Blog

Friends laughing

Liiketoiminnalle kasvua jatkuvan, yhteistyöhön perustuvan ja määrätietoisen oppimisen avulla

“Globaalissa taloudessa tiedon tuottaminen ja oppiminen näyttäytyvät organisaatioden menestyksen elinehtona.” (Tikkamäki, K.2006).

Mielekkyys

Maailma muuttuu ja kehittyy nopeasti. Globaalit markkinat saavat aikaan sen, että ihmiset ovat varpaillaan, kun on kyse koulutuksesta ja liiketoiminnasta. Toinen tähän aikaan tiiviisti liittyvä ilmiö on mielekkyys työssä.

Haluaisin tarkentaa, mitä tarkoitan tässä yhteydessä työn mielekkyys -käsitteellä. Työn mielekkyydellä tarkoitan, ettäyksilön arvot ovat yhteneväiset suoritettavan tehtävän kanssa. Kun yksilöiden arvot ovat yhteneväiset suoritettavan tehtävän kanssa, on heidän  helpompi tuntea, että tehtävä kannattaa tehdä heitä itseään varten, mutta lisäksi myös organisaatiota ja yhteiskuntaa varten, eikä pelkästään siksi, että työtehtävä nyt vain on saatava suoritetuksi.Työntekijöiden on ylipäätään tärkeää ymmärtää työtehtäviensä mielekkyys ja merkityksellisyys, jotta he voivat todella motivoitua niistä pitkäkestoisesti ja sitoutua niihin.

Osallistuminen, yhteistyö ja jatkuvuus

Tässä artikkelissa tutkin mielekkyyden ja oppimisen suhdetta kolmen näkökulman kautta: osallistuminen, yhteistyö ja jatkuvuus. Ota kurssin osallistujat mukaan opetuskokonaisuuden suunnitteluun, jaa heille tietoa ja tue tiedon rakentamista. Näin voidaan edesauttaa merkityksellisyyden kokemusta oppimisessa. Oppimisen mielekkyys on avain osaamisen kehittämiseen ja organisaatioiden kykyyn uudistua ja menestyä.

Osallistuminen

Saat sitoutettua työntekijöitäsi, jos otat heidät mukaan pohtimaan, millaista koulutusta juuri he tarvitsevat työssään ja muuttuvassa maailmassamme. Työntekijät itse ovat parhaita tunnistamaan koulutustarpeet itselleen, koska he tietävät itse parhaiten, mitä haasteita heidän työhönsä liittyy ja mitä asioita tulisi osata paremmin. Johto voi koulutustarpeiden tunnistamisen jälkeen puolestaan tarjota tukea, kuten koulutusta, yhdessä asianomaisten kumppaneiden kanssa.

Työntekijöiden autonomisuutta eli valtaa päättää heidän omasta kehityksestään ja koulutuksestaan voit lisätä juurikin antamalla heidän itsensä valita heille sopivin koulutus. Autonomisuus puolestaan lisää työntekijöiden kokemuksia työn merkityksellisyydestä. Tärkeintä tässä on auttaa työntekijöitä arvioimaan itse, mitä he tarvitsevat yksilöinä ja tiimeinä.

Yhteisoppiminen

Jo-olemassa olevan tai uuden, vasta saadun tiedon jakaminen työyhteisöissä tai tiedon muutosprosessit tuovat varmasti esiin myös hiljaista tietoa. Hiljainen tieto (eng. Tacit knowledge) on tietoa, jota kukaan ei välttämättä ole osannut kirjoittaa auki ohjeen muotoon tai edes tiedosta sitä. Hiljainen tieto voi olla esimerkiksi tietoa yrityksen kommunikaatio- tai muista toimintatavoista, miten tervehditään, miten pukeudutaan, kuinka tarkkoja ollaan mistäkin asioista jne. Mitä käytännönläheisempää työ on, sitä enemmän yhteisön jäsenille kertyy työvuosien mittaan syvällä piilevää hiljaista tietoa, josta on vaikea tulla itse tietoiseksi.

Monien, varsinkin kasvavien yritysten ongelmana on, että yksittäisistä työntekijöistä tulee helposti korvaamattomia. Heidän korvaamattomuutensa syntyy sillä, että tieto jää ainoastaan heille, jos sitä ei jaeta työyhteisön kesken, eli jos kommunikaatiosta sekä yhteisoppimisesta on puutetta. Näillä korvaamattomilla työntekijöillä on myös avainrooli yrityksen käytäntöjen uudelleen määrittelyssä, koska ainoastaan heillä on monesti tieto, miten tietyt asiat tulee hoitaa.Tällöin avainhenkilöt voivat määritellä uudelleen tavat, miten juuri heidän erikoisalueensa työtehtävät kuuluu tehdä.Verkko-oppimisen avulla voidaan tuoda esiin vaikeasti saavutettavaa, piilotettua tietoa. Lisäksi verkko-oppimisalustat antavat työntekijöille mahdollisuuden rakentaa yhteistoimin samassa paikassa uutta tietoa, jakaa ideoita ja luoda kekseliäitä, uusia ratkaisuja.

