The annual IT days of Finnish HEIs was held this year in Lahti on the joint campus of LAB University of Applied Sciences and LUT University. The days offered a wide range of presentations on current IT topics with the theme “IT with a purpose”, bringing together around 500 IT professionals from higher education institutions, from management to support staff from all the corners of Finland. During the first day of the event, I gave a presentation about how Finland can use learning technologies to support building education ecosystems. Below you find a summary of what we discussed there!
Learning Technologies should drive HEIs’ education ecosystems
Finnish HEIs can draw from their edtech expertise and learning technologies better opportunities to build education business ecosystems that promote fit-for-purpose training and network international talents to Finnish industry demands. In other words, Finnish learning technologies should be used to better support talent management and employment in Finland.
To concretize this idea, I referred to the article written by Pekka Kähkipuro, an EUA Digital Transformation Steering Committee member and part of the Tampere Higher Education Community. I divided this session in the following parts:
- Strategic planning
Finnish education institutions must succeed in identifying, retaining, and building collaboration with international talents through concrete education strategies involving learning technologies, from student exchange programs to new institutional planning towards value-driven use of learning technologies.
For a proper education digital transformation to happen, it has to be expert-oriented, with students and staff, edtech and business analytics experts providing insights on possibilities presented by current technologies and future trends, and how they can be connected to the institution’s aspirations.
- Learning technologies
Then, learning technologies need to be seen as assets that add value to the university’s core activities and boost innovation.
In recent years, the role of digital technologies has gradually changed. But in many cases, organisations have not changed their ways of working and governance models accordingly. For example, IT management is still often seen as a cost centre, with the main goal being to spend less – as opposed to investing in IT and learning technologies as an asset that adds value to the university’s core activities. As a result, the IT landscape often consists of a sub-optimal, dispersed collection of tools and technologies, while IT departments are kept busy firefighting to resolve urgent problems.Pekka Kähkipuro
In an unpredictable and rapidly changing world, retrospective data reporting needs to be replaced by predictions for fact-based decision making. This will require better use of systems integration and data management towards data-driven, performance-based, career-oriented and teacher-informed decision making for talent models using new ways of analysing data to boost talent identification, retention and collaboration!
Finland already has robust Education Resource Planners and Management Systems that collects student life cycle and staff performance, such as Peppi. Universities must use this data to develop models for identifying international talents based on some indicators such as productivity, students/staff engagement, performance metrics, career growth, study plans, but also innovative ways of supporting university professors on identifying these international talents that they have access on a weekly (if not daily) basis.
- Network for employment
Finally, there is a need to change the education process and opportunities that students have to build their career network. Learning paths should be filled with cross-curricular and long-term academy, government and industry collaboration in everyday practices towards building international education/business ecosystems that supports collaboration with international IT talents in Finland. This creates a network for building a path for students from applicant to employee. More intersectoral collaboration, such as done through the Made in Finland campaign, enables communication with a wider audience through the channels and connections of the network members.
I finished my presentation by giving an example of how we have used Wihi, a learning technology developed by Eduix, to support us in building education ecosytems in Ghana and finding international talents that can boost our research and business development in the international market.