance Counsellor, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Ph.D. Student, University of Oulu
Päivi Tervasoff, M.Soc.Sc., Senior Lecturer (Social services), Special Education Vocational Teacher, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Päivi Rautio, M.H.S., Lecturer, Work Guidance Instructor (STOry), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Minna Manninen, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer, Head of Midwifery Education, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Satu Rainto, M.Sc. (Health Care), Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Jukka Kurttila, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Juha Alakulppi, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Psychotherapist, Authorised Sexologist, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Minna Perälä, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer (Midwifery and Health Care), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Marja Kinisjärvi, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer (Midwifery), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Henna Alakulju, M.Ed., Study Affairs Planning Officer (Student Services), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Jukka Savilampi, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences

A team of health and social care teachers planned a new online course (Violence against woman and domestic violence, 5 CU) to a Finnish university of applied sciences shared digital course offering, Campus Online portal. The course was planned and constructed by the support and assistance of eAMK project and its training programme. This article describes a pedagogical example of the course planning process, online implementations and co-operation. It highlights the possibilities of improving or building up new high quality online education in network, with support of a higher education professionals and working life co-operation partners.

Digital competences in the social and health care education

Anna-Leena Eklund, M.H.S., Specially Trained Nurse, Lecturer (Nursing), Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Taneli Rantaharju, M.Sc. (Tech.), Senior Lecturer, Study Programme Coordinator in intelligent systems, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Heli Ylitalo, M.H.S., Lecturer (Health and Wellbeing), Kainuu Vocational College

Reforms in social and healthcare structures and functions due to digitalisation are instituting a demand for change in healthcare provision and training. The aim of the DIGIOS project (1.3.2017–31.5.2019) implemented jointly by Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kainuu Vocational College and Kainuu Joint Municipal Social and Healthcare Authority is to develop competence in electronic health services and health technology in the region.

The project has created a multi-purpose scalable learning environment in which modern technology- assisted nursing interventions and principles can be practised. The learning environment enables cooperation between the project partners as well as the opportunity to practise multi-professional nursing. As well as nursing and healthcare, the beneficiary of the project is the engineering degree. The results of this joint development initiative are highly applicable in advanced engineering studies, in which the students gain in depth knowledge of health, wellbeing and sports technologies, among others. In addition to teaching, the learning environment will be used in supplementary training and induction for social and healthcare sector and information technology staff.

How to do things right? Blended learning in teaching ethical decision-making in health and social sciences

Soile Juujärvi, D.Pol.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

In health and social care, ethical competence is one of the core competences that is increasingly studied through E-learning. Dilemma discussions have previously been found to be the most effective method for advancing ethical decision-making. This paper introduces a pedagogical model for professional ethics course based on blended learning. Classroom teaching was combined with dilemma discussions on the digital platform. Students solved real-life ethical problems by applying professional codes, values and ethical theories. Integrated face-to-face and virtual learning engaged students in shared learning process. Threated asynchronous dilemma discussions were important for exploring theoretical knowledge. The role of the teacher was to facilitate learning and provide an example for critical discussion. The model is recommended as a highly motivating method for ethics education.

Creating a change – how does online degree education look like in the eyes of a student?

Ilona Laakkonen, M.A., eLearning Specialist, JAMK University of Applied Sciences

In 2015, we launched an online BBA programme at JAMK School of Business. Our students are motivated and have experiences from the world of work, but face the challenge of allocating their time between work, family life and studies. The past years have been an era of continuous pedagogical development and transformation for our staff. Have we succeeded? How to improve in the following years? This paper reflects these questions in the light of the student feedback and proposes present and future solutions for some of the problems common in adult online education: workload and rhythm; learning assignments and course structure; presence and social interaction. We still have room for improvement, but student responses indicate that hard work also pays off.

Distance education works well in immigrants learning of Finnish language

Kukka-Maaria Raatikainen, M.A., Senior Lecturer (Finnish and Communication), Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Anne Karuaho, M.A., Lecturer (Communication), Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Web pedagogy in learning Finnish language seems to be an effective way of learning at least when the immigrant cannot participate in traditional teaching. In Savonia University of Applied Sciences, we have developed seven courses in Finnish language and during 2018–2019 those courses will be held online. During the summer 2018, an experiment of web course in Finnish language not tied to time nor place took place in Savonia. Feedback has been mainly good: the participants felt that they have learnt many new things especially about idioms and some certain structures in Finnish. Some participants nevertheless felt that, there were not enough materials about oral language or theory about difficult subjects. It is obvious that we have to offer flexible solutions in Finnish language courses in the future also.

Immigrants getting ready for higher education studies online

Tiina Hirard, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Heidi Stenberg, M.Ed., Project Director SIMHE-Metropolia, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

This article deals with the higher education preparatory program for immigrants and its online implementation that will be carried out by nine Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences. The main objective of the online implementation is to add to the availability and accessibility of the preparatory program on the national level. Furthermore, studying online develops digital skills that are essential in today’s higher education studies and that are thus considered both as objectives and contents of the preparatory program. The pedagogical approach of the online implementation is based on co-teaching, collaborative construction of knowledge as well between students and teachers as among students, activating learning and teaching methods and continuous assessment and guidance. The online implementation can be seen not only as a new way of implementing the preparatory program but also as a new kind of cooperation and sharing know-how between higher education institutes.

Thesis process in the digital era

Merja Koikkalainen, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Marika Kunnari, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Soili Mäkimurto-Koivumaa, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

In autumn 2017, Lapland UAS launched a new multidisciplinary Master’s degree programme, Service Management in Digital Era, which is completed entirely online. The programme was designed to meet the challenges of rapidly changing working life. The multidisciplinary MONT thesis process, developed previously at Lapland UAS, was adopted for the programme’s thesis process. Most importantly, the MONT process is interdisciplinary and close to working life. MONT theses are written in small multidisciplinary groups. In an online thesis process, the students’ own activeness and responsibility throughout the process are vital. The MONT process, which is done online, is constructed such that a thesis is completed over the course of 18 months. Small thesis groups write articles on their individual development task, and students in each thematic group also compile a joint knowledge base connected to their theme as a co-creation project. Based on student feedback, satisfaction with the MONT project is connected to multidisciplinary work and the broad analysis it facilitates. Areas in need of improvement include specifying the schedule of the overall process right at the beginning of studies.

Increase personal relevance with learning diaries

Minna Jukka, D. Sc. (Econ.), M.Sc. (Tech.), Project Manager DaaS – Open Data as a Service, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Increasing digital teaching creates a need for new kinds of interaction and personal relevance with the studies. One option is self-reflection of learning by writing a learning diary that supports the forming of personal insights helping to understand and remember. Reviewing over 40 learning diary instructions suggests the best learning diary instructions are tailored to each course, and clearly outline the goals of the diary, the teacher’s expectations and its evaluation. Guiding questions are also included: what I want to learn, what I learned, what was left unclear, what this new knowledge means to me, and what thoughts it aroused. With virtual courses, and especially with adult learners, the learning diary instructions were more detailed, suggesting that self-directedness of the studies needs more detailed guidance. Therefore, the new era of digital teaching needs good guidance in learning diaries.

Master’s Students as the Developers of Communication Skills

Mervi Varhelahti, D.Ed., M.A., M.Sc. (Econ. & Bus.Adm.), Senior Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Mirjamaija Mikkilä-Erdmann, D.Ed., Professor, University of Turku, Department of Teacher Education

Changes in the world of work are posing new challenges in orientation in higher educational institutions. This study focuses on the development of adult students’ communication skills ‒ especially media choice ‒ in Master’s studies in universities of applied sciences in Finland. The approach used in this study is mixed method, combining a framework of digital communication skills to the media synchronicity theory as theoretical background. Results suggest that a stronger link to working life orientation could be achieved with a varied choice of digital communications tools in learning.

How to Learn Use of ICT Tools while Learning in Student Projects

Anu Kurvinen, M.BA., Senior Lecture, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Pasi Juvonen, D.Sc., Senior Lecturer, Head Coach, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences

Change in digitalization has been rapid. Future working life will need employees who are skilled in different areas. While educating the next generation professionals, we are teaching them capabilities to take over new ways of increasing their knowledge. There is plenty of information available. Thus, one has to be able to think critically, have skills to synthesize and put the information into action in a wise way. This article presents an example of learning environment where ICT tools are learnt in conjunction with student cooperative’s business projects. Since 2009 we have been developing a new learning environment combining studying content knowledge (theory) learning by doing (practice), and employing dialogue in knowledge sharing, knowledge creation and reflection. Adopting and learning to use ICT tools is not depending on the availability of the ICT tools or applications anymore. It’s rather a question to learn how to better utilize the free to use tools available on the market, and harnessing them in the student projects. The article presents pedagogical choices that according to our experiences are increasing the readiness of adopting ICT tools and utilizing them alongside learning business.

Profiling in the virtual world of education

Ritva Kosonen, L.Phil., Principal lecturer, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Taina Sjöholm, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Novia University of Applied Sciences

International evaluations show that Finland’s university system is still fragmented and profiles are minimal. A weakness is also that the universities of applied sciences in Finland cooperate only to a limited extent.

The eAMK project acknowledges the importance of profiling. In the autumn of 2018, the project sent a request to all universities of applied sciences asking on which areas of education the university wants to focus considering online studies.

Two of the universities expressed their desire to profile themselves in one area of education, four wanted to profile themselves in two different areas of education. For the rest (15) the wishes were divided into several areas of education. At this stage of the project, it would be challenging to try to create a clear profile of online studies for each of the universities of applied sciences.

In the long term, we should aim to improve cooperation in those areas that provide synergy effects. The work within the eAMK project has come to a good start and we look forward to a wide variety of activities in the future.

Practitioner researchers’ current and future visions of education & learning

Authors: Marcelo Giglio, Mauri Kantola, Mervi Friman, Inneke Berghmans & Manuel Peixoto.

In this Special Issue The European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL) joins forces with the Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS Journal) to highlight practitioner-researchers’ visions of future education and learning. This is the second special issue reported by EAPRIL and UAS journal (see https://uasjournal.fi/arkisto/eapril/). EAPRIL and UAS Journal both focus on research and development in education. That is, on the one hand, UAS Journal focuses on the fields of practice-oriented higher education in Finland since 2011 and, on the other hand, EAPRIL focuses on practice-based research and bridging research and practice with the aim to improve learning, both in education and organisations.

From the point of view of the higher education research, the classification proposed by Teichler (1996) may serve a good basis to analyse the themes of the articles included in this special issue. As of the beginning of the millennium, Teichler’s classification proved to be an important model for structuring higher education research (Ahola & Hoffman 2012). In addition to the classification itself, Teichler’s four areas of research have thought to include links to the different knowledge interests in various fields of science.

Teichler (1996) has argued that research on the challenges in our demanding higher educational system has an integrative task on two important stages: firstly, it aims to stimulate the use of theories, paradigms and methods of the various disciplines, and secondly to integrate knowledge concepts in different disciplines. He has pointed out that if research on higher education tries to draw from single disciplines, paradigms and spheres of higher educational research, this might be only appropriate for a minority of themes. It could also lead to artificially narrowing the scope of the subject, which is not suitable for striking the balance between theoretical insight and a sufficiently complex understanding of the object of analysis (Teichler 1996). In this sense, the Teichlerian framework (Teichler 1996, 2000, 2003) also suits our purposes when studying the included articles of our special issue, as this special issue aims for a multidimensional approach, covering various paradigms and settings.

In this issue, the pedagogical research has been popular among authors. These themes have included questions that have otherwise also sparked plenty of discussion in the public platform. Workplace orientation towards the future of students, including workplace relations and employment, has not been a particularly common topic in this edition. The classification of the articles presents clearly the profile of EAPRIL, which promotes practice-based research on learning issues in the context of initial, formal, lifelong and organisational learning. EAPRIL’s mission is to bring together persons who are interested in the connections and reflections between research and practice. (https://www.eapril.org).

