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


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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.

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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.

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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.

EU tietosuoja-asetus vaikuttaa AMKien  innovaatiotoimintaan

Kirjoittaja: Jaakko Riihimaa.

EU:n alueella on toukokuussa 2018 astumassa voimaan tietosuoja-asetus, joka korostaa ihmisten oikeutta yksityisyyteensä ja omien tietojensa omistamiseen. Asetuksen tavoitteita ovat yksilön oikeuksien vahvistaminen, tietosuojan globaali ulottuvuus sekä parempi valvonta. Asetus ja täydentävä kansallinen lainsäädäntö edistää EU:n digitaalista sisämarkkinoiden kehitystä, eli tiedon siirtymistä turvallisemmin ja vapaammin EU:n alueella. (EU GDPR 2016.)

Tietosuojalainsäädännöllä on vaikutuksia ammattikorkeakoulujenkin TKI-toimintaan. Tässä artikkelissa pyritään nostamaan esiin erityisesti I:tä, eli innovaatiotoimintaa koskevia näkökohtia.

Innovaatioiden uudenlainen kokonaiskuva

Kaikkinainen avoimuuden käsite ja avoimuuden vaatimus mm. rahoittajilta on noussut merkittäväksi tekijäksi tieteessä ja ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toiminnassa. Sitä pidetään keinona edistää toimien vaikuttavuutta. (Avoin tiede 2017.)

Avoin innovaatio, erään määritelmän mukaisesti, on sisäisten ja ulkoisten ideoiden ja kaupallistamistapojen yhdistämistä. Tarkoituksena on edistää uusien teknologioiden kehitystä. Innovaation syntyä tuon määritelmän mukaan edeltävät T ja K, eli tutkimus- ja kehitystoiminta. (Avoin innovaatio 2017; Chesbrough 2013.)

Avoimesta innovaatiosta puhuttaessa korostetaan uusien ideoiden ja teknologioiden mahdollistamia asioita. Innovaation käsite on laaja ja sitä käytetään monissa eri merkityksissä (esim. Riihimaa 2004). Ympäristö, missä innovaatio syntyy, vaikuttaa tarkasteluun. Isoille yrityksille jo tuttu ja tavanomainen asia voi pk-yrityksen soveltaessa olla sille innovatiivinen.

Digitaalisaatio on siirtänyt innovaatioiden tuottamisessa niihin sisältyvän datan keskiöön. Uusien ideoiden ja teknologioiden yhdistelmissä yhä useammin erottamattomana osana ja kilpailutekijänä on (mahdollisimman avoin) data, sen keruu ja hyödyntäminen.

Kokonaiskuvaa täydentävä trendi on asiakkaan, myös yksittäisen henkilön, nostaminen esille palvelutuotannossa ja niiden kohteena. Ammattikorkeakoulujen kontekstissa tämä on tärkeä, jopa strateginen lähtökohta: Onko innovaatiotoiminnan asiakas opiskelija, TKI-hankkeeseen osallistuva yritys vaiko koko yhteiskunta ja sitä kautta alueellinen kehittämistyö.

Data on uusi valuutta

Datasta on jo muodostunut uusi valuutta ja erityisesti tämä koskee henkilöön liitettävissä olevaa tietoa. Innovaatioihin tulee sisältymään yhä enemmän henkilödataa. Ihmiset vaihtavat tänä päivänä tietojaan ja niiden käyttöoikeuksia näennäisesti ilmaisiin Internet-palveluihin. Digitaalisia jalanjälkiä jää meistä puheluiden, nettiselailun, asiakaskorttien käytön, videovalvonnan ja ties minkä aktiviteettien myötä. Kaikki tuo tieto on liitettävissä henkilöömme ja on käytettävissä mitä moninaisimmissa sovelluksissa ja palveluissa.

Avoimuus, digitalisaation eteneminen ja henkilödatan iso merkitys luovat innovaatiokenttään uusia jännitteitä. Niitä aiheuttaa digitalisaation mahdollistama palveluiden personointi, esimerkiksi yksilöllinen markkinointi. Tällainen ns. massaräätälöinti on käsitteenä tuttu jo monien vuosien ajalta teollisemmassa tuotannossa (Ruohonen, Riihimaa & Mäkipää 2006), mutta data-aineistojen käsittelykapasiteetin noustessa ja yhä yksityiskohtaisempien tietojen koostamisen mahdollistuessa asia siirtyy uudenlaiseen kehykseen.

Innovaatiotoiminta ja yksilön tietosuoja törmäävät, kun vaikkapa inkrementaalinen toimintaprosessin uudistus tarvitsee henkilötietokomponentin. Tietosuoja-asetuksen kannalta miltei kaikki voi olla henkilödataa ja sitä voidaan kerätä miltei mistä tahansa. Esimerkiksi erilaiset sensorit voivat tuottaa sitä (ns. IoT, teollinen Internet), kuvankäsittelyteknologiat pystyvät jo hämmästyttäviin suorituksiin ja kuten edellä mainittiin, digitaalisia jälkiä jää liki kaikesta verkon käytöstä.

