Country-Wide Training in University Pedagogy and ICT

Author Information
Author(s): 
Sener John, The Sloan Consortium
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Finnish Virtual University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

The Finnish Virtual University has launched a comprehensive training program for Finland's university-level teachers.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

How this practice supports access In 2000, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Finnish Virtual University launched a comprehensive, university system-wide in-service training program in higher education pedagogy for all of Finland's university-level teachers in each of its educational institutes. The program consists of two main components: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Pedagogy Training, and Information Technology Strategic Planning. The aim of the program is that every teacher will achieve, by the end of 2004, level I basic skills; half of the teachers will have level II skills; and about 10% will have level III skills. Level I training is offered locally at universities and consists of basic ICT skills that every teacher should have, including:

  • Knowledge of basic concepts relating to the use of computers and most common connections
  • Word processing
  • Use and basic knowledge of the Internet
  • E-mail
  • Educational use of audio and video equipment
  • Basic skills in mobile communication equipment
  • Knowledge of the principles of ICT in education.

Level II skills consists of Level I skills, plus:

  • Good command of the World Wide Web environment and networking facilities skills relating to course content, including tool programs and teaching applications
  • Knowledge of digital teaching material of own subject, principles of material production, applications of ICT in education skills to follow new development in tools and programs
  • Knowledge of societal challenges and opportunities offered by ICT

Level III skills consist of Level I and II skills plus special skills, including:

  • Content and profession-specific applications, for example, image processing, knowledge of media choices
  • Broad use of distance learning tools
  • Use of trade-specific simulations
  • Broad knowledge of the discipline-specific educational uses of ICT
  • Strong skills in practical pedagogical use
  • Skills to train and mentor colleagues, develop learning communities, and act as part of an expert network
  • Special areas of IT, for example, programming production of digital learning materials
  • Administrative IT skills and knowledge required by educational institutions
  • Skills for foresight and ability to research ICT innovations in educational use.

Project implementation has revealed that, more than training in ICT pedagogy is needed, an additional focus on strategic planning and thinking at the institute level, including a focus on leadership and pedagogy support services in institutes, is needed.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Since the start of the program two years ago (2000), the program has made significant progress in reaching its stated goals. For example, at the University of Helsinki, approximately 15% (200 out of 3000) teachers took 4-month long IT training courses during 2001. Every university has done an ICT-strategy plan during 2002. 60% of all primary and secondary schools and about 60% of all Polytechnic institutes, have done ICT-strategy plan during 2002.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

High - As a very large scale project, for which the Finnish Ministry of Education has devoted significant resources to this overall project - see http://www.minedu.fi/julkaisut/information/englishU/3/5.html for more details.

References, supporting documents: 

Reference: Education, Training, and Research in the Information Society: A National Strategy for 2000-2004 Finnish Ministry of Education, 1999. URL: see below

Other Comments: 

What's most impressive to me about this project is its comprehensive scale for a country of 5 million -- imagine a similar project involving higher education faculty in a comparably-sized US state (e.g., Maryland or Minnesota). -- js

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
See Contact Information Link above for complete contact information