* * *

Last year, EAPRIL hosted its 12th annual conference under the theme ‘Inspired by the visions of future education and learning’ in Hämeenlinna, Finland, at the Häme University of Applied Sciences in close cooperation with the Federation of Universities of Applied Sciences (FUAS). This EAPRIL 2017 Conference proved to be a rich space for creative, innovative and reflexive exchanges between delegates. It has inspired the EAPRIL Executive Board to call for papers on this important topic, looking from the past to the present, but also anticipating the future visions of education and learning based on current views and expertise. This particular focus complies with the contemporary need of the world and, consequently, with the current need of all the levels of education and training. Starting this millennium, UNESCO promoted a humanistic vision of learning based on principles as respect for life, the human dignity, the cultural diversities, the social justice and international solidarity presented. It was reported in the two landmark publications by UNESCO ‘Learning to Be’ (Faure et al. 1972) and ‘Learning: The Treasure Within’ (Delors et al. 1996). Between 2010 and 2016 several informal and formal meetings of UNESCO served as platform opportunities to reflect and present frameworks for competencies and learning objectives for Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship Education on the future of education and skills programmed by OECD. Some of the conclusions were that education needs to aim at interdisciplinary learning and students’ competencies to solve problems through multiple lenses considering an uncertain and volatile world. The publication ’The Future of Education and Skills 2030’ (OECD 2018) offers a shared vision on the advice as need for new solutions in a rapidly changing world; need for broader education goals with individual and collective well-being; learner agency – navigating through a complex and uncertain world – ; need for a broad set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in action; competencies to transform our society and shape our future; and design principles for moving toward an eco-systemic change. Giglio (2014) identifies five dimensions of educational and institutional creativity and innovation:

  • the purpose of the change as a challenge to the future,
  • the reaction to change by actors,
  • the creative action to improve the roles and skills of the actors,
  • the social interaction between individuals and partnerships, and
  • the forms of contribution to the future.

In this international context the contributions of this EAPRIL – UAS Journal Special Issue address practice-based research as a form of inquiry, to share visions, ideas and solutions that inspire the presence and future of education, while acknowledging historical-cultural backgrounds. In fact, different contributions and discussions organised at the EAPRIL 2017 Conference illustrate how our professional experiences and research are situated in this evolutional world. Step by step, we face new opportunities for human advancement in the future of education. Creating and following-up on these opportunities entail uncertain and unpredicted creativity and innovation of education and learning. However, current research can help to understand, reflect and anticipate some of these problems and/or to provide some tools and methods to improve learning. Looking back at the past years, we can sense the speediness of change experienced today. How can we consider this in the future of education and learning? How can we utilise current practitioner research as a doorway to the future? The universities of applied science have definitely a crucial role to serve in educational research. However, which designs, methods, tools and ideas are pivotal? What are (or should be) the roles of educators, developers and employees in evolutionary forms of thinking and acting of students and employees in a continued evolution of technologies?

Knowledge, working, research, teaching, and learning are never exhaustive and always evolutionary. Consequently, a future vision on education and learning cannot be but a part of the current and professional thinking and acting of educational practitioners and researchers.

This EAPRIL – UAS Journal Special Issue hopes to contribute to the development of education, curiosity, imagination, creativity and innovation by presenting ideas, perspectives and values of our contributors. Both ‘study cases’ and ‘research results’ are presented in this Special Issue, matching our aim to bridge practice and research. Both will demonstrate the important role of practice-based research as a form of inquiry, of creating and sharing visions, dreams, new ideas and innovative solutions, all with the aim to inspire both contemporary and future educational developments, while acknowledging historical-cultural backgrounds.

It was a pleasure to edit the articles of this Special Issue, which invited us to reflect and to (re)think our own understanding of education, today and tomorrow, generating new ideas on living, working, learning, teaching and research. We hope these articles can plant some seeds for new educational developments, covering our foremost aim of improving learning for the future.

Authors

Marcelo Giglio, HEP-BEJUNE, Switzerland & University of Neuchâtel
Mauri Kantola, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Mervi Friman, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Inneke Berghmans, University of Leuven/EAPRIL Project manager, Belgium
Manuel Peixoto, EAPRIL Board, Portugal


Ahola, S., & Hoffman, D. M. (2012). Higher education research in Finland – Emerging structures and contemporary issues. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylä University Press. Referred 21 May 2018: https://ktl.jyu.fi/julkaisut/julkaisuluettelo/julkaisut/2012/d103

Delors, J., Al Mufti, I., Amagi, I., Carneiro, R., Chung, F., Geremek, B., Gorham, W., Kornhauser, A., Manley, M., Padron Quero, M., Savane, M.-A., Singh, K., Stavenhagen, R., Won Suhr, M. & Nanzhao, Z. (1996). The treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the international commission on education for the twenty first century. UNESCO Publishing. Referred 25 June 2018: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001095/109590eo.pdf

Faure, E., Herrera, F., Kaddoura, A.-R., Lopes, H., Petrovsky, A. V., Rahnema, M. & Champion Ward, F. (1972). Learning to be. The world of education today and tomorrow. UNESCO. Referred 25 June 2018: http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/15_60.pdf

Giglio, M. (2014). Five dimensions to study teacher education change for improving musical creative learning. Journal for Educators, Teachers, & Trainers 5 (1), 80–89. Referred 21 May 2018: http://jett.labosfor.com/index.php/jett/article/view/172

OECD, (2018). The Future of Education and Skills 2030. Referred 25 June 2018: http://www.oecd.org/education/2030/E2030%20Position%20Paper%20(05.04.2018).pdf

Teichler, U. (1996). Comparative higher education studies: Potentials and limits. Higher Education 32 (4), 431–465. Referred 21 May 2018: http://euroac.ffri.hr/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Teichler1996-1.pdf

Teichler, U. (2000). Higher education research and its institutional basis. In S. Schwarz and U. Teichler (eds.), The institutional basis of higher education research – Experiences and perspectives. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 13–24.

Teichler, U. (2003). The future of higher education and the future of higher education research. Tertiary Education and Management, 9, 171–185.

Insights of brain research in education – music practice and embodiment to enhance learning

Author: Minna Huotilainen.

Abstract

Recent developments in brain research methodology allow the use of neuroscientific methods in natural learning situations in order to monitor learning while it happens, which makes neuroscience a relevant tool for educational sciences.

The paper discusses the role of neuroscience in understanding learning, shows how the variations in the learner’s physiological status can be measured, and discusses their effect on learning.

Two important lines of neuroscientific research in education are discussed in more detail. First, the benefits of using music in learning are presented from the brain development and plasticity point of view. Second, studies on the use of embodied learning methods are presented, highlighting the role of physical activity, craft and design activities in developing embodied cognitive capacities.

Finally, future trends of neuroscience in learning are presented, drafting a future where neuroscience has an empowering role in the everyday lives of learners. Understanding individual learning and physiological states may change the way that we organize learning.

Introduction

The decade of the brain, the 1990’s, was the advent of neuroscientific methodologies in a large scale. Funding invested in the development of accurate and usable, non-invasive and precise neuroscientific measurement instruments, devices, systems, and methodologies paid off, and multi-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements, magnetoencephalography (MEG) with whole-head systems, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, fMRI) and navigated transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (NBS and TMS) became possible in hundreds and later in thousands of research laboratories around the world.

After the decade of the brain, the neuroscientific devices have taken two opposite paths of development. First, laboratories are investing in more and more accurate devices, including higher magnetic field strengths in MRI and fMRI, very large number of electrodes in EEG and hundreds of channels in MEG, and combinations of adjacent or even simultaneous measurements with different methods. This high-precision line of development makes the results far greater in temporal and/or spatial accuracy and can thus reveal new details of brain structure and function. It should be noted, however, that this development is restricted solely to laboratory settings. For this reason, the second path of device and method development has taken the opposite turn. With a very fast preparation, mobile and affordable devices based often on EEG or other physiological electric signal recorded from skin surface with electrodes or light, offer the possibility to move to the locations of natural environments, schools, day-care centers, work places or even outside, and study real-life events. With this natural-environment path, the temporal and spatial accuracy of the experiment usually cannot be as good as in the laboratory setting, but this is compensated by the natural environment, natural stimulation, and larger amounts of data collected easily from large groups of people even simultaneously and for extended periods of time, sometimes even by the participants themselves.

Both of these development paths, extreme accuracy in laboratory settings and maximal naturalness in real-life settings, are important for learning research. In laboratory settings, the brain indices of key cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory, and learning can be accurately studied in isolation and basing the studies on the large amount of prior data collected from the same processes in earlier research. Such studies can reveal phenomena that could not be observed without accurate neuroscientific data. An example of studies in both paths, with high relevance for understanding learning, are presented here.

A good example of laboratory-based studies crucial for understanding learning is that of Näätänen et al. (1993). They studied the process of learning to perceive a complex sound (fast mini-melody) and to detect minor changes in the sound (Näätänen et al., 1993). In the first experiment, they gave their fourteen participants a test of detection accuracy asking them to press the button every time they observed a change in the sound. The test was performed three times after being passively exposed to the sounds for 30, 60, and 90 minutes. Five participants could perform the task adequately, while two participants could not detect the changes in the sounds. Interestingly, seven participants learned to detect the changes during the experiment (their performance in detection improved from the beginning to the end of the experiment). In their second experiment, they tested fourteen new participants only once after being passively exposed to the sounds for 90 minutes.

This laboratory-based experiment yielded several interesting and important results. First, the brain responses of the three groups of performers in the first experiment differed drastically from each other. Those five participants who could perform the task already in the initial test showed fast and clear brain responses to the changes, while the brain responses of those who learned to detect the changes improved step by step. Importantly, their brain responses showed increases prior to the learning being evident in their performance, highlighting the possibilities of neuroscience to detect skills that have not yet materialized in the behavior of the learner. Further, no improvement was seen in the brain responses of the participants of the second experiment which involved only passive exposure, highlighting the importance of testing and the power of attentive listening in learning.

A good example of maximal naturalness in real-life learning situations is that of Leinikka et al. (2016). We studied the physiological responses of artists and art students while they were drawing and forming clay in a studio. Here, data from 30 participants were collected during the actual process of drawing and forming, while wearing portable sensors (Faros, Mega Electronics, Finland) capable of recording the full electrocardiogram and accelerometers (Actigraph, GENEActiv, Finland) on their both wrists for hand movement detection. In a quasi-controlled situation, the participants performed three different given tasks (copying based on a photo of a cup, designing a cup, and free improvisation). The cardiac activity measures, especially those reflecting the activity of the autonomous nervous system, showed interesting connections to both the material and to the task that the participants were performing. Working with the clay was physically more demanding than drawing, which was reflected in several heart-rate variability (HRV) parameters. The greatest amount of free mental resources was observed in the design and improvisation tasks in fast drawing compared to any other task. The results suggest that free improvisation involving drawing fast, improvised works, seems to be the most effective way of freeing mental resources. The HRV effects were consistent with the participants’ own views of physical and mental stress. This study shows that even demanding learning tasks related to creative work can be studied with physiological methods in conditions that greatly resemble natural learning situations.

The two experiments above are presented in order to highlight the possibilities of neuroscientific and physiological measurements in understanding learning processes. A good knowledge of the brain indices of memory, attention and perception in laboratory-based settings allows researchers to move away from laboratories and to study learning in real-life situations. Results from physiological studies highlight the importance of building motivation, states of flow, collaboration, and goal-directed actions in learning, and the importance of the awareness of the physiological state of the learner (see below). Such studies also show the harmfulness of poor learning environments, including acoustic and visual noise, for learning (see below). For the first time in history, we now have the tools to monitor learning while it happens, and to see how the brain reacts to different types of learning environments, learning methods, and physiological conditions. This makes neuroscience a relevant tool for educational sciences.

Below I will present some examples and the most relevant approaches from neurosciences to education and learning.