Jos jälki on välillisestikin yhdistettävissä henkilöön, ollaan tietosuojakysymysten keskellä. Voi ajatella, että nykyauto osaa tunnistaa kuljettajan ajotyylin ja jatkuvasti kerää ja lähettää tietoa kaikesta mahdollisesta; sijainnista, nopeuksista, käyttöajoista jne. Älypuhelin on vielä arkisempi esimerkki. Datalla voidaan tuottaa muuhun aineistoon yhdistettynä pitkälle meneviä päätelmiä, eli henkilö voidaan profiloida. Ja tämä on väärin hoidettuna tietosuoja-asetuksen vastaista.

Tunnettuja ovat myös monet digitalisaation myötä syntyneet ns. disruptiiviset innovaatiot. Vanhat prosessit ja toimintatavat murtuvat, kun tietotekniikan mahdollisuuksia hyödynnetään uudella tavalla. Tätä on tapahtunut esimerkiksi niin pankkitoiminnassa, matkailussa kuin liikenteenkin alueella. Näissä data ja mahdollisimman henkilökohtainen palvelu on ollut keskeinen näkökohta.

Tietosuoja-asetuksen noudattaminen

Tietosuoja-asetuksen noudattaminen tulee edellyttämään innovaatiokentän toimijoilta tarkkuutta. Keskeistä on ottaa huomioon yksilön oikeus omiin tietoihinsa. Jokaisella on periaatteessa oikeus tarkastaa, mitä tietoa hänestä on kerätty ja myös määrätä, mihin sitä voi luovuttaa eteenpäin. Tiedon käyttötarkoitus on määriteltävä etukäteen. Tietojen sisältöjen ja virtausten dokumentointi nousee tärkeäksi.

Suositeltu lähtökohta tietosuoja-asetuksen vaatimusten toteuttamiseen on riskianalyysi, riskienhallinnollinen ennakkoarviointi siitä, millaisia riskejä henkilötietodatan käsittelyyn voisi liittyä. Tällaisessa arvioinnissa tarvitaan yleensä jonkinlaista toiminnallista systematiikkaa. Arvoon tulevatkin ammattikorkeakouluissa nousemaan uudesta näkökulmasta niin laatujärjestelmien, kokonaisarkkitehtuurityön, riskienhallinnan kuin muiden vastaavien hyvän hallintotavan mukaisten menettelytapojen noudattaminen. Työkaluja ovat esimerkiksi datahallintopolitiikat, aineistonhallinnan ohjeistukset tai tietotilinpäätökset. Työkaluista soveltuvimmat on TKI-asiantuntijoiden poimittava innovaatiotoiminnan hyödyksi.

Tietosuoja-asioiden merkityksen tunnistaminen ja seurannaisvaikutusten arviointi ovat tärkeitä paitsi ammattikorkeakoulujen oman organisaation ja velvollisuuksien näkökulmasta, myös niiden asiakkaiden ja kumppaneiden kannalta. TKI-toiminnassa on niin tutkimusta, kehittämistoimia kuin innovaatioita luotaessa pystyttävä luotettavasti opastamaan opiskelijoita, opettajia ja yhteistyössä olevia yrityksiä niiden oikeuksista ja velvoitteista suhteessa kerättävään ja hyödynnettävään henkilötietoon.

Sidosryhmien merkitys kasvaa tietosuoja-asetuksen myötä muutoinkin. Lainsäätäjän näkökulma sekä hankkeen rahoittajien, asiakasyritysten ja datankeruun kohteena olevan yksityishenkilön intressit tietosuojan suhteen tulevat eroamaan. Tietosuoja-asetus velvoittaa organisaatiot nimeämään ns. tietosuojavastaavan, joiden tekemillä linjauksilla ja arvioinneilla datan käsittelyn laillisuudesta tulee olemaan suuri painoarvo. Keskeisten sidosryhmien tunnistaminen etukäteen ja intressien dokumentointi auttavat havainnollistamaan sitä, mitä halutaan pitää tärkeänä ja minkä sidosryhmän tavoitteet tukevat ammattikorkeakoulun strategiaa. Strategiatasolla olisi hyvä todeta keskeisimmät tietosuojaan liittyvät periaatteet ja samalla ottaa tarkasteluun avoimuuden vaatimukset ja reunaehdot.

