1/2019, Abstracts, Editorial, In English

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

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