The Digivisio 2030 project has examined ways to support the study ability of different types of learners on the path of continuous and flexible learning. As a partial implementation work, the experts of higher education institutions have produced a report that presents methods for supporting study ability. The report examines different learning environments from the digital world environment to face-to-face teaching. The preliminary study was prepared by Ville Nevalainen from Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Leena Penttinen from the University of Jyväskylä.
The preliminary study’s report recommends measures to higher education institutions and highlights good practices. It also presents what kind of cooperation related to study ability is already being carried out in different networks. The report also provides proposals for developing staff competence. The study ability model on the FSHS website provides a good starting point for reflecting on study ability and for training staff. The model can also be utilised in the development of education and strategic management of higher education institutions.
What are higher education institutions already doing to support study ability?
The preliminary study revealed that higher education institutions are already taking various measures to support study ability: career guidance has been developed, peer support is available, returning to studies is supported by guidance and various tips have been compiled for learners to support their study skills. Higher education institutions have also prepared their own accessibility plans in 2022. So far, there have been few projects focusing on learning analytics, and the practices piloted in them have often remained specific to the higher education institution.
The report recommends higher education institutions to organise diverse peer support activities for learners, develop Personal Study Plan guidance and structure study skills support practices to the study path continuum. Involving students and staff in the planning of learning environments is important. Staff competence in several areas related to study ability—such as career guidance tools—should be increased as well.
The preliminary study also highlighted that the Digivisio 2030 project could play a role in, for example, tailoring the study ability model in the context of continuous learning, building a modular Personal Study Plan tool and developing digital platforms for student encounters. Digivisio could also help in identifying the opportunities provided by artificial intelligence and learning analytics in supporting study ability. In promoting accessibility, cooperating by sharing good practices is important for higher education institutions.
Networks and research-based development work play a key role
In summary, the preliminary study’s report recommends taking lifelong guidance into account comprehensively in the Digivisio 2030 project. For example, when developing the continuous and flexible learning tray, it is a good idea to consider the principles presented in the national strategy for lifelong guidance. Digivisio can participate in the dismantling of inequalities by critically examining the ethical nature of digital solutions and how they affect the promotion of educational equality, non-discrimination and accessibility.
It is also important to consider the long-term, research-based development work carried out so far when designing e-learning training for staff. Development work has been carried out both in individual higher education institutions and nationally. E-learning training increases the quality of teaching and guidance only if the staff’s competence is built on a sustainable, research-based foundation.
The national Digivisio 2030 project aims to examine different possibilities for supporting study ability in a digital environment. E-learning experts work in close multiprofessional cooperation at different stages of digital service planning. At the core of the Digivisio project, study ability is examined especially from the perspective of the continuous learner. Key themes as the project progresses will include promoting accessibility and supporting study skills. Study ability support will also be promoted in the work of the guidance theme group.
Tuula Heide-Savolainen, Programme Manager, E-learning, tuula.heide-savolainen(at)csc.fi
Read the report’s summary: