Haaga-Helia has transparent information on students’ admission procedures and flexible learning paths
The information on students’ admission procedures and learning paths is easily accessible and transparent, with Haaga-Helias’s website providing relevant details in both Finnish and English. The website is well-organized and informative, allowing study applicants as well as students to explore the various entryways and diverse study options and paths to Haaga-Helia’s degree programmes. The newly developed curricula which consist of modules and courses provides specialization as well as flexibility for applicants and students. Transparency and equality in admission procedures at Haaga-Helia are based on clear process descriptions and written guidelines.
The audit team confirmed that admission criteria are shared openly and written in easily understandable language. Haaga-Helia is committed to promoting equality for both applicants and students, which is demonstrated by clear instructions that aim to ensure quality operations and equal treatment of all students. Examples of this commitment include professional guidance counselling for students and applicants, as well as Haaga-Helia’s designed support for new students arriving at Haaga-Helia for the first time during Haaga-Helia’s orientation days. The orientation days include both online and offline courses that students can attend in order to reflect on their prior competencies and navigate their studies effectively. Nevertheless, some interviewees emphasized that the organization of orientation days could be systematized. For example, different formats are not adequately tailored for all group sizes. However, in the workshops and interviews it was underlined that the support at the start of studies at the Haaga-Helia is very much appreciated because it helps students to become familiar with Haaga-Helia’s online tools, equipment, learning environments, and methods before starting their studies.
Recognition of prior learning enables individual study plans, but the equality of standards needs to be improved
Haaga-Helia has regulations on the recognition of previous studies and the transfer of credits. This is to ensure that the recognition of previous studies works smoothly and offers adaptive learning and study paths. The flexibility of study paths was confirmed in the interviews with the students and teachers. The various entryways to Haaga-Helia’s programmes are possible because all Haaga-Helia’s degree programmes offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), including credit transfer and demonstration of learning if the type of skill acquisition fits the module content. The audit team appreciates Haaga-Helia’s special approach to this topic, since this concept is unique, and the very competence-focused approach has great potential for allowing individual study plans. Nevertheless, the results of the interviews and workshops suggest that RPL should work more uniformly and equally. Hence, it was underlined that the criteria and processes of RPL should be more transparent, standardized and reproduceable, both for recognition of prior learning and for the Work&Study model, since it is lacking in systematization and equality. The audit team recommends revising the processes and regulations, enabling clear process descriptions as well as written guidelines and criteria to provide a sound basis for transparency and equality in RPL procedures.
Haaga-Helia enables a wide range of learning experiences supporting the active role of students but faces varying levels of requirements
At Haaga-Helia the focus is on the students’ needs and goals. This is reflected in the design of degree programmes that aim to develop competencies relevant for work environments and practical applications. Haaga-Helia offers a range of flexible learning paths and study methods to further support this student-centred approach. Particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a necessity for all of Haaga-Helia’s teachers and students to learn and teach in online courses. Here, the teachers’ competence development with regards to the implementation of online studies was very well supported. As stated in the self-assessment report as well as in the interviews “online and virtual education is here to stay”. Students have the possibility of choosing nearly all courses to be taught either as contact, blended, online or virtual, if there are enough participants to carry out the module format. This supports Haaga-Helia’s pedagogical vision of students as active learners. In order to cultivate a study environment that enhances competencies and motivates students, it is essential for Haaga-Helia to provide efficient learning environments, i.e., through team-teaching and flexible support services. Students can also utilize individual guidance offered by guidance counsellors and tutors (minimum three hours per year per student), regarding study as well as career planning questions. During the interviews, both students and teachers expressed their satisfaction with the (digital) services, citing their ease of use and accessibility as key factors, but also mentioned that it depends on the teacher and subject. In the workshops, students expressed their satisfaction with most blended studies as they have worked well for most of them. Nevertheless, due to unclear expectations it sometimes feels difficult for other students, i.e., concerning the formative and summative assignments. In the interviews, the audit team was able to confirm the opinions expressed in the workshops: ”Many assignments felt like busy work rather than actual learning experiences” and that ”Sometimes the courses are too easy to pass, the level of requirements could be raised”. Accordingly, the audit team recommends that Haaga-Helia revisit the issue of workload and assessment criteria regarding online, blended and on-campus learning and makes the appropriate adjustments.