Read this blog in English!

solja sulkunen

About the Author

Solja Sulkunen used to work as Head of Customer Experience at Claned.


image

Join our tech team!

Claned is seeking a junior software engineer for backend web app development.

About Claned:

Claned is a cloud-based learning platform provider. Our customers include companies and institutions from all over the world on every continent aiming to train and develop their employees, as wells as NGOs and higher education institutes seeking education solutions. We provide learning design services where we help our customer to build their courses and identify the Finnish pedagogical best practices for their online courses aimed at generating the best possible learning outcomes.

Since Claned was commercially launched in 2017 we have been on a mission to be the world’s leading online learning platform by enabling learning to its fullest potential. This means increased motivation, preventing drop-outs and, the ability to scale results; this formula is applicable to all sectors of training and individual learning so regardless of the subject matter, Claned is here to create learning that actually works. Claned has been recognized and awarded as the best service to amplify learning results and unlock the “black box” of learning.

We continue to develop new solutions and strive to be better. Our community of learners is growing rapidly and so the increased the need to grow our tech team with a new member.

What are we looking for?

Claned is seeking a junior software engineer for backend web app development.

The web app is our flagship product which includes pedagogically designed and intuitive, unique features that enhance learning and provide possibilities, especially for social learning.

  • Our current challenges include scaling up the technology to meet booming demand.
  • We expect you to have a computer science degree with a specialization related to concurrency, distributed databases, and/or distributed software architecture.
  • Related work experience is very much appreciated, but you are likely to do well if you are a fast and adaptive learner
  • There are some specific languages and technologies we would prefer you to be familiar with, right from the start: C# together with .NET, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Kubernetes. (Any 2 out of 4 is sufficient, but you will have to work with the rest on the job.)

Bonus skills and nice to have buzzwords: 

  • RESTful Web Services
  • Docker
  • Azure
  • AKS
  • Elasticsearch
  • Some frontend skills (basics of HTML/CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript).

And of course, an interest in learning, education, and development is appreciated.

What do we offer?

By joining our team we offer you a lookout spot at a rapidly growing startup company running on the top edge of global online learning platform pioneers. We will make sure that you will have an opportunity to develop your career and yourself as much as you desire.

You will be provided the opportunity to work with a team of developers, get help whenever needed, and a solid induction process. Naturally, you will also experience a great company in a relaxed, young-hearted, and fun-loving company culture and atmosphere.

How to apply?

You can apply by sending a brief cover letter and CV to ilkka@claned.com. If you have any questions regarding the position, you can send your questions as well to the above-mentioned e-mail address. Please send your application latest by Monday 19 October. We interview applicants already during the application period and the position will be filled as soon as the right person is found.


Join our customer support team!

Nyt on haussa osa-aikainen Asiakastukihenkilö asiakaspalvelumme tukitehtäviin.

(n. 20h/viikko, mahdollisesti erikseen sovittavia päivystystöitä toimistotyöaikojen ulkopuolella) 

Olet toimintatavoiltasi ennen kaikkea asiakaslähtöinen ja tulet toimimaan osana asiakaspalvelutiimiä asiakasrajapinnassa. Tiimin tuella viestit asiakkaiden kanssa ja olet mukana selvittämässä asiakkaiden tukipyyntöjä.

Tuotteemme on pilvipalveluna toteutettu oppimisympäristö, jota käytetään ympäri maailman. Claned kasvaa voimakkaasti ja etsimme asiakastukeen tiimimme lisävahvistukseksi asiakaspalvelun ammattilaista, joka auttaa loppukäyttäjiämme ja asiakkaitamme alustamme käyttöön liittyvissä asioissa. Asiakkaita meillä on jokaiselta mantereelta ja yhteensä yli 40 maasta. Tukemme toimii tällä hetkellä suomeksi ja englanniksi, mutta arvostamme, jos sinulta löytyy osaamista myös muista kielistä. Tässä työssä saat todella näyttää kyntesi kommunikaation, vianmäärityksen ja asiakaspalvelun ammattilaisena!

Hakijalta odotamme: 

  • Kykyä ja/tai kiinnostusta oppia tekemään teknistä vianmääritystä
  • Mahdollisuutta työskennellä pääsääntöisesti aamupäivisin
  • Kokemusta työskentelystä etänä ja sujuvaa työskentelyä tietokoneen kanssa
  • Paineensietokykyä
  • Asiakaspalveluhenkeä ja uteliaisuutta
  • Työkielinä käytämme suomea ja englantia

Lisäksi arvostamme: 

  • Kokemusta asiakaspalvelutyöstä ja halua kehittää osaamistasi
  • Kiinnostusta asiakaspalveluympäristön kehittämiseen
  • Kiinnostusta verkko-oppimista kohtaan
  • Oma-aloitteellisuutta ja kykyä luovaan ongelmanratkaisuun

Tarjoamme: 

  • Näköalapaikan voimakkaasti kasvavan startup-yrityksen maailmaan ja toimintaan verkko -oppimispalvelun kansainvälisenä uranuurtajana
  • Saat mahdollisuuden työskennellä teknisen tuotteen asiakasrajapinnassa Account Managementin parissa
  • Hyvää meininkiä ja yhdessäoloa tiiviin porukan kesken

Työsuhde on osa-aikainen. Toimistomme sijaitsee Vallilan konepajalla hyvien yhteyksien ja palvelujen keskellä.

