Enhancing experiential learning in Lithuania and Spain – the ELPE project
Eva Holmberg ja Jarmo Ritalahti 28.5.2019

The Erasmus project ELPE (Experimental Live Project Enhancement) responses to the need for a shift in pedagogical thinking at higher education institutions (HEIs) in Lithuania and Spain.

Haaga-Helia Porvoo campus was invited to the project application consortium during a visit to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) that had been involved in a similar project before. Of the partners in the network Haaga-Helia and CISET provide expertise how experiential learning and especially learning in live projects could be implemented in currucula of the partners in Lithuania and Spain.

In the program students study and learn in projects commissioned by local and regional companies and organizations. The approach is quite similar to inquiry learning, the pedagogical approach of Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo campus. Inquiry learning at Porvoo campus comprises students’ consultancy projects, but also projects like events and trip planning.

Already in the first training, it became clear that experiential learning would be implemented in different ways by the partner universities starting from only bringing in live projects to a single course to developing the whole curriculum with live projects as the starting point.  Moreover, a key challenge seemed to be convincing lecturers unfamiliar with active learning approaches and learning in live projects to give test a new approach.

Luckily, a handbook (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wf4AfhHc_iQiVo_V9osSy7o-iJ1DaX13/view) for how to implement students’ consultancy pedagogy based on experiential learning was planned as the first intellectual output of the project. The handbook describes extensively e.g. the background of students’ consultancy live projects, how a pedagogy based on learning in student teams can be implemented and what is the change from a more traditional and passive pedagogy to active and experiential pedagogy requires from students as well as lecturers.

After the second training in November 2018 at Porvoo Campus for academic staff members of the partner universities, the last event and training will take place in June 2019 in Utena, Lithuania. Both students and academic staff from the partner universities are invited to Lithuania. During the training week, students from the different project partners will work together with commissioned projects. Four students from Haaga-Helia Porvoo campus were selected and together with the Italian students, they will have a possibility to share the expertise they have gained during their studies to students who have never work with live projects before.

ELPE project shows clearly the need of more contemporary pedagogical approaches in higher education. Constant changes in work life and in society emphasize a re-evaluation of the education, its role, content and ways to work. Students should acquire meta-competences such as teamwork, project management and problem solving to be able to compete in the future job market. This change contribute to a need for deeper co-operation between higher education and businesses where students, academic staff and business representatives learn together in live projects.

 

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The Erasmus project ELPE (Experimental Live Project Enhancement) is financed by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership fund and responses to the need for a shift in pedagogical thinking at higher education institutions (HEIs) in Lithuania and Spain.

The partners in the project are Haaga-Helia UAS, Fundació Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), Italian Centro Internazionale di Studi e Ricerche sull’Economia Turistica (CISET, Italy).

The project started with a training for academic staff in fall 2017. The training took place in Venice, Italy where CISET offers a master program in Tourism and Hospitality implemented through students’ consultancy pedagogy. After the second training in November 2018 at Porvoo Campus for academic staff members of the partner universities, the last event and training will take place in June 2019 in Utena, Lithuania. Both students and academic staff from the partner universities are invited to Lithuania. The final and last event of ELPE project is an academic conference organized by the Catalan partner of the project. The international event will introduce experiential pedagogical approaches already in use as keynotes and researches related to it. The keynote speakers are from Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo campus and CISET, Venice.

 

Eva Holmberg ja Jarmo Ritalahti

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