1.2 The implementation of education

Transparency in student selection and recognition of prior learning

The criteria for student selection are decided by the Collegiate Body. According to the criteria, every applicant is entitled to a fair process through which the study places are given. The criteria are public and available to the applicants before the application period. If the applicant is not satisfied with the result, s/he can make an appeal which is processed by the official legal criteria. The application process functions well, and the number of appeals is small.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) includes credit transfer and demonstration of learning. The RPL possibilities are explained to new students already in their letter of admission. Students can contact their own guidance counsellor before orientation days to start their individual study plan. During orientation all new students participate in the RPL workshop, which helps them to understand the intended learning outcomes and recognise their own competences. During studies, students are reminded about the RPL possibility in guidance meetings. Both credit transfer and demonstration of learning have a process in place, which is clearly communicated to the students by study counsellors and teachers.

Nearly all courses can be completed by demonstration of learning. This method of completion is available once only for each course. The practices of demonstration of learning have been modified as part of the organisational change and education reform. Our RPL process also includes Work&Study, the model of work-integrated learning, which is used if the skills required by the degree are gained by working and by connecting the practical work with relevant theory.

Picture 9. Recognition of competences at Haaga-Helia
Picture 9. Recognition of competences at Haaga-Helia

Supporting the active role of students

Teaching methods are important in supporting our pedagogical vision of students as active learners. Courses are taught either as contact, blended, online or virtual. Teachers select suitable methods for the topic taught. In many courses, a team of teachers works together to discuss the methods and ensure they are appropriate and meaningful in relation to the intended learning outcomes of the course. Our teachers are pedagogically trained to be able to choose and use appropriate methods. More cross-checking and collaboration could be done, although co-teaching is common. For digipedagogical support, there is an expert team of teachers who offer help with our online teaching platforms. The pandemic has had a significant impact on teaching methods and forced a leap in digital pedagogy across Haaga-Helia. It is too early to say what permanent changes it has brought, but online and virtual education are here to stay.

Feedback is collected after every course implementation, and students are asked to actively reflect on their learning. As part of the same process, teachers also give feedback, but this could be more systematic. The dialogue between students and teachers is good and feedback is also given spontaneously outside of the official feedback system. Flexibility and the use of different methodologies in different courses makes the studies more varied for students, but also requires them to take responsibility, actively plan their studies and make decisions.

Connecting studies to future careers

Our pedagogy is based on collaboration with businesses and organisations to ensure students possess the knowledge and skills relevant in their future career. Compulsory work placements are an important tool for this. Company visitors are invited as guest lecturers and students visit companies during courses. Many courses also work on real life projects where students develop or create something new and useful for the company. The company representatives brief students, coach them together with the teachers and give feedback on the project results. The bachelor and master theses are also good examples of projects where companies commission research and development projects carried out and then reported by the student. Business collaboration helps students to network and build valuable contacts during their studies. Many teachers have strong networks to build projects on, but if a teacher’s own networks are limited, more active collaboration with our partners could be encouraged.

Picture 10. Combination in building student’s competence
Picture 10. Combination in building student’s competence

Support throughout studies

We support our students by providing efficient services. Professional guidance counselling is available throughout studies. Guidance counsellors are responsible for monitoring study progress and supporting study planning to prevent termination of studies. A new model of study guidance has been developed to better support our students with the new curricula. Support is also offered for students wishing to change their study programme. Mobility between different HEIs is possible through flexible study paths and RPL. Through 3AMK and Ulysseus networks, students can also complete courses at other institutions.

Picture 11. Guidance model and roles
Picture 11. Guidance model and roles

Connected to guidance counselling, new students attend the orientation days and are offered a variety of courses supporting study and career skills. Career and recruitment services provide counselling on career planning. Entrepreneurship is also encouraged as a career option. Special services are offered for international students to support their employment. International Services promote and provide support for international mobility.

Wellbeing services include services of student psychologist, psychiatric nurse, and university pastor. FSHS (Finnish Student Health Service) is responsible for student health care services. The student union Helga offers peer tutoring and support with equality matters. The Student Wellbeing working group meets regularly and Haaga-Helia has a recently updated equality and accessibility plan.


Strengths Enhancement areas
Multiple implementation methods to choose from Multiple implementation methods challenge pedagogy
Strong partner collaboration Ensuring student engagement in RDI projects
The new study counselling model Using RPL and Work&Study more systematically