Hae tehtävään lähettämällä hakemuksesi ja CV:si viimeistään maanantaina 19.10. osoitteeseen anna@claned.com. Lisätietoja tehtävästä saat Annalta: anna@claned.com tai 30.9. & 2.10 klo 10-12 numerosta 040 751 8770. Haastattelemme hakijoita jo hakuaikana ja tehtävä täytetään heti oikean henkilön löydyttyä.

Anna Vanha-Honko

About the Author

Anna Vanha-Honko is Head of Customer Experience at Claned. Above all, she helps our customers to gain the best user experience from our software. In addition, she is knowledgeable regarding organizational learning, people processes, and culture.


Adults learning online with computers

What is learning?

Part I: Acquiring knowledge

What makes for learning?

What is good learning like?

What types of learning are there?

Depending on your answer, your solutions in your learning program may differ drastically.

Take a minute, and think about how you would define learning? Is the first thing that comes to mind, the increase in the amount of knowledge? What about the ability to use a new skill? Do you think about being able to take part in a new community? Would you go as far as thinking learning is about building knowledge or creating new solutions?

Learning is one of those concepts for which an all-encompassing definition will never be reached. Rather, it is best approached with metaphors. Anna Sfard’s article On Two Metaphors of Learning describes the discussion around the topic around 20 years ago.

There is more to the question about the nature of learning than just semantics. Therefore it is a fruitful starting point for designing your learning program.

Learning as an acquisition

The idea that learning means gaining or increase in the amount of knowledge is a self-evident one. When I know something today that I didn’t yesterday, I can say that I have learned something in between. The amount of information in my head has increased. The acquisition metaphor sees the human mind as a container, which can be filled with materials. Learning is about becoming an owner of these materials.

Researchers have presented different frameworks and mechanisms for the process of learning. While earlier theories talked about the passive reception of information, later the move was towards active construction by the learner and the importance of social interaction. At the moment, learning is more or less seen as an endless, self-regulating process taking place in the interaction with other learners, teachers, and learning materials.

Engaging the learners

The challenges of education are to engage learners, take into consideration their prior knowledge, and to offer different kinds of learners the right kind of support. To make things interesting, learners should be offered ways to operate meaningfully, use their earlier knowledge, measure their competence, and apply what they have learned. Things like bite-size learning, applications, and the ability to discuss with peers can make things more interesting.

Essentially, this is what most learning programs are about: whether it is a compliance training, induction to tasks, introducing new tools, or teaching skills. The goal is to teach the learner information or skills they don’t have. The role of the teacher or the learning program is to help the student attain knowledge by delivering, facilitating, mediating, and finally measuring learning. Once attained, knowledge like any other can be applied to a given task and shared with others.

The pathway towards the learning goal

When you design a learning program, you start with a container of knowledge either held by an expert or within documents. Processing the learning program includes structuring the information to what the learners are supposed to acquire. And the path towards that learning goal is designed in a way that it offers them meaningful activities and ways of interacting.

This is what most learning programs cover. They are designed to increase the amount of knowledge and skills. But taking the definition of learning a bit further might help you to rethink your learning programs. 

topi litmanen

About the Author

Dr. Topi Litmanen worked as a Chief Educational Scientist in Claned. He was responsible for ensuring, that the pedagogical aspects of Claned are based on evidence-based learning research.


diversity

How to foster diversity, inclusion and psychological safety in e-learning?

The link between diversity, inclusion, and psychological safety

When there is a lot of diversity, there is a need for inclusion. The need for inclusion is derived from a situation where members of a community are not the same. For instance, they do not share the same beliefs, culture, habits, religion, or, looks.

In this kind of situation, community members need to find a way to respect each other’s differences. Likewise, they need to learn to behave in ways that exemplify this, [1]. To make a community inclusive the diverse individuals need to feel psychologically safe, [4]. That is a community where everyone is treated equally and where everyone is having an equal level of belonging to the community.

The concept of psychological safety has various definitions. According to a definition by Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business University professor, psychological safety means that community members are not afraid to make mistakes. They feel safe to reveal incompleteness in their skill set to others, [2]. Psychological safety can be fostered for example, through open communication, showing trust, empathy, and friendliness, providing clarity and presence, [3], [4].

Inklusiiv, a Finnish non-profit organization, and cross-border community offering services to promote diversity and inclusion defines the concept of psychological safety as follows:

”A belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. When adopted in the workplace, team members feel respected and safe to be vulnerable in front of each other. Creating an environment in which people feel comfortable to take risks is key to fostering learning and innovation in the workplace.”, [5].

An online course platform that fosters diversity, inclusion, and psychological safety

How can an online course or an online course platform foster psychological safety? Here are our four main suggestions:

  • Build trust and respect towards each other, consider learners as autonomous knowledge creators
  • Foster an atmosphere where asking questions and information sharing is the desired activity
  • Provide constant support, feedback and as clear instructions as possible
  • Provide different materials for different needs
  • Make the learning atmosphere as humane and approachable as possible

The first rule in psychological safety is to build trust and respect towards each other, as stated above, [3], [4]. In order to create trust, individuals need to feel that they are respected and trusted by the teachers as learners and, as individual actors. This trust can be shown by e.g. allowing learners to influence and organize their own learning, for instance.

Learners’ ability to influence their learning adequately increases the possibility to reach a so-called flow-state which for its part engages deep learning process, [6]. Additionally, learners should be allowed and encouraged to act autonomously and construct knowledge together with others. In other words, to make learning a less hierarchical and a more collaborative process. Therefore, the students should be active and self-driven, collecting and constructing knowledge autonomously, together with their fellow learners and the teacher, [7].

How can you support open communication and autonomy in an online platform

In Claned’s online learning platform, learner autonomy is encouraged through the possibility to jump from one module, or set of content, to another. That is to say, learners can start from the end of the course if they wish to do so. In this way, learning remains more collaborative, and not an educator-driven process, which also enables and supports asynchronous learning.

Additionally, learners are able to actively participate in the knowledge construction process. For instance by adding their own thoughts, reflections, questions, and course material on the course board.

Claned’s board chat function on the course platform enables learners to have an open discussion.

Learners’ ability to rate materials, add comments, questions, and highlight text directly in specific parts of the course materials fosters open communication. This enables learners to create an atmosphere where asking questions and sharing insights is a desired and productive activity. Teachers can support the creation of this atmosphere by adding supportive replies to learners’ comments and questions. Teachers can identify interest or trouble areas and ask leading questions, or link additional information on the platform.

Additionally, the possibility to embed videos from different sources and inbuild chat functions helps to create a feeling of presence. Claned social media like platform creates a user-friendly and familiar experience.

Learners can find and see other learners’ public profiles. Likewise, starting private or group chats is an easy way to get to know each other better. These functions on Claned’s learning platform all in all help to create a friendly and humane atmosphere which in itself fosters psychological safety and inclusion.

Intuitive and easy to use learning platform

Claned’s intuitive and lean learning platform enables teachers to provide learners clear instructions for the course and the course materials. All the modules and course materials are visible at the same time on the course board. This helps learners to get a better overall picture of the course. For instance information about upcoming contents, tests, and desired goals and course progress. To reduce feelings of uncertainty learners are provided information on the course. For example, course structure, what is expected of them, and how long the course will take. This way, learners have easy access to all information, and thanks to the platform’s intuitiveness, it is really easy to use.

Above all, it is crucial to provide materials that suit the different needs the learners might have. Learners can have different backgrounds and varying prior skills. Therefore, different learning approaches and materials are inevitable. Learners have a variety of levels of knowledge, technical skills, and, access to devices. In conclusion, a lot of diversity.

At Claned’s learning platform, there is a possibility to create tests. Tests can help to define the learner’s prior skills, interests, and needs. Therefore it is possible to create different content packages to match each learner’s needs. This customized approach to learning helps to ensure that learners get the materials and support best suited to helping them develop and reach their goals.

Startup Refugees creating a psychologically safe learning atmosphere

A good example of creating psychological safety in online learning is the collaboration done between Claned and Startup Refugees. Claned has provided its learning platform pro bono for Startup Refugees. They are an NGO that arranges courses in entrepreneurship and work-related skills for immigrants and refugees.

As Kati Lappeteläinen from Startup Refugees pointed out, “We knew that many of our learners were not very familiar with digital course environments. Therefore, we had prepared our leaflet with screenshots to provide our learners with the best guidance for online learning. We wanted to ensure that everyone has as clear instructions as possible on how to proceed on the course. We even provided personal guidance whenever needed.”

When the high variation in learners’ technological competencies is taken into account and ensured that everyone has all information and help needed to start learning. Then we can actually enable inclusion and psychological safety.

Writer’s note: This blog post has been inspired by the NGO and cross-border community Inklusiiv, their articles, and sources regarding diversity and inclusion.

 

References:

[1]. Q. Roberson, Disentangling the Meanings of Diversity and Inclusion. Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, 2004. Cornell University ILR School.

[2]. A. Edmondson, Psychological Safety, and Learning Behaviour in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2, 1999, pp. 350-383.

[3] Best practices to foster inclusion in remote work. Inklusiiv ry, 2020. Available at: https://fi.inklusiiv.org/post/7-best-practices-to-foster-inclusion-in-remote-work.

[4] High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It. Harvard Business Review, 2017. Available at: https://hbr.org/2017/08/high-performing-teams-need-psychological-safety-heres-how-to-create-it.

