Aalto University School of Business students Aki Putkiranta (Information Service Management) and Linh Pham (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management) explored different aspects of digital learning in working environments to match Finnair’s needs for learning at work.
The students studied the current situation of learning and training activities at Finnair through 21 in-depth interviews with people from different units, professions, and levels within the company. They combined previous knowledge from university courses in HR and digital transformation with these interviews to give valuable insight to Finnair.
For Aki and Linh, this project was a valuable learning experience in understanding the role of information systems and individual preferences for learning at work.
'Interviews with the company people significantly improved my understanding about how people want to learn in different ways. It was such a great experience to meet many interesting people from various professions and discuss their thoughts about learning in their company', Linh Pham says.
Based on interview data, the students categorized Finnair personnel into groups based on professional characteristics and learner types. They also identified ongoing trends in digital learning and benchmarked the marketplace of digital learning content creation, using academic sources and recent Aalto University research into the topic. They proposed several initiatives covering technological and non-technological aspects into improving employee learning at Finnair, consistently maintaining a people-first basis for using technological solutions.
'What really excited me during this project was developing a people-centered view of professional learning; one size does not necessarily fit all, and ensuring effective employee learning comes from understanding what users want', notes Aki Putkiranta.
Close cooperation and communication between staff and students
Finnair was pleased with the outcome of the project. According ot Outi Sivonen, Head of People Development at Finnair, Linh and Aki had a good approach on the subject – and they were able to gather different aspects on digital learning, even though the area is constantly evolving. We received good background knowledge to be used in our further decision-making regarding digital learning platforms and content creation. It also gave us more understanding especially on user expectations.
Hertta Vuorenmaa, supervisor of the project, is also satisfied with the results.
'Aki and Linh were both exemplary in how they worked with this case. They were self-organising and efficient, they immediately picked up on the clients wishes and my role as a supervisor was mainly to act as a discussant and commentator. Our final meeting was a very nice event where the mutual win-win was obvious. The client was happy, the students had excelled in their task and thus as a supervisor I was also very happy and proud', she comments.
Such a successful outcome for both Finnair and Aalto University was possible through close cooperation and communication between staff and students. Finnair was very clear in communicating their expectations and greatly supported the students in setting up interviews as well as in providing information. 'Our cooperation felt smooth and pleasant and from the beginning it felt like we were all on the same page', Hertta Vuorenmaa says.
The idea of the Customized Business Projects concept is to teach students how to make research and development for the companies. The business project offers a fully tailored model for cooperation between the business and the university. Business projects are planned based on the objectives of the company. Tommi Vihervaara is responsible for managing the concept at the School of Business.