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“Learning is increasingly moving online”

The SotePeda 24/7 project aims to develop digital teaching and learning solutions.

Two students working on a project together using a computer.

For two years, the SotePeda 24/7 project has been seeking new solutions for strengthening the competences of teachers, students and professionals in using digital services in the social and health care sectors. The project, coordinated by Laurea and funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, involves 23 higher education institutions as well as an extensive collaborative social services and health care network.

The aim of the project is to produce educational content that meets the future competence needs of social services and health care. The content is provided using new pedagogical solutions and learning environments, creating smooth and year-round digital study paths.

The primary target groups of SotePeda 24/7 are teachers and students of higher education institutions. So far, the project has produced over 200 open microlearning units, which will be made available at the Library of Open Educational Resources website. These materials have already been used for 20 MOOC study units, which are available to everyone at CampusOnline.

Co-creation is also possible online

The teacher network of SotePeda 24/7 consists of over 250 teachers from different higher education institutions. During the project, a series of webinars and trainings have also been carried out in which the project’s themes have been discussed in more detail.

At the beginning of April, Principal Lecturer Jarmo Sarkkinen from Haaga-Helia held a webinar that focused on co-creation and digital Living Lab environments.

In the webinar, Sarkkinen introduced the joint project of Haaga-Helia and Laurea that tested the Living Lab learning environment shared by two universities of applied sciences. Following a pilot carried out in autumn 2019, a study unit was organised this spring in which students developed solutions for monitoring and improving the self-care capabilities of home care clients.

One of the goals of SotePeda 24/7 is to develop a digital Living Lab learning environment that enables flexible co-creation.

- Tools for online co-creation and communication already exist, says Sarkkinen.
- In order to succeed, it is more important to think about the co-creation process: what should be done and when, and how to get all students involved.

“The new situation challenges teachers to experiment”

Lecturer Eija Viitala from LAB University of Applied Sciences was among the participants of the Living Lab webinar, and she has been pleased with the SotePeda 24/7 project’s trainings. Viitala, who represents LAB in the project, emphasises the importance of sharing knowledge:

- It was very useful to hear about the experiences of how the Living Lab environment was realised in this particular case, she says.
- A large group of experts are involved in the project. It has been great to see what kind of culture for sharing knowledge and skills has formed within the project.

The project has already been running for two years, but the current corona situation and the rapid shift of all teaching to online platforms has emphasised the project’s importance.

- The change has forced us to think about our practices and to consider what could be carried out entirely in digital environments, says Viitala, who works as a Lecturer in Physiotherapy.
- Now has also been the time to challenge oneself and be bolder in trying out new things. Students have also been open to experiments in the current situation.

Before this spring, Jarmo Sarkkinen from Haaga-Helia had already noticed that students expect better online learning solutions:

- The current situation only reinforces that expectation and has brough it more clearly to the teachers’ attention, he says.
- New solutions need to be developed for working together online, and this project suits that purpose well. This development will continue to intensify once the acute corona situation passes.

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