[5] Inklusiiv, 2020.

[6] M. Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996

[7] J. B. Biggs and C. S. Tang, Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2011.

 

This article was a part of Slush’s whitepaper “Entrepreneurship Redefined” -series, where Slush partner companies around the world revealed how their work is shaping the entrepreneurial tomorrow.

Anna Vanha-Honko

About the Author

Anna Vanha-Honko is Head of Customer Experience at Claned. Above all, she helps our customers to gain the best user experience from our software. In addition, she is knowledgeable regarding organizational learning, people processes, and culture.


challenges

Rethinking Education to enable high-quality education

Challenges we face

COVID-19 is demonstrating how turbulent the times we live in are. Suddenly, kids can’t go to school, tens of millions are losing their jobs. Meanwhile, millions are severely sick or have died. Societies around the globe also face other steep challenges.

For example, inequality, intolerance, and various conflicts tend to increase especially in the most vulnerable countries due to climate change and other global crises such as COVID-19.

Need for education

Everyone needs high-quality education. People need to learn to live in a rapidly changing world and do it sustainably from social, economic, and environmental perspectives.

That is to say, education must continuously renew to foster the skills and competencies needed in the dynamic world.

Future skills and competencies

There is a lot of debate internationally on what kind of skills and competencies are needed today and tomorrow. Developing the right mix is essential for any individual to become e.g. employable. But could education be even more? A great equalizer maybe?

Above all, the humanist vision of education is that it is an essential common good. This vision has been acknowledged for decades but it is probably more accurate and needed than ever before.

Social responsibility, accountability of education are gaining importance. Digital learning can certainly deliver high-quality education to almost everyone on the planet. In many cases, access to different forms of formal and especially informal education digitally is a life changer.

Therefore, learning to read, acquiring a new entrepreneurial skill, or finding a mentor overseas are great examples of modern, digital, and very accessible learning.

Claned delivers professional teacher training program to Kenya

We at Claned feel that education is the greatest way to equalize global inequality and do something good with impact. In Ng’oswet province in rural Kenya, we delivered on a pro-bono basis a professional teacher training program to teachers who had never used digital tools before.

As a result, 87% of them reported being able to use the core competencies learned in their daily work in classrooms.

Making an impact that matters

During COVID-19 we have helped a school in Pakistan to go digital and continue operations. In Mexico, we kicked off an initiative together with MY World Mexico to mobilize and engage people and organizations to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in practice.

We support entrepreneurship programs in Latin America, Africa, and Finland and plan to expand our reach globally. We are still a small company but even small things can make a huge impact especially on an individual level.

Doing business is important. Especially when it can be done common good in mind.

Vesa Perälä

About the Author

Vesa Perälä, Claned CEO and Founder is a serial entrepreneur and natural-born business developer with decades of corporate and start-up know-how.


Friends laughing

A successful business is created through continuous, collaborative and purposeful learning

“In the global economy, producing knowledge and learning are viewed as means for organizational success.” (Tikkamäki, K.2006).

Meaningfulness

The world is rapidly changing or evolving. Global markets are ensuring that everyone is on their toes when it comes to education and learning also in business. Another phenomenon tightly related to this time is the feelings of meaningfulness regarding work.

I refer to the term as something that connects an individual’s values to the task at hand. It helps professionals feel like the task is worthwhile doing for themselves, but also the organization and society. Above all, individuals need to see the purpose of what they do to become and stay motivated, and committed.  

Participation, collaboration, and continuity

I explore the relation of meaningfulness and learning through three aspects, participation, collaboration, and continuity. Involve individuals in designing learning initiatives, supporting information sharing, and knowledge construction to create meaningful learning.

The meaningfulness of learning is the key to competence development and the capability of organizations to renew and thrive.   

Participation  

Create commitment by participating employees, in designing what kind of training they need with their work and the changing world. Because the ones involved with the everyday tasks that are the best to identify the challenges involved in their work. Management can then offer support such as training, for instance, together with relevant partners.

To foster autonomy, purpose, and meaningfulness, let your employees take part in selecting what training suits them. Most importantly, helping them self-evaluate what they need as individuals and as teams.  

Collaborative learning  

Collaborative information sharing, or new information or transformation, will certainly bring out tacit knowledge. The more practical the work, the more hidden knowledge is accumulated through a person’s working years.

Individual employees easily become invaluable and are in a key role in redefining company practices. In online learning, you can bring out hidden knowledge and provide a platform to construct new knowledge, ideas, and innovations.

Continuous learning   

Since the world, businesses, and jobs change, something learned 20 or a few years ago might not be viable anymore. Therefore as a leader of today and tomorrow, be sure you are offering your employees and yourself continuous learning opportunities. To help your staff stay competitive on the job market update their competence.

