Aalto is developing its lifewide learning offering – microcredentials can now be used to build on existing competence
As working life changes, completing a degree and building one’s professional competence on top of it are no longer enough. University degrees take several years to complete and are therefore too slow a method for responding to the need for experts in different fields.
At Aalto University, we believe learning is flexible and broad-based, as opposed to the traditional idea of a linear learning curve. That is why we like to talk about lifewide learning where the needs of the changing world, individual life situations, and different ways of learning can all be taken into account.
Aalto University provides all those interested in learning a versatile and extensive portfolio of over 400 courses and programmes, offering various forms of teaching from microcredentials to continuing education programmes and entire degrees.
High-quality teaching that is based on the latest research and degree education and that combines science, art, business and technology in a multidisciplinary manner is at the core of the educational offering. Aalto University is constantly developing new teaching methods that emphasise e-learning and informal learning. We want to provide the participants with the best possible learning experience under the leadership of top-level Aalto teachers.
Continuous learning is one of the missions of universities
Although updating, growing, and expanding one’s competence is largely at the responsibility of the individual, the task of the society as a whole is to ensure that opportunities are offered for it.
In 2019, continuous learning was added as the fourth mission of universities under the Universities Act, alongside teaching, research, and societal interaction. In fact, Aalto has engaged in active development work to ensure that the offering aimed at those wishing to grow their competence is relevant and timely.
The uncertain times of the recent years have not made the planning work easy, but our only option is to boldly look ahead. Taking in new information and having an open mind towards the future are vital factors to the success of the individual and the society.
In its national continuous learning strategy for higher education published in December 2022, the Ministry of Education and Culture underlined the importance of continuous learning and outlined that in the future, continuous learning in higher education institutions would increase inclusion, renew the educational foundation, and fortify the science and research-based conception of the world. The actions specified in the strategy emphasise open higher education, clear pathways for development and qualification as an expert, and RDI-based education solutions for communities. Aalto University’s plans and objectives for lifewide learning are in line with the identified actions.
New technologies enable new ways to learn
One of Aalto's most important development targets for lifewide learning are microcredentials, in which learning focuses on short courses or study modules.
‘Unlike traditional academic degrees, which may take years to complete, microcredentials can be acquired in a much shorter time. Flexibility, focusing on a specific topic, and fast completion make them an attractive option for students who want to quickly acquire new skills or for professionals who want to build on their existing competence’, explains Laura Sivula, Business Area Director, Lifewide Learning.
Microcredentials may include various elements, such as micro-learning or degree courses. For example, micro-learning modules can be stacked into micro-courses and further into microcredentials.
Flexibility, focusing on a specific topic, and fast completion make microcredentials an attractive option for students.
Another lifewide learning development target for Aalto are blockchain-based credentials. Storing credentials in blockchains validates their authenticity. The credentials model for continuous learning may include different types of educational and competence data, enabling the building of an individual and versatile competency profile. The credentials can easily be stored in your personal credentials wallet on mobile devices.
‘For the learner, it is important to be able to keep their study certificates in a verified format. The learner can also accumulate larger skills sets from smaller courses that communicate their specialised skills in the job market. In the future, competence certificates will follow the European model and will also be usable in European job markets,’ says Sivula.
Aalto University Lifewide Learning helps you develop your skills in an ever-changing environment.