Knowledge gained by working in university-industry collaboration projects
Säisä, Marika; Määttä, Sanna; Roslöf, Janne (2019)
Jens Bennedsen, Aage Birkkær Lauritsen, Kristina Edström, Natha Kuptasthien, Janne Roslöf & Robert Songer
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Many surveys from recent years emphasize the interdisciplinary skills of job candidates, such as communication, organization, teamwork and social skills. Companies tend to value practical work experience that provides evidence of the applicant’s capabilities and potential. The CDIO initiative also adduces the importance of interpersonal skills. The CDIO Standard 7, Integrated Learning Experiences, sets the focus on fostering the learning of disciplinary knowledge simultaneously with personal and interpersonal skills as well as product, process, and system building skills. Accordingly, the CDIO Standard 8, Active Learning, engages students in analytical thinking and problem-solving activities, strengthening also the students’ motivation and reflection on what they have learned. Students ought to gain both disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge in order to become future engineering professionals. Usually, courses in higher education provide fundamental knowledge and skills during the studies. In addition, students should work in authentic contexts and environments to deepen their competences and thus, become more ready for working life. This case study analyzes a set of soft skills students have attained by working in “theFIRMA”, a project-based learning environment at Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), Finland. The analyze is done based on the survey done for the alumni of the learning environment. The results of the survey indicate that theFIRMA or its previous forms have had a great impact on the work possibilities and the skills students have attained while working in the learning environment. In addition, the most valued interpersonal skills of the alumni are the same skills that the companies recruiting value the most. Thus, it seems that the integration of project-based learning and interpersonal skills works smoothly.