Neuroscience of learning environments

Learning environments have important physical and mental characteristics that give boundary conditions for learning. Studying distractions caused by sudden sounds in the environment have shown that surprising, unpredictable sounds make learning less efficient. Every time a sound starts in the environment, even when the learner is not paying attention to it or does not feel distracted by the sound, the auditory system will invest some resources in analyzing the sound acoustic properties. These analysis processes are partially unconscious and have developed in order for the auditory system to be able to detect potential dangers in the environment.

The most distracting background sound stimulus in learning situations is intelligible speech. Speech that can be understood will load the phonetic loop of the brain, which is also needed in reading, writing, and speaking. In contrast, unintelligible babble does not load the phonetic loop.

Interestingly, listening to background music during learning may be beneficial for some learners. In most studies, listening to fast and pleasant music prior to learning has been shown to enhance learning and performance in cognitive tests, while results from studies researching the effects of listening to music while learning are more mixed.

Acoustic characteristics of learning spaces affect learning. Long reverberation times and high background noise levels decrease speech intelligibility and increase the effort needed to achieve learning.

Also visual noise in learning environments can be disturbing to learning. Observing movement especially in the peripheral areas of the visual field gives rise to distractions. Such problems are far fewer in smaller rooms and smaller group sizes.

The key importance of the physiological state for learning

The physiological state can be defined as a combination of the operating modes of the physiological systems in the human body, including the autonomous and central nervous systems and especially the hypothalamus-pituitary-axis, the hormonal systems, the cardiac and blood circulation systems, breathing, and muscle movements including blinking. Most typically, these systems follow the emotional state and physical activity of the individual, optimizing the mental and physical performance for each condition.

The cardiac system is a fast-reacting system that reflects the presence of both physical stressors like movement and physical activity, and mental stressors like fear or anxiety. The activity of the cardiac system is most typically investigated by recording the electro-cardiogram (ECG), an electric signal originating from the heart muscle and nerves that accurately depicts the fast and slow regulatory changes in the activity of the heart. For example, the heart-rate variability (HRV) is the natural fluctuation in the beat-to-beat (R-R) intervals of the heart. It reflects the current activity status of the sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomous nervous system. Increased mental stress leads to decreased HRV, which is a sign of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and a decrease in the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is typically associated with faster heart rate, higher muscular tension, faster breathing, and feeling tense, irritated and/or restless. Generally, short-term increase in HRV is associated with relaxation, openness and positive mental efforts, while long-term high levels of HRV are related to good health. Previous studies (Cinaz et al., 2013) have shown that several time- and frequency-domain HRV measures are relevant in tracking the interaction between cognitive and physiological processes. It should be noted that while levels of physiological arousal and stress are highly correlated with these physiological signals, there is no measure of the direction of the emotional valence, i.e. is the learner experiencing positive or negative emotions.

The variations in the learner’s physiological status are highly important in characterizing the learning. States of flow are the most optimal physiological states of learning, and feelings of fear, threat or other strong negative emotions, as well as low-activity negative emotions like boredom are not boosting or enabling learning. It is important to note that these can be measured and recognized, both in individual learners and in groups of learners, with non-intrusive, low-cost devices, and this information can be used to guide learning. Specifically, choosing the learning methods, environments, groups, goals and tasks of learning could be directly based on the physiological data of the learners. Such data could be empowering to the learners and guide them in understanding and optimizing their own learning.

Maestro, music, please! How could music enhance learning?

The benefits of using music in learning have been shown both from the brain development and plasticity point of view, showing benefits of long-term practicing to play a musical instrument or to sing, but also in terms of short-term benefits altering one’s physiological state by listening to carefully chosen music.

Several studies have shown the long-term benefits of learning music: the musician’s brain in terms of cortical and subcortical capacity, connections, both in structure and function, are used as an example of learning benefits of music activities. Adult musicians’ brains show changes that seem beneficial both in young and old age. Long-term cognitive benefits of music learning have been shown in small children (Hyde et al., 2009; Putkinen et al., 2014a), school-aged children (Putkinen et al., 2014b), and hearing-impaired children (Torppa et al., 2014a, 2014b). Minor deficiencies in language processing have been shown to be alleviated with group music activities (Kraus et al., 2015; Overy et al., 2000; 2003). All in all, learning to sing and play a musical instrument has plastic effects on the brain that make it easier to learn other things.

Music is very fast in changing the physiological state. Already after some dozens of seconds of listening to music, physiological changes in bodily functions can be measured. Thus, carefully chosen music is a potential tool for changing the physiological state towards a more optimal state for learning. Many learners practically know how to use music to help their learning: they listen to their favorite, fast, energizing music before doing their homework to motivate themselves, or reduce stress by listening to calming, pleasant music (Saarikallio et al., 2013). Conscious use of music prior to or even during learning may help some learners, but it can also be distracting. It is important to note that the effects of music vary largely across individuals according to their distractability and history of music listening. Individuals with musical training are more often distracted by background music during learning than others, while individuals with attentional problems seem to benefit from background music more often than other learners.

Embodied learning occurs in the brain with the help of the body

Embodied cognition can be defined as a dependency and shaping of human cognition by its interaction with its environment by using the body (Johnson, 1987; 2007; Lakoff & Johnson, 1999; Noë, 2004; 2009). Action and perception appear as key methods in knowledge formation, creativity, and learning. Hence, neuroscientific research related to embodiment and motor activities demonstrate how motor processes are connected to cognitive functions (Borghia & Cimattic, 2010; Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004). Embodied cognition is reflected in the research paradigms and research designs of cognitive science, when researchers study the human-environment system as well as the situated and embodied nature of human cognition (Hari & Kujala, 2009).

Craft and design activities are complex brain activities that allow part of our cognitive capacities to be located in an embodied space, between the brain and the hands, and between brains and hands of groups of people. Utilizing craft and design as learning methods is making use of embodied capabilities of the learners.

Physical activity during learning and as a lifestyle have been shown to affect learning capabilities and especially memory functions. Interventions of physical activity are shown to increase learning results both in school children and in the elderly. Increase of physical activity was also shown to increase the volume of the hippocampus and enhance memory functions.

Several neuroscientific studies presented above and elsewhere reflect the importance of the active use of the body, in crafts, in design, and in physical activity in general, for the optimisation of learning. The applications of this knowledge, however, are not straightforward and need pedagogical development in order to succeed. Potential caveats include auditory and visual distraction when physical movement is not relevant or guided.

Future use of neuroscience in learning and education

The future use of neuroscience in understanding learning include research at several levels. First, highly accurate simulations of learning events, occurring in brain research laboratories with precision instruments, offer new insight into the details of learning processes. Second, experiments in natural conditions in schools, day-care centers, universities and work places will help us understand a holistic view of learning, taking into account different learning methods, learning spaces and inter-individual differences in a much more detailed fashion than ever before. In the future, it is possible that schools want to utilize such measurements when planning large-scale changes like changes of learning environments, or when aiming at solving problems in learning. Third, neuroscientific measurements may become a normal part of the daily lives of learners. We can compare this development to the treatment of diabetes: currently, the measurement of blood sugar level is something that diabetic individuals do every day, even though some decades ago it was not possible to get such information so quickly. In the future, each learner may want to have information on his/her brain activity, physiological status, and learning in order to optimize learning efforts and outcomes. Solutions for making the measurement easy and the data analysis automatic are becoming more and more efficient. It is just a matter of time when we have such devices and possibilities for every learner.

Understanding individual learning and physiological states may change the way that we think about learning and how we organize it. This information may profoundly change the way that we understand what learning actually is. Such changes will also demand large-scale changes in schools and in education, in their environments and how the whole educational system is organized.

Author

Minna Huotilainen, D.Sc., Professor of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland


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Risk Competence Training Intervention with Airport Security Professionals

Authors: Ab Bertholet, Nienke Nieveen & Birgit Pepin.

Abstract

Risk decisions by professionals in safety and security regularly appear to be made more irrationally and biased than effectively and efficiently. A sector where fallacies in risk decision making constitute a key issue for management is airport security. In this article we present the results of an exploratory mixed methods study regarding the question: How and to what extent can we train professionals, in order to help them make smarter risk decisions? This study is designed as a controlled experiment, after qualitative preliminary phases with interviews and document analysis. The main conclusion is that the workshops we offered to airport security agents had a positive effect on the awareness and risk decisions of the intervention group. Next to the awareness effect, the intervention group showed less biased self-evaluation and was capable of identifying individual, collective and organisational points for improvement. We mute that these results should only be considered as first indications of effect. As the experiment was embedded in the normal working day of the security agents, the context variables entirely could not be controlled. With a combination of quantitative and qualitative data we tried to compensate this as much as possible.

1 Introduction

Risk management is a critical task in the fields of safety and security. This is the daily work of many thousands of professionals in healthcare and rehabilitation, child welfare, transport, industry, the police and fire services, events management, and prevention of terrorism. The decisions on risk are aimed at increasing safety and security, and at limiting potential damage. For some professions risk management is core business, but most often it is a secondary responsibility. In daily practice however, risk decisions made by professionals in various sectors regularly appear to be made more irrationally and biased than effectively and efficiently. In this article, we present a generic process model of biased risk decision making by professionals in safety and security management, derived from scientific literature and empirical practice. It provides generic insights into a general problem with human factors in risk management practice.

In this study we are concentrating on the example of security checks at the international airport of Amsterdam, in the form of a randomised controlled experiment with a risk competence training. The focus is on effective learning of risk decision making skills. The central question of the experiment was: How and to what extent can we train professionals, in order to help them make smarter (i.e. more rational, effective and efficient) risk decisions? In the subsequent sections, we describe the preliminary study, the design of the training and the experiment, and we present the results of the study. Finally, the effect of the intervention is discussed.

2 Process Model of Biased Risk Decision Making

Over past decades proof of mental obstacles and reflexes that hinder rational (risk) decision making can be found in numerous studies on this topic. Although the issue is well-known and support tools (e.g. protocols and checklists) are available, in daily practice all kinds of professionals are making risk decisions that are unsatisfactory, i.e. partly or entirely ineffective or inefficient (Bertholet, 2016a, 2016b). The main sources of bias found in the literature are insufficient numeracy and risk literacy. Increasing the professionals’ theoretical knowledge by teaching reckoning and clear thinking is no conclusive remedy for professional practice and cognitive biases cannot be cured on a cognitive level only (Kahneman, 2011). Specific risk competence training is even more important (Gigerenzer, 2003, 2015).

Our concept of risk competence including a process model of biased risk decision making (as displayed in Figure 1) is based on a theoretical and empirical literature review (Bertholet, 2016b).

Figure 1. Process model with indicators of Risk Competence and biases (Bertholet, 2016b, 2017).

From common risk management models, we focus on the two critical phases where fallacies lurk: 1. the analysis or judgement phase, and 2. the decision-making phase. In the safety and security domain, there are two main methods of risk analysis: calculation and estimation. Both methods can be distorted by mental patterns and fallacies in the human brain. The extent to which professionals are able to apply available methods and instruments of risk assessment we call risk intelligence (Evans, 2012). On the basis of their risk analysis, professional risk managers take a risk decision whether or not to implement a particular intervention. Biases also occur within the risk decision itself. If professionals react effectively and efficiently, then they are said to have a high level of risk skill.

In the model, we consider Risk Intelligence (RI) as the indicator of risk analysis and Risk Skill (RS) as the indicator of risk decision making. The product of both indicators we call Risk Competence (RC), which is the overall indicator for risk management: RC = RI x RS. (Evans, 2012; Gigerenzer, & Martignon, 2015; Bertholet, 2016b). Based on field interviews and the literature (Kahneman, 2011; Gigerenzer, 2003; Dobelli, 2011, 2012; Bertholet, 2016b, 2017), we selected eleven biases for our study that we regarded as most relevant for safety and security practice. To illustrate the process model, cartoons of all eleven biases were designed and are presented in an animated 9-minute video: https://youtu.be/4rWPppdJ3YQ. The eleven biases are clustered into three groups.

