University of Oulu launches JOY – a new online platform and range of continuous learning services
“Continuous learning refers to education and development of competence for the needs of work. It also consists of responsible dissemination of scientific knowledge and critical thinking. Learning does not stop, no matter what degree you complete,” says Tapio Koivu, Vice Rector for Education at the University of Oulu. “The purpose of JOY is to provide everyone with access to high-quality learning opportunities based on scientific knowledge.”
At first, the JOY website will be available in Finnish, and later also in English.
The JOY online service compiles information on various courses and all open, continuing and customisable education available at the University of Oulu, and makes it easy to find and participate in such training. Education is available in a wide range of fields and themes ranging from management and business development to lighting design, remote guidance in therapy and ICT skills for the world of work. The website also contains information on specialist training in the field of education and medicine, languages and culture, and a multidisciplinary course on climate challenges. The scope of education varies from short courses to complete units.
JOY is also strongly focused on supporting companies. “We help companies and organisations of all sizes to identify their competence and development needs. We are building a strong competence ecosystem in the Oulu region together with companies and partners,” says Pekka Jääskö, Manager of Business Collaboration at JOY.
JOY is the University of Oulu’s response to the ongoing national reform of continuous learning of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Higher education institutions are encouraged to make their course availabilities more open and to develop the higher education system as a platform for continuous learning. This is based on the need to prepare for future changes in the world of work. The vision for continuous learning is based, among other things, on the recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In Finland, the disparities in participation in adult education are among the largest in the OECD countries. It is recommended that Finland should increase the amount of non-degree education better suited to the needs of adults with different educational backgrounds.
The University of Oulu has therefore decided to double the number of non-degree students to 15,000 by 2024. Non-degree students refer to everyone completing studies at an open university, in continuing education, through a non-degree study right, and in different courses. The amount of tailored, practice-based education will also be increased to better meet the competence needs of companies and organisations. If required, it is possible to quickly build effective packages from existing degree programmes. The learning environments will change alongside teaching, and continuous learning will eventually become a balanced combination of digital learning and personal encounters.