Opening up the University for a Multi-directed Lifelong Professional Development

Authors

  • Peter Mozelius Mid Sweden University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.34190/ejkm.20.1.2391

Keywords:

Multi-directed universities, Professional development, Technology enhanced learning, Work-integrated learning, Bring your own data

Abstract

In a time when most countries are facing a rapidly emerging knowledge society, the investment in human resources is essential for companies and organisations. In parallel, technology enhanced learning has enabled more flexible forms of professional development with work-integrated learning, an interesting shift that also challenges the traditional university model. An interesting concept for realising the work-integrated learning principle of solving practical problems in the industry with the use of theory from academia, is to let participants and companies to bring their own data (BYOD). This study was based on the BUFFL project, where BYOD activities have been an essential part of course design and learning activities for bank and insurance company staff.  A project that is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between six companies, three universities, and researchers from different university departments. The aim of this study is to present, analyse and discuss the design and implementation of a pilot project for a technology enhanced and multi-directed lifelong professional development. The main research question to answer was: "What are the bank and insurance company staff perceptions of the BUFFL project design of technology enhanced professional development, and the idea of bringing their own data to course activities?"  

Data for a preliminary project evaluation has been gathered by course evaluation questionnaires from 14 instances of 9 course modules. Questionnaires comprised 30 questions with a mix of Likert-scale questions and questions with open-ended free-text answers. In a strive to find the data that have a potential to answer the research question 10 Likert-scale questions and 4 free-text questions were selected. Results from the Likert-scale questions were presented as a descriptive statistical analysis that discusses frequency, central tendency and variation. Open-ended free-text answers have been categorised in an deductive thematic analysis and compared to the results from the Likert-scale questions. Findings indicate that a technology enhanced and workplace integrated course design is appreciated, when information and communication technologies work. On the other hand, technology incidents have caused irritation and the provisional support model needs a further development that also could survive the project span. The earlier complaints on too theoretical course literature, and that course design lacks adaption to the participants actual workplace situations are contradicted by the result of the quantitative analysis. However, there are also indications that universities have to open up further, in a shift to a more multi-directed communication and knowledge sharing between academia, industry and society. Finally, even if course modules are given on a 25% pace, the current workload can be demanding for full-time working participants.  

Author Biography

Peter Mozelius, Mid Sweden University

 Mid Sweden University, Department of Computer and System Science, Sweden

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Published

15 Jun 2022

Issue

Section

Special issue on University of the Future