Calculation biases

Numbers and percentages appear to express a risk in a quantitative and precise manner. In practice, professionals find it hard to grasp the precise meaning of chance, probability and other quantitative data. Paulos (1988), Kahneman, & Tversky (1979), Gigerenzer (2003), and Kahneman (2011) have been writing for decades about ‘innumeracy’, caused by cognitive illusion. Conditional and extremely small probabilities, statistical argumentation and causality biases cause the biggest problems in ‘reckoning with risk’ (Gigerenzer, 2003).

Estimation biases

Risks that cannot be calculated must be estimated. That is for example often the case with social safety (Gigerenzer, 2003; Dobelli 2011, 2012). In risk analysis, professionals often seek confirmation of risks they are already aware. The danger is that in focusing on a single risk profile, they may miss the bigger picture. This is known as confirmation bias. Authority bias occurs when a professional, who is either higher in the hierarchy, or more experienced, is not corrected by colleagues despite their superior analysis. It is assumed that the authority’s analysis is more accurate. The overconfidence effect is the mirror image of authority bias. Even experienced professionals can sometimes wrongly assume that they are correct. They may overvalue their own capacities, or the probability of success of a project, and they may underestimate the risks involved. Availability bias in the analysis phase causes professionals to trust readily available information about risk rather than to be aware of less visible data.

Decision biases

Because of biases, fallacies, thinking errors or distortions, which appear in the analysis phase, optimal and rational judgements can no longer be made during the decision phase. Apart from this, also in the decision phase biases lurk when it comes to determine whether the risk analysis suggests intervention and if so, which one (Gigerenzer, 2003; Dobelli 2011, 2012). At this point, confirmation bias of a second type can arise. When a professional’s assessments are endorsed, greater and more dangerous risks may be ignored. In the decision phase, we can also see a fallacy, which we call availability bias of the second type. Professionals tend not to choose the best intervention or therapy or policy; they choose the remedy they already know, the one that is at the forefront in their mind. Hindsight bias is a fallacy exhibited by more than just professionals. It may also affect public opinion, the media and politicians more deeply. Subsequently, it is easy to conclude that something else should have happened or that action should have been taken earlier.

3 Study with airport security agents: Context analysis

A sector where fallacies in risk analysis and decision making constitute a key issue for management, is airport security. In the control of passengers and hand luggage in civil aviation, security agents are deployed to prevent persons or objects on board which may endanger the safety on board airplanes. Agents make risk decisions about passengers and luggage items, by classifying persons, behaviour, situations and objects as safe, suspicious or dangerous. Their critical operational tasks in risk decision making are displayed in Figure 5. The quality indicators of the airport security operation are measured by inspections and by sampling. Samples are dangerous or otherwise prohibited items carried by so called ‘mysterious guests’ on their body or in their hand luggage, which must then be intercepted by the security agents.

Improving security agents’ performance in risk decision making could make a significant contribution to the security of the airport. Although there is a focus on avoiding fallacies during the agents’ initial training and afterwards in periodic training, the problem of fallacies in the process of decision making often remains. Hence, human factors in airport security are considered a systematic, thus predictable weak link (Kahneman, & Tversky, 1979; Gigerenzer, 2003; Ariely, 2008; Kahneman, 2011; Dobelli, 2011, 2012). This is why we set up our study at the request of an airport security company.

First, we investigated the context and the target group of security professionals via observation, and interviews, and document analysis (e.g. manuals, working instructions, procedures, training materials). Based on the findings of the preliminary study we transferred the generic model (Figure 1) into an empirical model for the specific professional domain of the airport security agent, by ranking the biases by relevance. We identified confirmation, availability, authority, overconfidence and hindsight bias as crucial fallacies. For security agents in the analysis phase the focus was on estimation, more than on calculation. Furthermore, particular preconditions and stress factors apply to the decision-making process, such as time and peak pressure. What the critical professional tasks had in common was that they had been carried out according to established procedures, and that meta-level vigilance of agents was required to watch simultaneously specific indicators for deviant of suspicious behaviour (Figure 3). These included for example luggage that did not seem to fit the specific passenger or a passenger who seemed to be extremely hurried, curious or otherwise behaved differently.

4 Training intervention design

This section describes the design of the training intervention, including its objectives, the underlying training concepts, and corresponding features. The intervention focused on two goals for the short term, set jointly by the security company and the research team: (a) agents performing better at selected critical professional tasks and (b) defining performance norms for agents’ performance. The specific learning goals of the training intervention for the security agents were: (a) to acquire knowledge of common fallacies in assessing risks and making risk decisions; (b) to recognise and be aware of these errors in their own work and behaviour; (c) to explore opportunities to avoid or reduce fallacies in the context of their own work.

Conceptual dimensions

The design of the intervention was based on four concepts regarding vocational learning, respectively learning in general: competence based learning (Mulder, 2000), self-responsible learning (Schön, 1983; Zimmerman, 1989), collaborative learning (Vygotsky, 1997) and concrete learning (Hattie, 2009; De Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, 2015).

Competence-based learning refers to the European Qualifications Framework for Life Long Learning (European Commission, n.d.), where competences are regarded as a third qualification area, next to knowledge and skills. For risk decision making in general and therefore also for the security checks at airports, awareness of fallacies and cognitive biases is essential. Both competence-based learning and self-responsible learning require awareness of the bias effect of human intuition and perception. The theoretical dimension of self-responsible learning focuses on self-regulation, the professionalising effect on the individual (Schön, 1983; Vygotsky, 1997). Professionals who want to improve their work performance must be able to reflect on their professionalism. ’Reflective practitioners’ (Schön, 1983), can evaluate their own actions at a metacognitive level and have a picture of the path that brings them to the level of the professionals that they would like to be. Self-constructs such as self-esteem and self-efficacy are important indicators in this context, which we used as a measure of the professionals’ self-image (Bandura, 1977; Zimmerman, 1989; Judge, & Bono, 2001; Ryan, & Deci, 2009). Where scores on an assignment or a test can be considered as an external measure of risk competence, self-scores by professionals themselves can be an internal mirror image. For that reason, we asked security agents to score their own self-esteem and self-efficacy (Table 2). Self-esteem refers to the more general ratings for the professional’s performance level and stage of professional development. Self-efficacy is the belief in someone’s own capacity to succeed at specific tasks (ibid).

Collaborative learning in strong partnership with others offers opportunities to achieve better results compared to individual learning, as long as applicable design principles are respected (Valcke, 2010; Johnson, & Johnson, 2009; Hattie, 2009). The instructional principle of ‘concrete learning’ (Hattie, 2009; De Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, 2015) claims a better learning achievement when working with realistic cases and training materials from practice, rather than with academic and theoretical exercises. This means that agents needed to recognise and acknowledge assignments and case studies as originating from and relevant to their daily work. For the dimensions of competence-based and collaborative learning, authentic rather than academic content might have had a positive effect mainly on the motivation of the agents (Ryan, & Deci, 2009). Specific choices in the intervention design (e.g. visualisation as an instructional strategy, group assignments as a metacognitive reflection strategy) were based on insights of concrete learning as well (Hattie, 2009; Gigerenzer, 2015; Kirschner, 2017).

A teaching strategy that is built on spaced learning, repetition, cyclical training of the right way of thinking and decision making, can ensure retention and securing the learning achievement. Training in groups can also lead to more active and metacognitive processing (Hattie, 2009; De Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, 2015; Johnson, & Johnson, 1999). We used these principles in the instructional strategies and methods, as well as in the production of all the training materials: Figures 2, 3 and 4.

Content of the intervention

The training offered to an intervention group of about sixty agents consisted of two workshop sessions and an extensive training of four weeks, with one risk decision to be responded to by the participants every weekday. An intervention group and a control group both completed a pre-test and a post-test.

From the preliminary study, we compiled an inventory of problematic risk decisions as they occurred in the daily practice of the airport. Based on this inventory, we developed the training material: 50 test items around mini-cases, each with one realistic risk decision from daily practice. In addition, the biases from the generic process model were visualized in cartoons (Figure 2) and the ‘suspicious indicators’ were transformed into pictograms (Figure 3). We changed the traditional way of knowledge transfer in the form of written or spoken text by visual transfer media containing the essential points (Figures 2, 3).

We transferred the eleven cognitive biases from the generic process model (Figure 1) into cartoons, which define the respective fallacies – symbolically, exemplarily and in an instantly recognisable manner, straighter than written text can do. Figure 2 is an example of this (Confirmation bias Type I). In risk analysis, safety and security professionals often look for confirmation of risks they are already aware of. The danger is that in focusing on a single risk profile they may miss the bigger picture. This is known as confirmation bias (Dobelli, 2011). It occurs in all kinds of profiling activities, from police surveillance to intelligence and security services. It is not a theoretical concept, but the metaphor in the drawing should help the professionals recognising the situation and apply it in their own practice. In the training session, we discussed the situation in the cartoon with the agents and asked them to apply it to their own daily practice: “What kind of risks in the bigger picture do my colleagues and I overlook, by focusing on common risks that are more likely to occur?”

Figure 2. Confirmation bias Type I in the analyses phase (MYRAAAB, 2016)

We replaced the signs of specific suspicious behaviour or situations at the airport by icons, which should provide a mental shortcut, in order to help the agents recognising the situations. A visual stimulus can lead to a risk decision response via a shorter route (Gigerenzer, 2015).

Figure 3. Visualisation of indicators of deviant behaviour or dangerous intentions (MYRAAAB, 2016).

For the extensive training part with daily test items, we took photos of the security operation at the airport, along with the suspicious indicators: screenshots of the X-ray scanner and security scan, and photographs of hand luggage. For privacy reasons, we did not use any pictures of real passengers. Instead, students played the roles of passengers, and with photos from the public domain (Google) we were able to create a wide variety of ‘passengers’ as well as realistic test questions.

During the first workshop, conceptual knowledge was introduced in the form of cartoons of selected fallacies. No underlying theory was offered, we drew attention to the fallacy embodied in the cartoons. Then the agents were invited to link to their own practice and their own behaviour, in group assignments. The assignments focused on finding individual and collective answers to some key questions about awareness, responsibility, signalling, limiting conditions, professional reflection and teamwork. As a final group assignment in the second workshop, the agents were asked to optimise the airport security filter by redesign.

5. Design of the mixed methods study

Figure 5 shows the five phases of the study, with preliminary study (1), pre- (2) and post-test (5), intensive (3) and extensive (4) training. The training interventions (3 and 4) were offered to the intervention group only, the tests (2 and 5) were performed by both the intervention and the control group. In our mixed methods study we also used triangulation, in order to obtain more balanced indications of the intervention effects (Creswell, 2013).

Figure 4. Phases of the study.

