Building bridges between universities of applied sciences and the job market - artificial intelligence boosting higher education
Tani, Petri; Moisio, Anu; Ruotsalainen, Taru; Huttunen, Salla; Toukkari, Pia-Mariana; Ahokallio-Leppälä, Heidi (2019)
International Academy of Technology, Education and Development
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Finland, the country famed for its education, aims to strengthen the transmission of knowledge and research based on open science to the world of work through lifelong learning, thereby contributing to the development of Finland ́s economy and society. A substantial number of people are in need of further education and willing to upgrade their skills. According to survey made by STTK (2018), up to 87% of the working population is willing to take part in retraining. As many as 56% of the working population state a need for further training so as to maintain or develop their skills in the near future. About 36% of the workforce is considering a change in career and have a new profession.The Ministry of the Education and Culture has recently renewed the funding model for Finnish universities and higher education institutions. In the funding model, the share of continuing education is rising as from 1 January 2021 up to 9% (currently 5%) for universities of applied sciences and up to 5% for universities (currently 2%). Continuous learning will include the credits for preparatory training for immigrants in open higher education, specialization courses, separate studies and polytechnics.This paper aims to describe a development project between five Universities of Applied Sciences and the world of work as a response to the new situation. We have co-created a common artificial intelligence powered digital environment which is conceived as an ecosystem - a matching tool consisting of our study offering (courses, modules etc.) and the need for skills and labor in the world of work. In the system, people who would like to upgrade their own skills and knowledge have an option of taking studies from the five Finnish universities of applied sciences: Haaga-H elia, HAMK, Laurea, Metropolia, and XAMK. The “artificial intelligence in continuing education” (AICE) ecosystem gives these people a head start in their studies and efficiently helps to fill the skills gaps through lifelong learning. The AICE ecosystem focuses more on learning rather than administration. The purpose of AICE has been to improve the match of the skills needed in the world of work and our training offering quickly and easily. The AICE model has shown that it is possible to integrate artificial intelligence to continuing education successfully. This paper discusses ways of utilizing artificial intelligence to identify the skills needed in the world of work and meeting those needs in higher education institutions, using a digital learning ecosystem. In this paper, we will present a concrete model of AICE. This model is fast, ecological, economical, reachable, and student-centered. The initial findings of the project are promising, but there we are facing challenges in getting artificial intelligence and study offerings linguistically compatible (descriptions and contents of studies).In the future, we aim to make the AICE available for all those who need to upgrade their skills or retrain.We conclude that there are different ways to employ continuous learning, intensify studies between levels of different degrees, and to highlight the learning opportunities using artificial intelligence, such as the common digital matching ecosystem AICE.