Meanwhile, you will gain insight from your employees regarding the future scenarios of your organization and the needs for further education.

solja sulkunen

About the Author

Solja Sulkunen used to work as Head of Customer Experience at Claned.


having fun

Claned + Startup Refugees

Increasing diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship through immigrant training


Corona epidemy forcing all training online 

The cooperation between Claned and Startup Refugees started approximately a year ago, in 2019. After COVID-19 hit the whole of Finland, like the rest of the world, the cooperation was intensified. 

Like many other organizations, Startup Refugees needed to move all training online very quickly. All the courses planned for summer 2020 could not be organized in classrooms as planned. Therefore everything had to go online – and with a tight schedule. 

Claned has been supporting NGOs such as Startup Refugees by offering them Claned’s learning platform with pro bono contracts. 

It is very important for us to support such diversity and inclusion promoting actors as Startup Refugees. We admire their unique business model. Startup Refugees collect applicants’ skill profiles on their website and inform them about matching positions. If the applicants lack certain skills, they can attend courses organized by Startup Refugees to gain these missing competencies. The courses are concentrated on developing especially work-related or entrepreneurship skills that will advance employability”, says Mervi Palander, one of the founders of Claned. 

Startup Refugees has succeeded in its aims. The organization has been able to employ over 850 refugees and immigrants to work in paid vacancies. Over 200 immigrants interested in entrepreneurship have participated in their entrepreneurship courses. 

Quick course launch with help of content producer organization TAT 

The hard work has paid off – only in one month, Startup refugees were able to launch the first online course. However, Startup Refugees received ideas and examples on how to build learning content and assignments from TAT(Economy and Youth). TAT is a Finnish organization specialized in supporting young people’s employment in Finland. Without them, Startup Refugees would not have succeeded in launching the online course so quickly.

Startup Refugees’ course launch has been an ideal project to TAT since TAT aims to “build bridges between school and working life by providing engaging learning solutions with actual knowhow about entrepreneurship, work, and economics”, as Lauri Vaara, Pedagogical Expert at TAT, points out. 

“We hope that through our services the youngsters find their strengths, passions, and a meaningful place in the society,”  Vaara continues. 

Claned’s intuitive course platform enabling automated learning data management 

“It has been a great collaboration with Claned and TAT. Claned learning platform has saved us a lot of effort and time in organizing our online course. Without Claned we would have had to ask the course participants to return all assignments via e-mail. Contents in the forms of videos, templates, etc. would have filled our e-mail inboxes. Now we were able to collect all assignments in Claned.

On top of that, material sharing on the board has been so easy. This kind of easy manageability has saved us a lot of time.  Additionally, we would not have been able to collect as much feedback so easily and automatically from all our course materials. With the help of Claned’s platforms analytics, we were able to follow constantly and easily the course material ratings given by our course participants.

Moreover, we were able to scale up our training in Finland and even aboard thanks to Claned. We can provide training to customers which we otherwise would not be able to serve due to their location. We aim to provide online courses as a part of our core services in the future”, Kati Lappeteläinen, Head of Business Program at Startup Refugees, summarizes. 

Barber

: : BDG Barbers at the Slush 2019 closing party, styling hair, and beards for the party. The company was born through the Startup Refugees Entrepreneurship Program.

Entrepreneurship summer course promoting diversity and inclusion in business 

According to Lappeteläinen, Startup Refugee’s summer course in Entrepreneurship is their first-ever course organized solely in an online environment. In this course, there are 29 participants from different areas around Finland.

In many immigrants’ Finnish hometowns, it is hard to receive service or guidance in English, let alone in other languages such as Arabic, Persian, or Somalia. Startup Refugees, on the contrary, can serve immigrants with the abovementioned languages and regardless of time and place via Claned.  

“As far as we know, this is also the first-ever interactive online course regarding entrepreneurship in Finland. The interactivity comes e.g. from online workshops organized in Zoom meetings,” Lappeteläinen states. “In these workshops, we have included entrepreneurs with immigrant backgrounds as speakers. Claned has also brought changes to the pedagogical aspects of our courses e.g. we have added short reflective written assignments after the workshops to help learners understand what they have learned in each module.” 

“It is very important for immigrants and even more important for immigrant entrepreneurs to be able to operate in digital environments to become employed, succeed as an entrepreneur or even keep up with the digital development of society’s functions,” Lappeteläinen points out.

Even the access for digital learning devices might become a challenge of itself according to Lappeteläinen: “It has been a bit challenging for some course participants to study since they do not own a computer or a laptop.”  

Important cooperation

We can all agree that Startup Refugees and Claned are doing some groundbreaking work in promoting diversity and inclusion by providing entrepreneurial training to immigrants. It is utterly important to provide high-quality training for the ones who do not have the same starting point, access to resources, information, and guidance as most of the Finns do. 

Anna Vanha-Honko

About the Author

Anna Vanha-Honko is Head of Customer Experience at Claned. Above all, she helps our customers to gain the best user experience from our software. In addition, she is knowledgeable regarding organizational learning, people processes, and culture.