Interviews and context analysis

First we carried out a preliminary study (1), in the form of interviews, document analysis and observation of the security operation at one of the departure terminals of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With twenty-one iterative, semi-structured interview sessions with employees and managers of the airport security company, sampling all operational and management levels, we collected facts and opinions on working procedures, performance indicators, judgement and decision making, workplace optimisation. The interviews (30–60 minutes each) were recorded and analysed with respect to selected topics: (reported) key factors for success and critical competences; professional attitude; specific tasks, judgements and decisions; personal and team biases. With these key topics, in combination with information on working routines and procedures from document analysis (e.g. manuals and in company training materials), we selected the biases most likely to occur at the airport security check. This selection we used both for creating test items and workshop materials. We also made a study of the procedures and work instructions, the key performance indicators and the service level agreement between the airport and the security company. At the end of the preliminary study, we identified four professional operations, which were confirmed by the respondents as critical tasks, covering the complete process of judgement and risk decision making by the security agents (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Critical professional operations of airport security agents

Randomised controlled experiment

The experiment (Figure 4) was designed as a randomised controlled trial, with intervention and control groups, pre- and post-tests. For this study we drew a random sample of 10 percent of all security agents from the security company (n=120). This sample of 120 employees we assigned randomly to an intervention group and a control group (n=60/60). Prior to the training intervention, we developed two similar tests with nine specific (part 1) and six general risk decision items (part 2), as pre- and post-test. Part 3 of the tests consisted of questions on self-constructs (self-esteem and self-efficacy) and background variables. Intervention (IG) and control groups (CG) were both put to the pre- and post-test. Only the intervention group was offered an intensive and an extensive training in between the two tests, the control group did not receive any specific treatment (Figure 5). The intensive first part of the training intervention was offered to the agents of the IG in groups of 10 to 15 people, in a standard training room at the airport. The agents were taking part in two workshops of three hours each, with a short interval of less than two weeks. All workshops were led by the same two trainers from Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. After the workshops, we offered an extensive training to the agents of the IG. They received one test item per day via email, on weekdays, for a period of four weeks. Test items were similar to the nine specific risk decisions of the pre- and post-tests. In total the IG agents were asked to respond to 20 email items. We collected qualitative data from the interviews (Figure 4, step 1) and from the workshop sessions (Figure 4, step 3). During the sessions the members of the intervention group shared their professional opinions, both orally and written, both individually and in small groups.

6 Findings

In this section, we present the quantitative and qualitative results of the experiment.

Quantitative results

Table 1 shows descriptive statistics of the research groups, as well as the results of a number of independent t-tests on differences between the control group and the intervention group. The (categories of) variables are:

  1. Background characteristics: gender (fraction of males), age (in years), function (fraction agents vs team leaders), country of birth (fraction Netherlands – NLD vs other);
  2. Education and work experience: education level (ascending levels of Dutch intermediate vocational education; fraction mbo2, mbo3, mbo4 vs others) and work experience (in years).

There were no significant differences between the two research groups; this was an expected result of a randomised allocation of participants among the intervention and control groups. The intervention group contained more men (64% vs 51%) and more agents were native Dutch (i.c. born in The Netherlands: 75% vs 64%). Differences in average age (≈ 34 years) and position (≈ 75% agents vs ≈ 25% team leaders) were small. Professionals in the intervention group were higher educated and more experienced (+ .41 year on ≈ 6.5 years of experience in average).

Table 1. Comparison of Intervention and Control Group based on Post-test Results.

In Table 2 the two groups after the post-test are compared:

  1. Scores on the post-test: average number of correct answers to the specific risk decisions (airport security, 9 items) and general risk decisions (6 items), and the total of both categories (15 items).
  2. SEf is the indicator of professionals’ self-efficacy in the three categories (specific and general test items, and the total of both). Respondents estimated their own competence after completing the post-test. The fourth indicator of self-efficacy we used was a yes/no response to the question whether the agent felt she was making better risk decisions than she did two months earlier during the pre-test.
  3. Two indicators of self-esteem (SEst): self-positioning compared with colleagues (scale from low 1 to high 10), self-assessment on level of professional development (% 0–100).

Post-test scores on the risk decisions test did not show any significant differences between the research groups. Control group members had a higher score on specific airport risk decisions, and on the total of the post-test. The intervention group members’ score was higher at general risk decisions. All agents had a higher percentage of correct answers to the specific airport risk decisions (≈ 7.5 of 9 = 83%), compared with general risk decisions (≈ 2.8 of 6 = 47%). Significant differences occurred in the self-construct scores. In both groups, the self-efficacy scores were substantially overestimating the test scores on general risk decisions, the overestimation by control group members was almost twice as high as that of the intervention group members. Self-efficacy at specific airport risk decisions was almost accurate in both groups. The self-esteem scores (scale 1–10 position compared to colleagues and stage in professional development on a 0–100%-scale) were higher in the control group. Intervention group members were about 15 month younger, higher educated, more experienced (all in Table 1) and had a more modest self-esteem (Table 2).

Table 2. Comparison of Intervention and Control Group based on Post-test Results.

Significance on 10%, 5% and 1% level (*p<.10, **p<.05, ***p<.01)

Extensive training 1-item test

After the workshop sessions, the intervention group (valid n = 35) underwent extensive training for four weeks, with a daily 1-item test on weekdays. In that period, each participant received twenty questions in total (Figure 4). Of the 700 items that were deployed in this way, we received 381 correct answers (72%) of a tot al of 527 replies. On average, every agent answered 15 of the 20 questions, of which 11 (73%) answers were correct. That score was somewhat higher than the average 10 correct answers (68%) that the intervention group gave on the post-test. The 1-item tests consisted only of specific airport risk decisions.

Table 3. Effect of Intervention ‘Security Performance’ on Intervention Group.

Significance on 10%, 5% and 1% level (*p<.10, **p<.05, ***p<.01)

Table 3 shows the effect of the intervention on the intervention group: there was a significant difference (.949) between the total test scores of post-test (10.25) and pre-test (9.30). The effect size, expressed as Cohen’s d, is .5. This measure indicates to what extend the training intervention has ‘made a difference’, by comparing the standardised means of pre-test and post-test of the intervention group. An effect size of .5 is usually regarded as a small to medium size effect of an intervention. According to Hattie (2009) .5 can be considered a medium to high effect, for educational interventions in particular. Due to too many missing values in the pre-test data of the control group, a valid difference in differences [(post-test minus pre-test of IG = .949) – (post-test minus pre-test of CG)] analysis was not possible.

Finally, the valid N in this study is smaller than expected. This was partly caused by operational issues: agents who were scheduled, but could not participate in the workshop sessions, for various reasons. No-shows are an issue too in the pre- and post-tests, as we saw in the extensive training of the 1-item test. The operational planning of the security company is a very complicated process. Furthermore, the energy level and motivation of an agent varied, depending on whether the 3-hour training was attended at the start of the working day or at the end of a night shift. As far as the quantitative part is concerned, we can conclude that the statistical evidence might be less strong than intended in an experimental design of a randomised controlled trial. The fact that we conducted our study in the practice of a running airport business is certainly the main reason for that conclusion.

Qualitative analysis

In the workshop sessions, we collected information on how agents reflect on their daily tasks, what problems they experienced with risk decision making and what kind of solutions they would suggest. Agents wrote their opinions and solutions on big sheets of paper, which were collected and analysed afterwards. In Tables 4–7 we summarise the most important topics and most frequent answers. Table 4 shows the most common answers to the question what agents do to be and stay sharp at their job, and what they need from others.

Table 4. How to stay sharp at the job?
What did the agents do to stay sharp?What did agents say they need from others?
Do not be distracted and think for yourselfYou must be able to count on colleagues, with support, collegiality and involvement; both co-workers and executives
Take responsibility for a healthy lifestyle (rest, sleep, nutrition etc.)Positive and also constructive feedback, given in a sympathetic way
Be honest with yourself and colleagues, if you actually know that you are not sharp and fit with circumstancesGood briefings and good planning / team layout / compliance with times / rest periods
Incorporate recreation moments and humourPleasant working environment

Reflection on the professional’s responsibilities at work indicates what they feel responsible for. Table 5 shows a summary of individual and collective input from the workshops.

Table 5. Feeling responsible at the job.
What did agents feel responsible for?What did agents not feel responsible for?
Safety of colleagues and passengersPassenger flow
Intercepting prohibited itemsOperation of equipment
For yourself: commitment, motivation, quality of your work, arriving on time, staying respectful etc.Failure and mistakes of others outside the team

Table 6 shows what fallacies frequently occurred in daily practice, according to the participants of the workshops.

Table 6. Fallacies in daily practice.
What mistakes did the agents recognize in themselves and / or with their colleagues?What typical examples did they share?
Focus on one item or subject (confirmation bias)Focusing on a bottle with liquid from the X-ray scan; missing other suspicious contents of a bag
Making all types of assumptions (availability bias)Colleagues from the security company do not need to be checked
Long-term work experience that can lead to automatism / routine leading to incorrect assessment / risk decision; (overconfidence bias, authority bias)Knowing for sure that families from a certain country are no risk at all
Being influenced by available information in the news and social media (availability bias)After an attack abroad focus too much on the modus operandi of the perpetrators of that incident
Blaming others for missing a sample test; particularly by team leaders and executives (hindsight bias) Commenting on a colleague missing a test sample at the X-ray scan: “How could you miss it? This is obvious to everyone!”

What professionals think actors at three levels (individual, team, company) could do to prevent fallacies and biased risk decision making, is displayed in table 7.

Table 7. Prevention of fallacies.
What could agents do themselves?What could the team do?What could the company do?
Take time to step back to assess the luggage / situation and see the complete picture Give feedback, motivate and coach each otherGood communication and information
In case of doubt: check (again)Talk to each other, give feedback, both positive and criticalProvide clear working procedures and refresh (keep them alive)
Accept help and ask for it if you are not sureActively point out risks and possible consequences to each otherEnsure good briefings and agreements on how information reaches everyone
Keep alert, curious and (self) criticalContinue training, motivating and keep remembering and refreshing good practice as a team
Keep your background information updated (on attacks for example)Give a colleague a break (after he or she missed a test sample, for example)
Communicate clearly (with passengers, with colleagues)

7 Conclusion

The study aimed to find an answer to the question: How and to what extent can we train professionals, in order to help them make smarter (i.e. more rational, effective and efficient) risk decisions? The main short-term goal of the intervention was to achieve a higher level of risk competence. The quantitative results showed a positive effect (.5) of the training intervention on the intervention group, which can be considered as a medium or high effect for an educational intervention (Hattie, 2009). This indicates that the complete intervention (workshops and tests) contributed to more awareness in the process of judgement and decision-making, and improved risk decisions by the security agents. The self-esteem and self-efficacy scores indicate that agents in the intervention group showed a more moderate, less biased self-evaluation. From the qualitative results, we conclude that agents were able to identify individual, collective and organisational points for improvement.

The intervention had a positive effect on the intervention group (Table 3; d = .5). Although this effect could not be purified by a difference-in-difference analysis. Even though there was no significant difference between intervention and control groups, the scores on general and specific test items at the post-test (Table 2; ≈2.8 and ≈7.5) can be used by the security company as an indication of an agent’s average risk competence. For setting standard values, the tests may provide anchors, as for the use in the recruitment and selection process of new agents in the future. However, they still need to be validated by replication.

The results indicate points of reference to expect that training such as this can be productive in various ways. Awareness can be considered as the first step on the road to better performance, and it may be assumed that awareness has been improved, both at the test scores and on self-esteem and self-efficacy. Even when intervention group self-efficacy and self-esteem scores appear to have decreased after the intervention, this could still mean that the agents were more conscious of their incompetence regarding biases.

The importance of good workplace conditions and encouraging leadership came up in all workshops, both in individual contributions and group discussions. This is an important perspective for the mid- and long-term success of a risk competence program. Where the process model (Figure 1) has proved to be adequate for evaluation of the risk management process itself, factors of organisational and managerial culture should be considered in a broader sense, since they may determine the circumstances under which judgement and risk decision making happens.

8 Discussion

Kahneman is not very optimistic about the possibility of improving people’s risk decision making competence. Gigerenzer on the other hand is convinced of educational strategies (like visualisation and heuristics) that are likely to lead to advanced risk competence (Bond, 2009; Kahneman, 2011; Gigerenzer, 2015).

In this study, the focus was on the design and testing of a training intervention for a specific professional setting. The scale of the experiment may be increased later, possibly in a modified setting. The quantitative results were modest. The effectiveness of the training in terms of statistical evidence and validity is not easy to demonstrate. Effectiveness could also be affected because the intervention was dependent on the operational planning of the security company and the airport. Sickness absence was one of the factors that caused complications, next to position, function or shift change of participants. In addition, there may have been variables outside our model and design, which therefore are not taken into account. As with many educational interventions, a Hawthorne effect could have occurred: participants in an experiment respond differently due to the fact that they are aware it is an experiment (De Bruyckere, Kirschner and Hulshof, 2015). In this case, this could be applicable to the intervention group, as well as to the control group. Furthermore, during the workshops we noticed that not all agents felt free to give their true opinion. Whether they were right or not, some agents expressed fear that their contribution to the sessions would be taken into account by the management, in one way or another.

