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Digital Learning Centre of Competence-based Excellence: High Impact Development and Research

Digitalisation is transforming society, changing how we work, communicate, learn and share knowledge. The literature is replete with evidence examining these changes in working life with concurrent investigations occurring in all disciplines.

Due to these significant changes, it has become increasingly important to develop trainings that meet the requirements of digitised working life. Such trainings must increase individuals’ capabilities using a sustainable form of competence-based education and training. We simply can no longer afford to begin trainings from ground zero. (Brauer, 2019)

Learning Competences On Cloud Based Remote Control Platform

Higher education organisations need better capabilities in eLearning, learning solutions and digital pedagogies and there is also an urgent need to promote digital competences to remotely access and operate e.g. laboratory machines and equipment needed in the training provided in different disciplines ,such as Engineering education, to ensure excellent learning experience when students are at home or at work. In order to respond to the challenge of rapid employment emerging from recent crisis situations in society, we aim to support higher education transition towards competence-based approach and a versatile use of digital learning environments especially focusing on remote access and use of equipment in training. This way we can secure availability of a competent workforce and accelerate transition to working life.

In order to achieve the common goal Oamk has together planned a vision and working plan aiming to make nearly 100 % of its physical learning-environments (including laboratories) to be remote-operated and controlled before the end of this decade. This requires not only a technical solution and labor but also simultaneously to direct efforts on the digital pedagogy, competence-based approach for learning and digital transformation in the world of work together with companies and enterprises. With competence-based approach we are a step closer in answering the recognised needs of the rapidly changing labour market and ready to focus on individual upskilling to meet the unique professional needs.

In the center there is a Digital Twin -based approach from the early engineering to the operations. A Digital Twin being a bridge between the physical and virtual worlds, it allows, despite the remote operation, also real-time observations of on-going educational or research activities, regardless of the location of the observer. The same applies to learning where a student, teacher and actual physical learning environment can be geographically distributed to different continents allowing Oamk for example to offer studies based on physical laboratories abroad and overseas. From the training and education point of view, physical entities of machines and equipment are often large and very complex making them often very expensive and also sometimes even dangerous environments to some extent.

As a cornerstone of shaping the university through this holistic transformation we see this project where we aim to start building capabilities from four corners:

a) EaasLab for Energy,

b) CloudFront for Mechanical Engineering,

c) Virtual Musical Instrument Education Environment and

d) Remote Patient Examination and Monitoring Solutions.

Connection Of Digital Pedagogy And Technology

Competence-based education is challenged by complex, collaborative and technology-driven thinking that requires pedagogical competences in terms of deep learning (Ruhalahti, 2019). Thus, digital pedagogy in higher education requires high competence and ability to develop and improve teaching by means of digital technology in a professional context and in constantly changing digital environment. It requires that all areas of competence are linked with one another in a flexible mode of operation. Training professionals involves processes that lead to human development of competences and expertise through motivation and engagement in practical tasks and social interactions. The emphasis in professional learning should also be on facilitating students’ professional agency and identity within the social relationships that exist in training and in future’s digital work settings. (Vähäsantanen et al., 2017).

Through the various research and development tasks set on the project timeline, we aim to describe the learning process model that suggests how to support 1) student to understand, achieve and document set proficiency goals of desired competences 2) teachers in development of work-integrated pedagogical practices that enhance student’s agency, expertise and working life skills 3) HE institutions in developing competence-based approach in curricula development and improvement of educational daily practices. In addition to this, we look at digital pedagogical solutions that support the above mentioned and also enhance collaboration, co-creation and design thinking as a mindset.


A complex process model for learning on cloud based remote control platform and emerging technologies permitting sustainable and effective pedagogical approaches.

Our main research question is set to study interdependencies expected from competence-based approach, digital pedagogy and work-integrated pedagogy in a complex system of remote-controlled machines and equipment. These three main approaches help us to align pedagogical choices and emphasise different views based on the intended learning outcome.

Research Partners

 In general, The Digital Learning Centre for Competence-based Excellence works on customer-oriented research and development. Research activities are coordinated by the Oamk School of Professional Teacher education to promote competence-based approach and digital pedagogy to support ongoing learning and competence development as a continuum. The focus areas of the centre are competence-based approach in higher education, excellence in digital pedagogy, and working life skills needed in the era of digital transformation. Research is carried out as part of a national and international networks with other universities, research institutes, vocational training and industry organisations.

Research activities are organized under four different RDI-streams, each of which is driven by a responsible Principal Research Scientist. Research streams represent major reformers of digital transformation in learning and working life. Research will be conducted in close cooperation with Academic Research Professors representing research streams of OamkDigComp:

Competence-Based Approach: Professor Petri Kulmala, University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine
Digital Pedagogy: Adjunct Professor Marjaana Kangas, University of Lapland, Media Education Hub/ AI in Learning
Remote Access and Control of Machines: Adjunct Professor Kari Systä, Tampere University
Work-Integrated Pedagogy: Professor Päivi Tynjälä, University of Jyväskylä, Finnsh Institute for Educational Research

The mission in OamkDigComp is to lead research-based design, implementation and assessment of innovative competence-based education and training services for national and global partners. Export of expertise generated by the unit and international collaboration in research extends globally from Europe to Asia, Africa and Latin America. We offer research-based support for national development programs in cooperation with national ministries and agencies of education in different countries. Our vision is to achieve European level excellence on these RDI-streams and highly specialized expertise in the development of remotely controlled machines and equipment of which the first area to be explored is cloud based remote control platforms.