Discussion

An alternative to discussion forums in online learning

An alternative to discussion forums in online learning

Discussions are an essential part of online learning. Engaging with other learners is both pleasant and productive. Conversations create divergent thinking and help to develop thinking skills. Moreover, they increase motivation and engagement. Learners enjoy getting feedback from their personal views and reading what others think.

But not all discussions are alike. There is a difference between ignorant comments and rigorous argumentation. You can do a lot with well-designed assignments, but the platform has as an effect as well.

The effect of the platform

Yanyan Sun and Fei Gao examined the effect of a threaded discussion forum and a contextual social annotation in their article in The Internet and Higher Education journal. First, they assigned course participants randomly to groups. The groups did the one part of a course on a discussion forum and another with a contextual annotation tool.

The results indicated that the two environments impacted student participation, knowledge construction processes, and the nature of discussions. Participants posted more comments in the contextual discussion compared to the discussion forum, and the discussion was more specific and precise. Comments on the discussion forum were closer to general commentary. Learners reported that it was easier for them to exchange ideas on the contextual discussion platform because the comments were located next to the place they wanted to comment on.

It is clear that choosing the right tool is essential. Digitally mediated communication is just that: highly mediated.

Discussions in Claned

In Claned we have chosen to put discussions alongside the learning materials. You can tag any part of a video or highlight any text in content, and tag comments that specific point in the article. Notifications alert and direct users to the location of learning material for anyone following a discussion. The discussions build in the margins of any learning material engaging learners with the content.

The feedback from our users is similar to what Sun and Gao reported: learners create more spontaneous comments and there is more discussion. Furthermore, skilled educators have come up with ways to use the contextual discussion feature to engage their learners. You can easily instruct learners on what to pay attention to when going through your materials. This lets you guide discussions on topics that are important for the learning program.

Interested in learning more about Claned learning platform? Do you want to know how to make your online learning more engaging?

Email us at info@claned.com.

topi litmanen

About the Author

Dr. Topi Litmanen worked as a Chief Educational Scientist in Claned. He was responsible for ensuring, that the pedagogical aspects of Claned are based on evidence-based learning research.


students

Creating engagement with social learning

Your learners are social by nature. Utilize it to make your courses more engaging.

Providing social features is a key ingredient for engagement in any online service – let alone in a learning service. Everyone using the internet has some experience with social media and has connected with other people or content when using it. Although the web around us is highly social, it is hardly leveraged in online learning. I will give you examples of how to make your courses more social and engaging, for optimal learning results.

Let’s enable social learning

Normally, in online learning environments, you will find deserted or heated discussion forums. Even if there is engagement, not all discussions are alike.

There is a difference between trivial comments and rigorous argumentation. Just having a discussion for the sake of having it is not a good goal. Discussions should be used to leverage learning. You can do a lot with well-designed assignments, but a learner-centric platform has impact as well and delivers real results.

Let’s create engagement

When creating engaging online courses the beginning of it is always important. Because the course introduction is the first impression your learners will get. To make the participants feel welcome and more comfortable in collaborating with each other, you should put effort into the introductions. At the beginning of the course, ask your participants to introduce themselves. An easy way to get all participants to introduce themselves is to ask learners to do it while watching an introduction video or reading an introduction document.

If you want your participants to put more effort into their introductions, you can design it to be an assignment. Make them describe their background and prior experience with the topic. Or if you want, you can ask them to do short videos about themselves. Once the participants have all uploaded their introductions, encourage them to comment on their peers’ intro videos.

Let’s initiate collaboration

One way to make your current materials more engaging is to design collaborative tasks participants could do while studying. Instead of just reading or watching a video, you can ask them to actively work and explicate their prior conceptions, experiences, and views. Contextual discussion within a document has clear benefits: The discussions are more active and spontaneous.

Let’s encourage participation

It is not enough to design collaborative content to spark engagement. You also need to be there for your learners. As an instructor, you can provide opportunities for learners to show their knowledge to others and highlight active contributors. Remember to encourage participation and constructive criticism and discussions, not only continuous fact-checking. Lead with an example, share, and participate and give positive feedback to all those who share.

When designing for collaboration, try not to create rigidly scheduled processes of collaborative learning. Learners will end up feeling rushed into having an opinion or coming up with too many comments. Avoid negative highlighting and punishment for inactivity as these methods rarely create an engaging and safe environment for collaboration.

Let’s enhance your courses

If all this seems new to you, keep calm and consider seeking assistance from people who have more experience in social online learning. This way you can avoid the most common pitfalls and benefit from the lessons learned by others. The fact that you want to create more user-friendly and socially engaging courses means that you are already on the right track.

P.S. We have created workshops especially to help our customers to tackle the challenges in social learning. You can contact support@claned.com and we will help you make your courses more social.

topi litmanen

About the Author

Dr. Topi Litmanen worked as a Chief Educational Scientist in Claned. He was responsible for ensuring, that the pedagogical aspects of Claned are based on evidence-based learning research.


Online learning solutions

How to create a successful online course business?

When companies start looking for online learning solutions, there are a few guidelines that will help them avoid common pitfalls and solutions that are not good for their needs.

