Continuous learning is for everybody. Sometimes it can be challenging – as it should be. It is part of learning. Learning also involves a sense of success, and to facilitate it, the Open University of JYU now provides a free-of-charge course open to all, “Orientaatio jatkuvaan oppimiseen” [Orientation to Continuous Learning]. This course prepares you for academic learning and it has been carefully designed based on multidisciplinary research. Feedback on the course suggests it inspires learning.

The Open University currently has a vast number of students, and each one is important to us. We want everyone to succeed in their studies and achieve their goals. Teachers teach and instruct students on the courses, but much also depends on the student’s own planning and arrangements. Support is needed for these as well.
The new course on orientation to continuous learning helps students in personal study planning and goal setting. It promotes the sense of self-efficacy and familiarises students with the skills and learning environments needed in academic studies.

Learning takes always place within a person’s own life situation and based on his or her own starting points. Even if a person held a prior university degree, studying in adulthood during one’s prime or alongside a demanding job might turn out to be quite a new experience.

Continuous joy and desire for learning help reach one’s goals

Continuous learning calls for dreams, motivation and goals, but also realism, skills, good time management, and mercy for oneself. Even big dreams can come true through good planning, piece by piece, even as the other aspects of life stay in balance. It is important that the joy and desire for learning be sustained in those instances when the deadline of a learning assignment coincides with finishing a project at work, volunteer work for a junior football tournament, a pre-schooler’s flu, and bathroom renovation.

The orientation course for continuous learning offers students the chance to experience their own personal capabilities. It helps find a suitable scope for the studies, but also to articulate one’s dreams and how to pursue them. The course videos provide peer support as well as hints from experts regarding well-being and academic learning practices, such as reading and writing scientific texts. In addition, the course provides information about where an Open University student can get help when needed.

Every student has a different personal orientation to continuous learning. Therefore, the course is not taken for the sake of study credits but for personal interests. Navigation across course items is easy. One can take a deeper look at points where it feels relevant and pass such points that are personally less topical at the moment.

The threshold for continuous learning is low

This course was designed carefully, with quality and a multidisciplinary approach. The development work involved experts from the University of Jyväskylä, from the respective fields of psychology, adult pedagogy, education, linguistics, and information technology. The course design team includes student members, a study counsellor from the Open University, and representatives of the management. The visual and game-oriented aspects as well as video recordings for the course were made in collaboration with external specialists, including a well-known journalist, who appears on one of the videos to take a look at students’ daily life.

I like the encouraging nature and concrete approach of the course and the fact that it entices people to look at what the amusement park of continuous learning has to offer. It is necessary to keep the threshold of continuous learning low. This course is open and has room for everybody. And based on feedback already received, it inspires learning.

There are plenty of opportunities for continuous learning. The course provision of continuous learning for all is already at present very large at the University of Jyväskylä, and it is increasingly developed towards a working life orientation, in collaboration between the faculties and the Open University. Welcome to learn – continuously!

Anna Kaikkonen
Vice Director responsible for education, Open University

Take a look at the course, register and join in (at the moment only in Finnish, unfortunately): avoin.jyu.fi/fi/orientaatio

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