The change coordinators’ network celebrated its first anniversary – an entire year of cooperation promoting continuous learning

Digivisio has a goal: continuous learning and the supplementing of competence should be a natural part of our society in 2030. The project promotes change in the everyday of higher education institutions. These changes require practical measures and determined guidance towards the set goals. The change coordinators’ network launched in October 2022 was borne of this need. The network has accepted responsibility for guiding higher education institutions through change.

The operations of the Digivisio 2030 programme’s change coordinators’ network were launched a year ago in October. At that time, the 37 higher education institutions participating in the project appointed their own change coordinators, whose task is to coordinate matters related to change in their own institutions.

The project does not lead change work in the higher education institutions. Instead, the network is a means of providing them with the necessary support and assistance. In other words, change coordinators are key actors for both the project and the higher education institutions.

“The higher education institutions set their own goals, as well as decide how and when they will adopt services developed in Digivisio. Still, the change programme can support higher education institutions in both the preparation of change plans and the implementation of the developed solutions,” says Programme Manager Erika Maliranta.

Focus on the identification and development of educational products related to continuous learning

During the past year, the change coordinators have focussed on producing change information, identifying impacts, and setting change targets for their own higher education institution. This work has also laid the foundation for change plans, which will help higher education institutions to take their chosen steps.

The development of continuous learning as a higher education institutions’ educational product has been an essential part of both the Digivisio project and the higher education institutions’ own goals. During the past year, the focus has been on identifying education other than degree-awarding education and developing related processes, such as the dissemination of new information obtained through research and development on the Digivisio tray.

“The change programme in itself does not necessarily introduce much new to higher education institutions. The themes may have already been identified in many higher education institutions. Many have said that Digivisio has accelerated work that has been under way or about to start,” Maliranta says.

“For example, the change plans have given them a clear direction, timetables and responsibilities, which will be specified as the plans are developed further at the end of the year,” says Project Manager Eeva-Leena Forma.

Vigour for development through networks

The change coordinators work with an approximately 50–100 per cent input, and seven hours have been allocated for the network’s joint activities related to the project every week. The network also operates independently and actively, its members supporting one another. In addition to best practices, peer support is available whenever it is needed.

The internal networks of higher education institutions also play an important role. Internal networking brings together the institution’s multidisciplinary development competence, and different actors often already have their own connections to the Digivisio project through different working groups, pilots, training programmes and webinars. Identifying these internal networks and their roles in the change has also been an important part of preparatory work during the first year of operation.

“Higher education institutions’ networks also play a key role, as the higher education institutions can vocalise the change in their own way. Through these networks, the goals become reality in teaching, research and various support services,” Forma states.

Toward implementation

The second year of change coordinator activities has been launched by shifting the focus toward the future on a more concrete level. The current measures support higher education institutions’ transition on their way toward the implementation of the continuous and flexible learning tray.

“When we look at our work in a year’s time, we will already begin to see how the goals turn into reality. Not only in higher education institutions, but also in the service of the tray,” Forma summarises.