Why do you need an online learning platform

The two main reasons for our clients to buy an online learning platform are the pressure from their customers and the desire to scale up their business. Their customers are demanding opportunities to study where ever and whenever as face to face courses are harder to fit in their tight schedules. Online courses are also an excellent way for training companies to scale up their course business globally.

Comparing learning platforms

When businesses start comparing different learning platforms, they sometimes lack the information and knowledge needed to make well-justified decisions. The first pitfall is to blindly get a platform someone in the company has used before. It might feel more comfortable to get started with that kind of solution, but in the long run, the platform you choose must match your business model.

Another pitfall is to get something for the sake of being able to offer online courses to customers. There a lot of quality courses available, so if you decide to start creating online courses, you need to make sure they are of high quality. At least if you wish to attract customers and not just spend your surplus at budget year-end.

How online learning supports your business?

The first thing to consider is the role online learning will play in your business model and what are your objectives related to online courses.  If your goal is to have online courses in your offering to be “up to date,” any of the existing online learning platforms will work fine. However, if your objective is to offer learning as a service, get good customer reviews and scale your business you need to dig deeper.

How to select a suitable partner?

At the moment there are over 700 different learning platforms available, so it is by no means easy to find your way through the jungle. My advice is to look for more than just a learning platform provider. Get a partner who, in addition to providing you with a learning platform, can help you to understand your potential and solve the challenges in your course production.

Your partner should be an expert in online pedagogy and know the best practices. Make sure your partner will have answers to at least these questions:

  1. Can you help us identify what works and what does not work?
  2. How can you help us improve our courses?
  3. How would you support us in our course production?

So how should your potential partner answer these questions? Your partner should have a clear understanding of online pedagogics and how to conduct course digitalization. They should know how to help you open the black box of learning with data and meaningful learning analytics. In short, your partner needs to understand the eLearning business as a whole.

Invest in marketing

Another critical factor in scaling up your business is to invest in marketing. According to my experiences, this is where many go wrong.  It doesn’t matter if you have the best course if not enough people know about it. You need to know your target segments, have your SEO right, hone your marketing content to and pick proper channels. You might have someone in-house to help you with this, and if not, you need to get an outside expert to plan for you. However, be sure not to skip this step if your goal is to scale.

Our mission is to help you produce the best online learning experiences and maximize your return on investment. That’s why we create lasting partnerships

 

Ready to make your online course business successful? Feel free to email us at sales@claned.com and let’s succeed together.

Petri Virtanen

About the Author

Petri Virtanen works as a Chief Commercial Officer in Claned Group. Most importantly, Petri is spear-heading Claned’s global growth by developing our commercial operations, including sales, and partner network. As a devoted believer in learning, Petri thinks that every day is a good day to learn something new.


workshop

Pedagogical scripting is the backbone of learning success

Steps of course production

Firstly, you need to know, why you are producing the course. And then who are your learners? Then you might think it´s time time to produce content. Instead of that, you need to create a pedagogical script to guide the content and course production. “Well planned is half done” applies here, too.

Create a pedagogical script

A pedagogical script is a project plan for your course production build on insights about the learners, the learning outcomes, and evaluation criteria.  Create a clear course flow, purposefully selected contents,  and  meaningful  learning activities. Without it, your learners won’t know what will be expected of them and won’t perform as well as they could.

When designing learning activities, course creators should keep in mind that learners have plenty of real-life experiences in their pockets. Utilize this and make your course as directly meaningful to your learners as possible.

By applying what is learned or by utilizing real-life experiences in social knowledge construction. You  can utilize it to enable the famous transfer effect. Your learners will start using what they learn in real-life situations as well.  This helps your learners to see the impacts and benefits of participating in your course in a very concrete way.

Claned Learning Design Program

To help course creators with this task, Claned has created a Learning Design Program (step-by-step pedagogical templates and workshops)  for this purpose. This way you don’t have to be an educational expert. However, you can  still  construct your course flow and its content in a way that supports learning  and the learning experience optimally.

Pedagogical structure

Your course has now a pedagogical structure and a purpose with defined learning outcomes. Now you need to make sure your learners understand them, too.

Firstly you need to  explain to your learners how the course content should be studied, what kind of materials and tasks you have included, what is the timeline for the course, what are the evaluation criteria for this course, and so forth.

By explaining and showing your learners how you want them to behave, you are much more likely to receive that kind of  behavior, too.  This kind of prediction helps to increase motivation and prevent feelings of frustration.

Production resources

The last thing to remember before creating a top-notch service experience for your learners is to allocate enough time and human and monetary resources for your production. You can not just transform your classroom content into online courses directly, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. You need to put your mind to the course production and maybe even search for a trustworthy partner to steer you.

Online learning has arrived to stay, and we can help your courses become the most desirable ones. If you are interested in our hands-on learning workshops for creating successful online courses, email us at support@claned.com

solja sulkunen

About the Author

Solja Sulkunen used to work as Head of Customer Experience at Claned.