научная статья по теме Innovative learning in higher education through Peer to Peer Экономика и экономические науки

Текст научной статьи на тему «Innovative learning in higher education through Peer to Peer»

Innovative learning in higher education through Peer to Peer*

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Paul Gordon Dickinson

Senior Lecturer, Department of Business and Administration, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Hyvinkää, Finland

Piia Mustonen

Senior Lecturer, Department of Business and Administration, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Hyvinkää, Finland

This paper seeks to examine and explore academic literature and empirical implications of a specific Peer to Peer (P2P) degree programme within a new learning by development initiative (LbD) in a university setting. Laurea University of Applied Sciences Finland introduced LbD in 2006 as a pedagogical framework for learning in all its degree programmes based on authenticity, partnership, experimentation, research orientation and creativity. There are 5 competences within this pedagogical framework to be acquired by the learner. These are described and academically assessed within the paper itself. They are: ethical, global, networking, innovative and reflective, respectively. Within this framework Laurea Hyvinkaa campus has developed since 2008 a P2P learning model.

The core objective of the paper is to assess some quantitative empirical findings from this P2P model and through those findings evaluate the reality of the presence of the LbD competences.

4 specific projects involving real businesses within this unique P2P programme are described and assessed within that objective. Together with the evaluation criteria used. An anonymous questionnaire was given to participants within the P2P model. This investigation shows that this particular P2P educational model is a good example of the LbD initiative, and that the LbD's

5 competences are present in reality within it.

The empirical evidence shows that the most present competences within the P2P model are the innovative reflective and network ones, which are strongly incorporated. The global and ethical competences are present in reality to a far lesser extent. This paper demonstrates additionally that this P2P educational model fills the gap between traditional teaching methods and pure research based learning. It highlights the successful reality of collaborative learning and the development of knowledge for those involved in the process (mentors, students and businesses).

Keywords: Learning by Development, Peer to Peer, Education, Competences


Ever increasing globalisation means that modern universities have to respond more quickly and appropriately to the needs of the learning and business communities. Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland (LUAS), a modern multidisciplinary institution, is an example of a flexible, innovative university that has made such a response.

Since 2006 LUAS has shifted its focus from traditional teaching methods to a student centred approach, within

Статья публикуется в авторской редакции.

its learning processes. The pedagogical framework for learning at LUAS is called 'Learning by Development' (LbD), which is the systematic development of an interaction between training and the reality of working life (Kallio-inen, 2008). The objective of this paper is to describe and assess the reality of this LbD development as a learning framework, through one model called Peer to Peer (P2P). The LbD framework is based around 5 competences to be acquired by the learner, ethical, global, networking, innovative and reflective (Rauhala, 2007).

This P2P model was introduced in business studies in August 2008, at the Hyvinkaa unit of LUAS, and it is a model where student's learning is linked to development projects that are rooted in the business world.

The reality of its development includes an academic description and assessment of each of the (LbD) competences. There is then a description of 4 real life P2P projects and an assessment of the reality of the acquisition of these competences by the learner. This is achieved through quantitative empirical research. An anonymous questionnaire was given to all participants involved in the P2P projects during the Autumn semester of 2009. Additionally, there is an assessment of the overall reality of the collaborative learning involvement for all those involved which includes mentors, students and business itself.

Learning by Development (LbD)

LbD is Laurea's innovative pedagogical operating model. It was started in 2006 by LUAS and had the distinction of being named as a centre of excellence by the Finnish ministry of Education in the same year. In it, the three statutory tasks of Finnish universities of applied sciences — pedagogy, regional development and R&D — are merged into a single process of creating new expertise and knowledge. Learning is creative, and it is based on authenticity, research-orientation and face-to-face encounters.

Dimensions of the LbD Model

The LbD model defines a learning environment which utilises internal and external networks and is in constant interaction with the world of work. Communities of experts have been put in place to produce new competences, not just for students, but for the development of workplaces and the region. LbD seeks to provide research-based solutions to genuine workplace problems that cannot be solved with existing knowledge.


Authenticity is implemented in practice as research and development projects and initiatives linked to the students' studies, work placements and theses. The best projects integrate competences from different fields of study. The most important thing is to identify the core phenomena of each problem and the concepts with which these phenomena can be analysed. R&D tasks are used to link studies to innovation work and to turn genuine workplace issues into objects of evaluation. The opportunity to participate as developers in such projects helps students to grow into people who can change established workplace practices, and develop into business leaders.

These development projects are built on the concept of partnership, which implies cooperation between lecturers, experts from the labour market and students. The core of development activities is formed by development teams in which shared expertise is generated. Development teams manage partnership networks and the progress of the project and organise work activities and methods. The cooperation between students, lecturers and business people is based on responsible commitment, mutual respect, equality and appreciation for diverse competences.

The competences are founded on research-based knowledge, the understanding of professional contexts, skills in completing the necessary tasks and managing various workplace situations. Consequently, these projects facilitate an unlimited learning process where no glass ceilings are set by curricula, textbooks or exercises. Students use projects to learn for example the basics of networking, social skills and communication with experts in the field.

This project work enhances individuality in learning, and whilst working as partners, students build their own study plans according to their own objectives. They recognise the competence requirements of participating in the development project, as well as the competence they can acquire through the project, and this increases the students' self-directiveness.

The LbD's Five Competences

The Ethical Competence

Ethics is a systematic attempt to understand moral concepts, ethical rules and principles, virtues and values. Professional ethics looks at what is right and wrong, obligated and justified, good and bad, desirable and to be avoided in professional activities. Ethics has both private and social dimensions. In Laurea's ethical competence, the private dimension is embodied in the student's self-reflection. In this process, students examine their own concepts of right and wrong. Professional ethics refers to a professional code, i.e. a number of ethical principles and rules agreed for a specific trade, which direct individual professionals' actions. They include considerations of what is ethically acceptable and advisable when carrying out the trade (Raikka, Kotkanvirta & Sajama, 1995).

Laurea graduates are professional experts and, as such, holders of public social positions, so optimally their ethical competence should be evident as the assumption of communal and social responsibility, the identification and solving of complex ethical problems, and the ability to work in practice while promoting long-term sustainable development.

For some Laurea degree programmes, the inclusion of ethical questions in the curriculum is new. In order

for ethical competence to form an appropriate part of | every degree programme, the value objectives, social =□ responsibility, current professional ethics and main ethical m questions of each sector must be analysed. The ethical ° generic competence also involves acquiring abilities that 5 have not traditionally been included in professional ethics q teaching. Optimally, the students' progression through the m ethical generic competence creates an ethical base for s new expertise generated at Laurea. Just like old profes- u sions, new professions need ethical guidelines in order 5 to maintain the legitimacy of the profession, to support ° individual workers' ethical activities, and to determine 1 responsibilities in multidisciplinary partnerships (Honkonen & Korander, 2004).

Laurea's ethical generic competence is based on a four-component model developed by James Rest and his colleagues. This is currently the leading research paradigm for moral psychology (Rest, Narvaez, Thoma & Bebeau, 1999). The ethical generic competence consists of four components: (1) ethical sensitivity; (2) ethical motivation; (3) moral-ethical problem-solving; and (4) ethical implementation skills.

The first requirement for ethical actions is sensitivity to identifying the ethical perspectives or problems involved in a situation. Ethical sensitivity refers to the ability to recognise t

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