Tietosuoja-asetuksen haasteita

Käsitteisiin liittyvä työ lisääntyy. Ainakin tietoarkkitehtuurin osalta olisi keskeiset käsitteet tunnistettava ja niiden käytön olisi oltava yhdenmukaista. Tehtävä voi olla haastava, sillä jo tiedon avoimuuden määrittely ei ole mitenkään triviaalia. Yksi merkittävä yläkäsite on ”tieteellinen tutkimus” ja se, miten pitkälle sen voidaan katsoa kattavan ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toiminnan. Tietosuoja-asetuksessa on tutkimustiedolla vahva (joskin vielä epäselvä) erityisrooli. Se oikeuttaa moniin poikkeustapauksiin. Tätä oikeutta korostetaan puhumalla tieteellisestä (tai yliopistollisesta) tutkimuksesta, mutta samat tai ainakin useimmat sen tunnuspiirteet sisältyvät kyllä myös ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toimintaan. Ja mitä arkaluonteisempaa tietoa kerätään ja käsitellään, sen tärkeämpää ja vaativampaa on tietosuojan rajojen ennakoiva määrittely. Tällainen voi tulla ammattikorkeakouluissa helposti kyseeseen esimerkiksi sosiaali- ja terveysalan (prosessi-)innovaatioiden toteuttamisen yhteydessä.

Haaste on sekin, ettei tietosuojaan liittyvästä lainsäädännön tulkinnasta ole etukäteen tarkkoja ohjeita tai linjauksia. Ne tulevat aikanaan oikeustapausten kautta. Tietosuojavastaavien yhteistyö ja linjaukset ovat tämänkin takia tärkeitä.

Useat merkittävät viime vuosien digitaaliset innovaatiot ovat rikkoneet voimassa olevia lakeja ja sopimuksia. Ne uhkaavat vakiintuneita rakenteita ja niiden läpivieminen voi aiheuttaa ankaraakin vastustusta. Tässäkin mielessä ammattikorkeakoulujen ja TKI-toimijoiden asema voi olla ongelmallinen – suojellaanko verovaroilla rahoitetulla toiminnalla vanhoja toimintamuotoja tarkasti säädöksiä noudattaen vai uskaltaudutaanko rohkeiden ja uudistavien kokeilujen tielle. Korkeakoulujen autonomia antaa tiettyjä mahdollisuuksia, mutta moniko korkeakoulu voisi (uskaltaisi) kirjata strategisiin linjauksiinsa tai TKI-toimintansa tavoitteisiin rakenteiden uudistamisen disruptiivisten innovaatioiden keinoin?

Kirjoittaja

Jaakko Riihimaa, FT, IT-pääsihteeri, AAPA – Ammattikorkeakoulujen tietohallintojohtajat, jaakko.riihimaa(at)haaga-helia.fi

Chesbrough, H. 2003. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, Harvard Business School Press. EU GDPR. 2016. Euroopan parlamentin ja neuvoston asetus (EU) 2016/679, Euroopan unionin virallinen lehti 4.5.2016. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FI/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016R0679&from=FI Viitattu 9.9.2017.

Riihimaa, J. 2004. Taxonomy of information and communication technology system innovations adopted by small and medium sized enterprises, Academic Dissertation, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Tampere, Report A-2004-6, Tampere 2004.

Ruohonen, M., Riihimaa, J. & Mäkipää, M. 2006. Knowledge based mass customization strategies – cases from Finnish metal and electronics industries, International Journal of Mass Customisation, Vol. 1, Nos. 2/3, 2006.

Avoin Innovaatio – Avoimen Innovaation virallinen sivusto Suomessa. http://www.openinnovation.fi/fi/avoininnovaatio viitattu 9.9.2017.

Avoin tiede ja tutkimus. www.avointiede.fi Viitattu 9.9.2017.

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Introduction

Many companies and educational organisations in Finland are interested in the possibilities of exporting education to new countries. The Finnish school system has a good reputation all over the world. In this article, we will concentrate on India, as one of the authors is originally from India and he is currently working in the education sector. Professor Adaikalam represents the Loyola College Chennai, faculty of social work, and he addresses the topic from the Indian culture’s point of view.

India has rapidly become a major player in world economics. Nowadays, it is one of the largest economies in the world, and over the past two decades it has seen millions of people rise to higher socioeconomic classes. Development steps have also been taken, especially in the health and well-being sectors. India is a developing economy. Two-thirds of the population still live in rural areas, which poses challenges especially for vulnerable groups, regarding people’s access to services.

India has put a lot of effort into developing its school system. The entire school system in India is under a digitalization process, which means that schools of all levels need new kinds of technology and tools, but also an understanding of new needs of learning. It is possible that digital education technologies will eventually revolutionize the way we learn and teach. The problem in India is that best educational practices haven’t been scaled nationally, or the scaling is happening too slowly. One example of this is the fact that 1/5 of Indian children in fifth grade are not able to read simple words. Despite massive investments in developing the education system, learning results have not improved. Pritchett talks about the learning crisis, which he sees as a barrier to economic growth in developing countries (Pritchett 2013).