Supporting a program of risk competence would benefit from improved internal communication. This starts by announcing a program and its backgrounds, and ends with communicating the achievements. Many agents were unaware of the training they were sent to, with consequences for their attitude at the start of the training intervention. Explaining the rationale and the meaning of a training intervention to participants before it starts, will make a big difference. It is also recommended to share the results of the experiment with the participants and the works council.

Cartoons and illustrations by MYRAAAB: Myra Beckers (myraaa.com) and Ab Bertholet.

Authors

Ab Bertholet, M.Sc., Lecturer, Researcher, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU); Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), The Netherlands
Nienke Nieveen, PhD, Associate Professor, Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO); Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), The Netherlands
Birgit Pepin, PhD, Professor of Mathematics/STEM Education, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), The Netherlands


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Excellence in Teaching and Learning and how it is manifested in three countries

Author: Sharon Lierse.

Abstract

Excellence in education is a topic of global interest. Universities are in competition for the highest quality of research and top students. They are also ranked against each other in global university rankings. Moreover, universities have an increasingly important role in preparing students for the next generation workforce and lifelong learning; a responsibility that is undergoing significant transformation. Another indicator of excellence in education is the Programme for International Student Assessment better known as the PISA tests. The purpose of the research is to compare, and contrast Australian, South Korean and Finnish tertiary educational institutions in what is are characteristics of excellent teaching. Factors such as teaching philosophies, cultural influences and the role of the arts will be investigated. Through investigating these educational philosophies and practices will gain a greater understanding of what drives different countries to achieve excellence in learning and teaching.

Introduction

Excellence in higher education and how this is identified and measured is of global interest. Countries promote their universities and are in competition for the best students (Yedkevich, Altbach & Rumbley, 2016). There are also external organizations such as the Times Higher Education which rank universities against each other (Baker, 2017; Times, 2017). These global rankings have a great impact on how teaching and learning is conducted at universities and what is considered important for educating the future generation. Countries which have excellent universities are known for what these institutions do, but not how excellence is taught, achieved, and what is valued by students and lecturers in the process.

Another indicator of excellence in education is the Programme for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA tests (OECD, 2017). This international test is given to a cross-section of students in The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries when they are aged fifteen. The PISA tests have highlighted how educational systems impact learning and teaching and how this may flow onto the quality of education in the tertiary sector. The PISA tests have shown that two countries which have consistently ranked highly are South Korea and Finland. They are vastly different in their geographic location, language, cultural practices and attitudes to education. In contrast, Australia is a Western country situated in Asia, which has ranked quite well in the tertiary global rankings and PISA. The aim of the research is to compare and contrast perceptions of excellence between these three select countries, and what can be learnt from them. In an increasingly globalised community, understanding what is valued between countries and how excellence is achieved may increase one’s understanding of society, and how to address current themes and issues within the education system. The key questions asked in the study are the following:

  1. What is excellence and success?
  2. How is competition regarded in the learning process?
  3. Is there a connection between excellence and altruism, empathy and equity in learning and teaching?
  4. Are there specific subjects or disciplines connected to excellence?

Data will be collected through surveys and interviews as well as investigating philosophies, culture and curricula. Themes of excellence, success and competition will be the focus as well as what is valued in society. Grounded theory will also be employed as an inductive theoretical approach after analysing the various forms of data.

Definitions

What is Excellence?

To achieve excellence, one first has to know what the term ‘excellence’ means. The difficulty with the term is that humans can identify excellence but when describing of verbalising what components are excellent or why, it becomes challenging. For a term widely used, finding a definition is difficult. The Collins English Dictionary (1979) defines ‘excellence’ as both a noun and a verb: “the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority” and “an action, characteristic, etc., in which a person excels” (p. 531). The Latin translation for excellence is ‘uirtus’ which look very similar to the word ‘virtue’. This is based on Plato’s philosophy that ‘excellence is virtue’. Hence, to be good at a task may have also been virtuous in its moral quality. For the purpose of the paper, excellence is defined as “exceptionally good and of superior quality”.

What is Success?

The term ‘success’ is often interchanged with ‘excellence’. The word ‘success’ stems from the Latin root ‘successus’, which means an outcome. The Collins English Dictionary (1979) defines ‘success’ as, “The favourable outcome of something attempted” (p. 1521). It was also described when a task has been completed and it becomes “obsolete”. ‘Excellence’ and ‘success’ are often interchanged but to be successful at a task does not necessarily imply that the quality is good, or of virtue. There is not necessarily a causal relationship between being excellence and success. Success here is when the task has been achieved and does not require further work.

What is Competition?

Competition occurs in many fields including sport, music and education. The premise of competition is that there will be a winner and loser with the individuals or groups pitted against each other. It has been defined as “rivalry”, or “the struggle between individuals of the same or different species” (Collins, 1979, p. 322).

Literature Review

There has been research into excellence in teaching at the tertiary level from a range of perspectives. To clarify, there has been a range of terms and definitions depending on philosophical understandings, geographic location and culture. Terms such as ‘outstanding’, ‘excellent’ and ‘successful’ are interchanged as well as ‘tertiary’, ‘university’ and ‘college’. ‘Lecturing’ and ‘teaching’ have also been interchanged (Andrews, Garriso & Magnusson, 1996; Cosh, 1999; Gibbs, 2006; Sherman et al., 1987; Yair, 2008). For the purpose of this study, ‘excellence’, ‘tertiary’ and ‘teaching’ will be used.

Historically, the topic of excellence has been research for over century in which one of the first publications was published in 1917 in The Journal of Educational Research (Breed, 1927). The characteristics identified were personal qualities, organization of the subject matter, knowledge, skill, university co-operation and professional development. Similar characteristics were found in studies by Brookfield (1990), Finkel (2000), Metcalfe and Game (2006), Weimar (1997); and Yair (2008). There was a discussion of whether excellence was a quality which was innate (Gosling & Hannan, 2007; Polanyi, 1966; Weimar, 1997; Yair, 2008) or whether it were techniques and skills which can be taught (Kane, Sandretto & Heath, 2004). The personality of the teacher was rated highly in some studies which traits such as approachability, passion and enthusiasm were at times considered more important than skills (Bain, 2004; Bain, 2012; Bentley-Davies, 2010; Boonshaft, 2010; Feldman, 1988; Gladwell, 2009; Lawler, Chen & Venso, 2007; Moore & Kuol, 2007; Saroyan & Amundsen, 2001). However, as students progressed though the higher levels of academia, skill and expertise were increasingly considered important (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1986; Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1998).

There are also excellent teachers who were focused on inspiring and transforming lives despite the bureaucracy and structure of the system. They may not necessarily be good administrators and therefore may miss out on recognition they duly deserve through not filling out the paperwork for promotions (Dunkin & Precians, 1992; Jones, 2010; Palmer & Collins, 2006; Skelton, 2005; Yair, 2008). They would work around policies and procedures in order to evoke the changes they considered necessary (Robinson, 2009). Some have also questioned the status quo and consequently become disruptors to the system.

A quality of excellent teachers was their ability to reflect (Brookfield, 1995; Cosh, 1999; Cowan, 2006; McAlphine & Westin, 2000; Schön, 1983). Reflection could come in many forms such critically reflecting their own practice to further improve their own teaching. Another form was to show understanding through empathy. This empathetic response would help students with their most pressing needs and in improving their learning. Other qualities are equity in which the concept of student bias or favouritism is negated to achieve the desired results.

At a systemic and national level, key cities throughout history have been known for excellence and advancing society. They have shown common traits of nurturing talent including those considered outsiders and having an altruistic attitude towards achievement (Weiner, 2016). Here, the strive for excellence was not competitive for individual gain, but rather collaborative for the greater good of humanity. The importance of altruism and empathy, and a more holistic approach to learning has been investigated (Fehr & Fischbacher, 2003; Sahlberg, 2015; Stephan & Finlay, 1999). Ironically, it is the countries that are known for excelling in global rankings which also have a strong philosophical educational foundation, value empathy and equality in education.

Methodology

The two methodologies used for the study were thematic analysis and grounded theory (Braun & Clarke, 2006; Charmaz, 2000; Charmaz, 2002; Glaser, 1998; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). These were selected as they were the most suitable for categorising cross-cultural information and for positing a new understanding of why excellence has developed in select countries. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, monographs and journal articles. Surveys have been used at select universities in South Korea and Australia to ascertain what are the characteristics of excellence. Themes such as lecturing styles, learning preferences and cultural influences were investigated. Following this was a series of interviews with academics and post-graduate researchers. Information on Finland was acquired through publications monographs, journals and papers at educational conferences. This was due to the focus on the country after being number one in the world in the PISA results. The data collected has been compared and contrasted to identify trends and themes.

Australia

Australia is situated in the Asia-Pacific and is the smallest continent on earth. Although an island, it is the sixth largest country and is known for its large cities found on its perimeter. There are approximately 25 million people living in a country comprising six States and two Territories. It is a young country, colonised by the British in the eighteenth century and based on Western cultural traditions. English is the spoken language, but there are over a hundred foreign languages spoken by migrants as well as Indigenous languages from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Australia, in its Western cultural development has relied on Britain, and more recently to the United States of America. Politically, Australia has strong ties with Britain, the United States of America, and more recently China due its geographic proximity, trade, and number of migrants Australia. Australia is a multi-cultural society with a highly regarded university system. An increasingly expanding and significant component of the higher education market are international students.

The education philosophy is similar to Britain’s due to its religious, historical and cultural foundations, however, it is difficult to identify. It is based on Plato‘s notion of an ideal curriculum where subjects are required to be studied to be a good citizen. Education is curriculum focused and regulated.

There is inbuilt competition in the education system in Australia. During school, the national tests such as the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy, better known as NAPLAN, tests students in year three, five, seven and nine. The score that students receive is whether they have met the required standards and where they are in relation to other students in their year level (https://www.nap.edu.au/results-and-reports/how-to-interpret). In their final year of schooling, they are given a mark for each subject, which is then standardised to be ranked against other students in their State or Territory. An issue with the peer ranking system is the amount of stress and anxiety it creates.

A study was conducted at an Australian university in 2014 to investigate the characteristics of outstanding university lecturers (Lierse, 2016). There was an anonymous survey sent to 70 students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching where they identified characteristics. From this, fourteen participated in semi-structured interviews, and five lecturers who were identified as outstanding were interviewed, as well. The five characteristics discovered from the study were; expertise, holistic approach to learning, engaging the student, open door policy and ambitious altruists. It was the last characteristic ‘ambitious altruists’ which was of surprise and interest. The study found that outstanding lecturers were ambitious and had purpose in their work. Ambition was from an altruistic foundation in which their students came first, rather than for their own ego. Their practices were often unconventional and they would often be criticised to the point of being isolated from their peers. As a result, many of these lecturers sacrificed their own career paths for the academy (Lierse, 2016, p. 9).

Their ambition was beyond ego and was for the good of humanity rather than for personal gain (Butler-Bowden, 2007). These lecturers would sometime sacrifice their own career paths or even jobs for their altruistic pursuits (Palmer, 1998).

South Korea

South Korea or the Republic of Korea is a country situated in East Asia with a population of approximately 51 million people. The country has had a turbulent political history with its neighbours, North Korea, China and Japan. It is known for its manufacturing as well as its education system. The language spoken is Korean.

South Korea’s education system came under the international spotlight after the students received high results in the PISA tests (OECD, 2017). Consequently, many educational researchers have visited South Korea to gain an understanding of the teaching system. What they discovered was the high value placed on rigorous learning and educational achievement (Ripley, 2013). One aspect of their system was the after-hours tutoring culture known as Hagwon.

