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Why is human interaction and lifewide learning so important in the changing working landscape?

Working life is going through a shift on many levels, and self-development plays a significant role in staying relevant in today’s job market.
Students discussing around a laptop on an outside terrace during a summer course at Aalto University Summer School.

We are currently living in the midst of a revolution of work, and it started long before the pandemic. Remote work is the new ordinary and the fourth industrial revolution, driven forward by disruptive technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing and cloud computing will drive the change towards automation at a fast pace.

Neurologist and Aalto University docent Kiti Müller commented on the importance of balancing automation with human interaction in the latest episode of the Back to Work Sessions interview series.

‘If we want to build a more socially sustainable future of work and working life, the most important thing in every organisation and workplace are the people. It is the people who are motivated to solve problems, they innovate and they care for each other. In the end, it is the people that keep the society running – not the machines.’, says Müller. 

The mass isolation we have experienced during the pandemic will have consequences on many levels, but for the individual that is used to learning new things every day, both consciously and unconsciously, the impact is massive.

‘In order for the human brain to thrive, we constantly need to develop and learn new things – especially through human interaction, which we have been lacking for the past two years. A screen does not offer the same level of interaction as being in the same, physical room with others.’, Müller continues.

In order for the human brain to thrive, we constantly need to develop and learn new things – especially through human interaction.

Neurologist and docent Kiti Müller

Relevant skills and lifewide learning

As most of us know, developing your skills and competencies is crucial to stay relevant in today's fast-paced working landscape. However, no matter if the underlying driver is your own interest, a supervisor’s request or simply to switch careers, lifewide learning is all about recognising the significant impact the ongoing changes will have on individuals, social structures and organisations in the future.

Laura Sivula, Head of Summer School and Program Director is an expert on lifewide learning and strongly believes that we all should acknowledge the fact that no one is ever complete, there are always new things to learn and new skills to acquire. 

‘The future of work is changing on societal, organisational and individual levels, and there is really not so much the individual can do about the changes we see on a societal level. However, they can influence how their personal competence stays relevant and even steer their careers in that direction. It is also extremely important that the learner gains support from their employer when it comes to lifewide learning – learning and skill development should always be allowed during working hours.’, Sivula comments.

Open online learning at Aalto University

Aalto University Summer School welcomes learners from any field and background, no matter if you are a master’s student or have a long career behind you. We want our courses to be an inspiration for both students and individuals already in working life that want to update their skills in a particular field.

We have gathered some of the newest open online courses at Aalto University. A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is open for everyone and is a great way to update your knowledge about a certain topic in an easily graspable and self-paced way.

Develop your own skills and take an open online course by Aalto University

Design Bits is Aalto's introductory online course to design for non-designers. Illustration: Paulo Dziobczenski

Design Bits online course for non-designers (external link)

Become more creative problem-solver by learning how to learn through exploration and experimentation.

Hertta filming an online teaching video at Aalto University School of Business

Future of Work (Open online)

We are amid a revolution of work, which started already long before the pandemic. Making sense of the future of work can feel tricky in the middle of a constant information overflow. This course is supported with academic research and references packaged in a way that is easy to access. In this course, we will look at how the roles of the individual, organisations and society have changed and how it affects how we work today and in the future.

Aalto University Summer School
A picture of a video shoot, where a smiling woman is sitting in front of a video camera and a director is watching the scene.

Finland Works (Open online)

In this course, we will look at how to navigate in Finnish working life and how to find a job. We explore working life in Finland from societal, organisational and individual perspectives. Once you have finished this course, you will have a better understanding of work culture in Finland, what working in a Finnish company is like, how individuals find work-life balance in Finland, how to communicate your skills, and how to look for jobs in Finland.

Aalto University Summer School
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FITech publishes two MOOCs under the theme of lifewide learning

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