Challenges

The population of India has grown quickly, and India has a large amount of young people. India is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing Internet markets, and it will reach over 300 million Internet users by 2017.  Today, there are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. One year ago, the Indian government launched a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledgeable economy. The purpose of the government’s Digital India initiative is to make government services better available to citizens electronically by improving the online infrastructure and increasing Internet connectivity. At the same time, western countries are exporting their business such as digital learning platforms to the Indian markets. The country’s growing GDP and business opportunities especially in the healthcare and wellbeing markets attract many Finnish companies.

The effects of technology and its productivity expansion for the poor and the middle class, as well as the spreading of accountable governance, have so far been less than expected. Inequality is increasing, as better educated, well connected and more capable people have received most of the benefits. It has been noticed that the utilization of ICT-related products, services and research results from high-income environments entails challenges, especially in remote and low-income communities. An example of this is a project implemented in Peru, where all students of rural schools received computing equipment, but this did not bring any evidence of increasing learning skills in maths or languages. Hardware-centric educational technology projects planned and implemented in highly developed environments for use in developing countries without paying sufficient attention to local contexts are difficult to execute successfully. (World Bank group 2016.)

[easy-tweet tweet=”There are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. ” hashtags=”uasjournal, digitalization”]

The worst scenario regarding the export of education would be that citizens in developing countries become disappointed with the education system. At present, people already feel that education wastes their time and lecturers do not offer them access to working life. Another challenge is the quality of studies – there might be a lack of good pedagogical methods or not enough interest in investing teaching. Degree studies take time, and this is time that students could spend working and earning money for the family.

It is extremely important to carefully plan the digital transfer related to learning environments and education. The Indian school system consists of schools of different levels: At one level, schools are completely managed by government agencies. Another level is funded by the government but managed by foundations in a non-profit way. The third level consists of schools both funded and run by foundations on their own. Evidence shows that the mushroomed economic growth in India has concentrated on private schools and colleges and certain regions in an urban-centric way. The quality of education is the top priority, especially in remote areas and among the socially disadvantaged. Technology penetration is particularly crucial in these areas, and western countries have to take responsibility for exporting products in a sustainable way.

Possibilities

Digital tools and platforms in education could offer benefits for developing countries. The Indian government and the states of India have ranked education as one of their priorities and the education system has expanded a lot. Investments in the education sector need to be made to guarantee a skilled and professional workforce. The Government has launched programmes and initiatives to reduce gender inequality, promote girls’ schooling and improve the standard of education. The Indian education sector consists of a number of actors representing the central government, state and regional bodies, as well as private-sector operators.

Indians are well aware of Finland’s high performance in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, and this offers good opportunities for cooperation in the education sector. Cooperation between educational organizations and businesses opens up prospects for companies to cooperate with each other. Especially digital learning solutions have great potential in Indian markets. When it comes to exporting education, the most important aspect to take into consideration is to understand that products need to be transformed in a suitable way to the specific society and culture.

A good way of exporting the digital education system to developing countries would be to use existing technology, which is available in the local environment and familiar for the local people. In addition to the successful export of digital education and ICT tools, it would be important to motivate and guide teachers and other key persons to use the exported technology in beneficial ways in the future. Supporting teachers and paying attention to pedagogical methods and curriculum material would offer a framework and understanding for the importance and possibilities of new technology. (World Bank Group 2016.) As Finland is boosting its educational export and many companies are planning to expand their business to developing countries, the authors of this article would like to emphasise the importance of paying attention to local environments and local citizens’ ways of living and behaving in those environments. Conducting user-centric surveys before expanding a business idea is not always enough, but extensive research implemented in collaboration with local people would support digital exports, even though it takes extra time, because this enables large-scale business transactions that benefit local people as well.

Conclusion

Education export should be based on understanding the needs of India’s ecosystems. A holistic perspective might be a good approach for looking at these ecosystems. A holistic approach to humans and societal development consists of essential elements such as the participation, agency and empowerment of people and enterprises, and these elements could help with the exploitation of digital tools. According to the OECD’s approach, holistic wellbeing includes physical, mental, emotional and social factors, as well as happiness and life satisfaction (OECD 2015). Without these elements, any digital products exported to developing countries will not scale and be implemented in practice successfully.

Writers

Sanna Juvonen, Senior Lecturer, RDI, M.Sc. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sanna.juvonen(at)laurea.fi
Päivi Marjanen, Principal Lecturer, RDI, Ph.D. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, paivi.marjanen(at)laurea.fi
Francis Adaikalam, Assistant Professor, M.Phil. Social Medicine and Community Health, Loyola College Chennai, India, francis(at)loyolacollege.edu

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