A survey and a series of interview questions were designed to discover why South Korea had one of the best educational systems and how they perceived excellence. The research proposal went through ethics at the university and was approved. The survey was sent to lecturers and post-graduate students at a university in South Korea.

The second part of the research were interview questions for South Korean lecturers and post-graduate students who had a degree of English fluency. The questions were designed to trigger conversation and were semi-structured. The topics range from their own background, teaching styles and what is considered excellent. There were interview questions for university lecturers. The data was coded and interviews analysed to determine what the trends are in South Korea in relation to what is considered excellent.

The results revealed how much emphasis is placed on education and to do well. The pressure to succeed was from the family as well as society and it was not unusual for students to spend long hours studying. There was a clear progression from doing well at school to then go to a good university to then gain a good job. This was the key to success which would then make one happy. One respondent discussed how, “Many parents believe that it is the short cut to success.” Another respondent stated, “To have a successful life it is money, best university, good job, people to envy you is successful.” Lecturers were highly regarded and respected and any form of teaching was still seen as a good career choice.

Competition is a feature of the South Korean education system. Students are tested often and are ranked in class. From an early age, students know that they have to work hard and the end goal is to be accepted into a top university. “I think the education atmosphere is so competitive in South Korea…Students study very hard. Their motivation is very high, but sometimes their motivation is performance oriented. And they [are] influenced by other students because they compare each other.” Competition is a key factor in student achievement in South Korean education system. There is also a respect for the teachers and education.

Finland

Finland is a sovereign state in Northern Europe situated between Western countries and Russia. It has a relatively small population of five-and-a-half million people and is known for its cold winters. The language spoken is Finnish.

Finland has been featured in the media due to their PISA test results in which they have been ranked number one in the world. Even though this was a test in secondary schools, it reflected how excellence in teaching was practised in the university system to produce such impressive outcomes. A reason for this is that Finland has undergone a transformation in their society which has focussed on education. Sahlberg (2015) discussed how: “Diplomacy, cooperation, problem solving, and seeking consensus have thus become hallmarks of contemporary Finnish culture” (p. 17). Their system is based on the Aristotelian philosophy where ones’ purpose is to have a good and noble life. There is a focus on social skills, empathy and leadership (p. 199). There is surprisingly very little testing in schools. Finland only selects the best applicants to be a school teacher in which the minimum requirement to work in schools is a Master’s Degree. Due to their success of their education system, many teachers from different countries have visited Finland and observed teaching in schools to better understand the secret to their success. Sahlberg (2015) commented “Many teachers and administrators who have visited Finnish schools…are often stuck in the middle of excellence versus equity quandaries due to external demands and regulations in their own countries” (p. 66). The Finnish example of educational excellence has worked in Finland. This would be due to the congruence of support by the government, educational system and their society. However, this would be difficult to be replicated in other countries due to the complexity of cultural systems and understandings.

Discussion

The three countries are different in their geographically, linguistically and politically and their education systems are based on a philosophical foundation.

How excellence, success, perfection and failure are defined varies between countries which in turn impacts the teaching and learning in schools and universities. The role of competition in education is a driving factor in South Korea, and to an increasing extent in Australia, but is viewed negatively in Finland in favour of cooperation. The overriding philosophy in Finland is based on Aristotle’s of living to have a good and virtuous life. South Korean’s educational philosophy is based on Confucius in which there is an “I” with “self”, “others” and the universe and learning is a life-long process. Australia’s philosophy has been adopted from the United Kingdom and is based on Plato in which excellence is a virtue and a range of subjects are required in order to achieve this.

The results revealed that the philosophy and its beliefs of a country have a strong impact on education. The countries which excel in education during the formal academic schooling and for life-long learning have strong philosophical foundations, especially in the role of arts but also how education is practised varied widely. The other dimension of excellence, which has been explored, are the roles of empathy, equity and altruism. How a society can be sustained for life-long learning without their members working to their own potential, helping others and for the greater good of the community.

South Korea and Finland have excelled in PISA tests to the surprise of many countries. They are not known for their population size or being a dominant force in large global companies although they are global leaders in many niche industries. Politically, they have both been under constant threat from neighbouring countries and have a long history of warfare and being invaded. Finland has the global superpower Russia to the East and Sweden to the West, and they only received independence in 1917. South Korea is under constant threat from North Korea, has been invaded by Japan, and has the superpower China as a neighbour. Both countries do not have enough man power in their military to fight against neighbouring countries so have to exert their power in other ways. They cannot rely on primary resources such as farming and mining due to the land so they rely on themselves. Both of these countries have invested heavily in human capital in education to ensure that they will have a prosperous future.

To show their independence and autonomy, they have maintained their language and culture, which has been manifested through the arts. It is also the arts where they can learn their language and history through music, dance, art and drama. These also reinforce their patriotism, worthiness and sense of belonging. To remain relevant on a global level, it is these activities that bind these groups together, strengthen their loyalty to one another, and help to create empathy between each other. The arts form the fabric of their society and what it means to be part of the society.

Both South Korea and Finland show a great respect for the arts, especially Western art music. Their standard of performers is world class and there are opportunities for students at the school level to learn and music. This honour, respect and practice of the arts results in a high level of sophistication, development of emotions and empathy. These results were unexpected and the connection of excellence with empathy with the arts and through the arts is an area for future research.

Conclusion

The paper discusses how countries which are known for academic excellence have very strong philosophical foundations. However, it is the way excellence is practiced which differs widely and is often contradictory in its approaches. The research has shown that the role of the arts play an important role in the connection to excellence in education which is an area for future research. It is these new combinations of factors which may hold the key for sustained educational excellence throughout the life-span.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the Australia-Korea Foundation through the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for support in the “Teaching Excellence in South Korea and Australia: A Comparison” project.

Author

Dr Sharon Lierse, Lecturer in Education, Charles Darwin University, Melbourne, Australia


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How to facilitate development of soft skills in business studies? Description of a Portuguese and a Finnish pilot

Authors: Susana Bastos, Kai Schleutker & Liliana Azevedo.

Abstract

Latest research indicates that business graduates are expected to possess soft skills in addition to their substance related hard skills. In working environments, soft skills are needed for communication and adaptation, as well as for employability reasons. For higher education institutes this means an increasing challenge.
Even if the need of soft skills is widely acknowledged, new efforts to build appropriate learning environments are needed continuously. Soft skills have been highlighted in social care and nursing education, whereas in business fields they have received less attention.

In this article, two learning environments for business studies at Universities of applied sciences are presented. The ISCAP (Porto) model bases on Business simulation, whereas the TUAS (Turku) model involves team-based learning. These learning environments have been designed particularly for fostering soft skills of the graduates, and thus implementing the idea of skills-based curriculum.

Background for the piloting of learning environments in business education at ISCAP and TUAS

European Commission enhances (EC 2017) the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to modernise their pedagogical methods in order to produce competencies and skills that are needed in the 21st century to cope with the increasing international competition. This statement (EC 2017) and multiple studies (e.g. McKinsey 2015; OECD 2016; WEF 2016) indicate that in addition to substance skills, HEI graduates are expected to possess soft skills (a.k.a. transversal skills) such as communication skills, team working skills, self-management skills and analytical skills.

At HEIs, this raises many questions. How should these intentions be implemented in business studies? What kinds of learning environments will help to form personal skills? In business faculties and degree programs, there are great diversities of specialisations – what kinds of personal skills will be needed in each of them?

The mission of universities of applied sciences is to act as innovators and dynamic actors in their own areas. In this article, we present two learning environments intended to cope better with the needs of the companies and produce soft skills. In the Polytechnic of Porto, Porto Accounting and Business School (ISCAP), the so-called Business Simulator bases on real tasks, feedback in real time, and in a new assessment methodology. At BisnesAkatemia in Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), the team-based learning method and external assignments from companies are used as elements of learning environments.

Descriptions of the ISCAP and TUAS pilots

The Origin of ISCAP Model of Simulator of Business Environment

The Model of Simulator of Business Environment that supports learning is oriented to the development of some competencies that the students need in order to be prepared for the labour market.

The resource to the strategy of games/simulation of companies in certain curricular units may be useful. The SBE Model was created with the purpose that the complete training of competencies requires an availability of this Model that assures to the student a multifaceted participation, as an intervener agent in the process of conception, development and maintenance of the business reality (Rey 2002; Roldão 2003).

This Model of technological basis must propitiate a space of learning, based on the simulation of the organisational environment typical of an entity provided with an advanced management profile involving the student in the application of the knowledge that is emerging in a multi and inter-disciplinary form throughout the course.

The particularity of the skills training process that the Model is oriented to, shapes the teaching methodology and the assessment system itself, which is built on a dynamic basis primarily interested in the progressive effects of the expected change in students, but it is also concerned with the verification of the skills acquired having in consideration their final academic certification.

This practice of education and training has the fundamental purpose of linking theory to practice. Therefore, it requires turning the experience of training into professional experience, in which the passive and receiver role of the student gives place to an active role ‒ he is part of the process. (Azevedo 2012.)

Table 1. Skills to develop in students (adapted from Oliveira, L. 2018).
Vocational skillsTechnical skills
Critical and analytical thinkingUse, with efficiency, of the communication and information technologies
Oral and written communicationBusiness decision modelling
Decision-makingRisk analysis
Continuous learningProject management
Group workAccounting in several branches
Professional behaviour (ethics and attitudes)Negotiation
LeadershipResources management
EntrepreneurshipSales
Foreign languageCreation of the business plan
Economic and financial analysis

The origin of TUAS BisnesAkatemia (BA) model

When asked from graduated, employers and business experts, it is widely agreed that the most prominent elements of business competencies are soft skills such as entrepreneurial mindset, communication and team-working skills, whereas profession related skills are mostly considered necessary but not crucial (Lehtinen 2006; Kotila 2012; Schleutker 2017). Some business environments, such as accounting and theory of law, might appreciate preciseness and by-the-book-knowledge, whereas in other business fields, such as entrepreneurship and marketing, the professional expertise mostly consists of personal dynamics and skills in communication, adaptation and innovation (Schleutker 2017).

This need of personal skills and the increasing diversity of working environments should be considered in curriculum planning. Even business learning environments should increasingly support development of personal competencies and skills.

For these reasons, the TUAS Business degree programme has been piloting an alternative learning environment called BisnesAkatemia (BA), which implements a skills-based curriculum instead of a mere substance-based curriculum.

To reach skills-based learning, personalised learning processes and adequate learning environments are needed (Sawyer 2006; Raiker 2009). Some fundamental conditions for personalised learning are individually-set goals, reflection of learning processes and meaningful learning assignments (Sawyer 2006). The BA learning environment aims to comprehend and facilitate these processes.

In the pedagogical aspect, the BA model includes features from several learning philosophies and methods. It is built partly on classical elements of Team Based Learning (Michaelsen 2006) and Senge´s Personal Mastery and Learning organization (Senge 2006), as well as recent inspirations from Innovation Pedagogy (Kettunen & al. 2013). The learning environment in BA involves fundamentally assignments from external organizations and companies, following the idea of Experiential Learning by John Dewey (Miettinen 2001). In order to achieve personalised learning and to reinforce soft skills, the students will need self-reflective and self-regulative skills (Zimmermann & Schunk 2011; Winne 2011).

Implementation

ISCAP Model of Business Simulation Project (BSP)

In the BSP model, the main pedagogical change of the teaching-learning process in business and accounting lies in creating the same pivot environment, which is available along all courses and personalised for each student. It is supported by real technological tools, coordinating the theoretical knowledge progressively acquired, in order to form comprehensive professional competencies (Roldão 2003).

The Model must be adopted, not only in the curricular units of Business Simulation Project (BSP), but also in all other curricular units framed in business sciences. These need a pivot environment to ensure the extent of knowledge to action in a common context, properly completed and evaluated.

BSP has as main goals (Oliveira 2003, 2018) targeting training to the most demanding and highest paid market demand. It aims to prepare professionals for more specialised functions, encourage the development of new skills; stimulate the capacity to structure, research and reorganise information in an integrated environment, and train and promote group and cooperative work. Further, it aims to enable the ability to make decisions, enrich communication skills, consolidate professional, personal and ethical attitudes, promote the electronic portfolio as the student’s curriculum essence, create and develop all the bureaucratic activities of a company in a systemic perspective and in a process-based approach, and continuously assess technical and behavioural performance. All this is supported by the Business Environment Simulator.

These BSP curricular units are optional. Students have the right to choose what suits them better and contributes to develop their personal competencies. They enter BSP in the last year and they can achieve 180 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) in two semesters. These are learning environments allowing them to appropriate knowledge acquired in previous curricular units (Bastos 2016; Soares 2011). BSP are the first European curricular units to have a Certificate of Quality within ISO 9001:2015 and they are also recognised by the Portuguese Order of Certified Accountants as replacing the internship by the quality of its learning-teaching process.

TUAS BisnesAkatemia

The students enter the BA phase after having finished basic studies in business. They can gain 100‒120 ECTS in the BA learning environment, i.e. nearly 50 percent of their studies. These 100‒120 ECTS consist of smaller study units (5‒10 ECTS) representing main business topics such as enterprise planning & development, marketing operations, communication, organising events, innovative skills and domestic & international networking. The tray of study units is presented in table 2.

Table 2. Contents of studies in BA 2nd and 3rd year. (ECTS – European Credit Transfer System; ICT – Information and Communication Technologies. Created by Schleutker, K. 2018.)
Study unitsStudy units 5 ECTSStudy units 5-15 ECTS
2nd year3rd year
Enterprise developing operationsStart-up enterprise
Develop an enterprise
Business Value through ICT
Marketing and sales operationsBusiness to business sales
Productisation
Product & Service Innovations
Digital marketing
Modern Marketing and Selling
Innovative operationsOrganising events
Tools for innovating
Innovative business models
NetworkingDomestic international networking
International networking
---

At the end of the first year, business students enter the BA phase, where they will form their own 15‒20 person cooperative in order to conduct real-life business assignments with external organizations and companies. The division into the BA cooperatives is facilitated by interviews and tests in order to form a well-working team. One of the most important ones is the Belbin team role test (2018), which indicates what kinds of abilities and roles each one might bring to the team.

The following step is to organise the cooperative into a well-working team, capable of marketing, selling and carrying out real-life projects for customer companies and organizations. The tasks and goals of the projects typically relate to market and customer research, organising events, design and creation of websites and diverse Business-to-business or Business-to-customer customerships. This phase is indicative in many ways. It will show, how well the teaming process has proceeded and it also indicates to which grade the team possesses a shared vision, i.e. is it a team or just a group of students. Additionally, this phase shows whether there are sales-skilled students who take initiatives in the team. In a well-working team, there are the individuals who start to lead and who start to take actions. This is not something that can be counted on advance for sure.

In this kind of learning environment, the teachers´ role is very far from the role of the so-called traditional teachers. The teacher performing with a team is called a ‘coach’, and each team will have their named coach for the whole second and third year. Consequently, lectures are given only exceptionally in cases where a lecture is considered the best way of learning. Instead, teachers have an important role as facilitators of the team. In the starting period of BA, it is very much about facilitating a positive team spirit and constructive relationships between team members and encouraging to personalised learning and formation of individual soft skills.

In table 3, the main features of the learning environments BSP and Ba are presented.

Table 3. Main elements of learning environments in BSP and BA. (BA – BisnesAkatemia; BSP – Business Simulation Programme; CU – Curricular Unit. Created by Schleutker, K., Bastos, S. 2018.)
DescriptionISCAP BSPISCAP (next stage)TUAS BA
PurposeLearning instrument to be made available at the PSE at the end of the courseLearning instrument to be made available in the various CUs of the business sciences, along the courseLearning environment to support development of personal skills
ContextElectronic database and multimedia roomElectronic databaseStudent cooperative
Organizing PrincipleSystemic integrationSegmentationRecruiting process
Represented objectGlobal market in electronic and physical formatCompany / organization in electronic formatReal business operations with organizations and companies
Logical organization of phenomenaBy processBy eventBy decisions of team
Documentary formatElectronic and physicalElectronicElectronic
Type of interactionIntra and inter companiesDoes not existIntra team, inter client companies
Responsibility for organization and planningTeacher of the PSC CUCourse DirectionCurriculum planned by teachers; Operations planned by students
Student organizationIn groupIndividualIn group
Evaluation modelContinuousContinuousPortfolio assessment

Assessment practices

ISCAP

Assessment is interpreted as a process of systematic collection of information to measure the students’ progress (self and peer evaluation) (Albrecht 1994; Albrecht & Sack 2000). It is continuous. Every class is evaluated – the teacher corrects all the tasks done by the groups. As there are two classes in a week, the teacher evaluates the first, so that in the second the students have the feedback in the system, in “real time”. This enables the student to understand and correct the mistakes. This feedback in registered in the system (Simulator). When the student opens his work session, he has access to it. This process allows the student to follow his teaching-learning progress (examples in figures below).

Figure 1. Assessment of a session with observations of the teacher/ students.

 

Figure 2. Assessment display with the grades of the group and the students (F – Assiduity and Punctuality; C – Behaviour; T – Team work; E – Number of the company; A – Assiduity; G – Percentage in a basis of 100% of the grade obtained by the group; P – Punctual, the assessment of the physical files (twice in a semester); R – Management Report; AOR – Individual oral presentation assessment).

Teachers have an important role in this assessment process. They guide the students through their learning process.

The assessment of the degree of competencies acquired in the frequency of the curricular units based on the BSP Model follows an evaluation system supported in the feedback and in the obligation of execution, by the student, of the planned tasks, personally, and monitored by the teacher, in all the working sessions (Luckesi 2003).

Assessment is continuous, with feedback; with the complement of behavioral performance evaluation; based on a strong ethical component and in the attitudes of all participants; with the support of the electronic media involved; including those of the agents implicated, in charge of the student (Alarcão & Gil 2004; Costa & Candeias 2010; Raiker 2009).

TUAS

In order to facilitate personalised learning, the assessment is individual and well argumented for the student (Sawyer 2006; Raiker 2009). Thus, all assessment is based on an individual portfolio, in which the student describes the finished assignments, their main results and key learning notes. The student adds lessons learnt from books and articles during the study units. Thus reflection of own experiences, thoughts and development has been raised in a crucial role in the assessment. For many students, this can be quite demanding, especially for those ones not used to report and assess their own person and activity.

For the assessor, this kind of portfolio gives rather multiple bases to assessment. It makes visible the profession-related real-life tasks that the student has carried out. It also expresses what the student himself considers having learned. The level on which the student can combine the literature (theory) to what he has done (praxis) gives a good insight on the development of the student´s personal skills. In addition, it demonstrates in a clear way how well the theory is assimilated and adapted.

Regarding reporting and assessment of the development of personal skills (team working skills, communication skills, self-management skills, etc.), they are included in most plans of implementations and thus considered by the students when producing the portfolios.

Reflection: Positive outcomes

BSP – ISCAP

The students consider BSP as an active learning environment, which raises their motivation. The use of the electronic portfolio enables construction of the student’s curriculum in a way that is visible and informative for the student himself. In addition, the learning process is supported by an organizational environment of high systemic complexity, which is very close to authentic working life conditions. As a third positive outcome, the BSP provides immediate feedback and decision-oriented information, which enables improve the student´s learning.

BA – TUAS

The students favour the BA learning environment, primarily because most students seem to like the way of learning by doing. In addition, many students seem to like working in team.

As a positive outcome, students get experience of real-life assignments already during studies, which is appreciated by employers (Lehtinen 2006; Kotila 2012; Mourshed 2014). The learning environment enables holistic learning, where students have an option to develop both substance skills and their soft skills.

Students appreciate authentic assignments given by external companies as well – even if they might be more challenging than theoretical assignments. Moreover, the BA method including goal-oriented work teams and authentic tasks often provokes an uncomfort zone in individual students. Thus, it creates a need to learn and it motivates effectively personalized learning (Sawyer 2006; Raiker 2009) and the development of personal skills.

Challenges experienced

BSP – ISCAP

The teacher has a role of permanent support to the student, as it is a ”relationship of peers”, and must, using new pedagogies and information and communication technologies suitable to the program content, instil in the student job autonomy and decision making, among other aspects. Thus, the curricular structure should be reconsidered and must rely on the basic formation of competencies, and must conceive education “always” adopting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary and a systemic basis (Bastos 2016).

As methods and pedagogies pointed so that change happens, emphasis is on active learning methods, group work, ”learning by doing”, and the motivation of the student by placing him in the centre of this whole process.
Thus, the assessment should be formative and not merely forming, having the need to assess the School and the teachers, ”rewarding the most efficient” (Alarcão 2004).

BA – TUAS

Given that most students have a 12 years’ experience in structured and often teacher-guided way of studies, the change in student mindset demands effort. It seems that they are often more inclined to ‘teach-me’ more than ‘I-learn’.

Thus, the BA method is appropriate for students with self-steering abilities, but it seems not to suite all students.

Dynamics in teams varies according to persons and their characters, whereby some groups never become a real team. Others might have good chemistry of persons but the members will not step out their comfort zone. Finally there are the ones having both team and progress spirit, and consequently will get results.

In order to enhance learning of soft skills, it is important to mention those in the description of the study units, so that the students are aware of them. However, the assessment of these might be a challenge, since it should focus on personal behaviour in addition to the portfolio. Even giving constructive feedback to each student regarding these skills is demanding.

The coach’s role in this kind of learning environment is critical since it requires skills both in business and pedagogy.

Future considerations: both models

Considering the increasing need of skills such as team work, innovation and adaptation (Mourshed 2014; OECD 2016; WEF 2016), business students should possess these kinds of skills in order to proceed and give added value in the labour market. Therefore learning environments should be designed in a way enabling personalised learning and formation of these kinds of person-related skills.

As stated in this article, one of the main challenges regarding new learning environments is students´ mindset and their attitude towards them. They might assume a passive role if they have hesitations about the significance of the skills to be learned. Therefore it is highly important, that the whole faculty or even the whole University is engaged to the learning environment which is proposed.

At TUAS, all faculties will step by step adapt Innovative Pedagogy, the corner stones of which are Team working skills, innovative skills, networking skills and communication skills. These skills will starting from 2018 be embedded in all curricula in each faculty.

Considering future research, it is necessary to identify appropriate methods for assessing personal development and especially the formation of soft skills as well.

Conclusions of BSP and BA

Most involved parts in business life agree that business competencies comprehend increasingly personal skills such as communication, innovation and teamwork. Thus, one challenge in the higher education is to create learning environments that enable the formation of personal development. In this process, known as personalised learning, the student is expected to take an active role. One of the main challenges is whether students are willing/prepared to take the active role needed in personalised learning. Thus, the coaches’ feedback and assessment must be continuous and constructive.

The description and comparison presented in this article confirm that many possibilities are available in order to facilitate personalised learning the formation of soft skills. Most of the students get inspired of new learning methods, mostly because these models give them an option to learn in a more diverse way. The teamwork included in the learning environments is apt to increase team working skills, as well as communication skills. Assignments given directly by companies, or closely related to companies, will give the students more skills regarding adaptation, flexibility and decision making. In order to develop students’ soft skills, further study is needed on the impact of the learning environments upon the students´ abilities and skills.

Authors

Susana Bastos, Senior Lecturer, Porto Accounting and Business School (ISCAP), Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP), Centre for Organizational and Social Studies of P. Porto (CEOS.PP), Portugal
Kai Schleutker, Lecturer, Team coach (Innovative Entrepreneurship & Digital Marketing),
University of Applied Sciences of Turku – Faculty of Business and Engineering
Liliana Azevedo, PhD (Ed.) (Didactics and Technology of Education), Expandindústria, Portugal


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