Lahti University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1511-1517
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1301
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This article describes the experiences of students and teachers in the WelLog (Wellbeing in Logistics centers) –project, which was carried out as part of a course in masters degree studies in Lahti UAS (Lahti University of Applied Sciences) 2014 - 2015. The main administrator of the project was Lahti UAS in association with Technology Center TechVilla Ltd. The main goals of the Managing Work Wellbeing integrated course (5 ECTS) were to learn the structure and procedures of work wellbeing in organizations and to increase the knowledge and skills to be able to evaluate, manage and develop work well being. To meet the learning objectives, the students prepared, in small groups, review articles on the theory and recent scientific finds in employee wellbeing. The acquired knowledge was shared in a one-day student-based seminar.

After the theoretical period, the students went to the case organizations to complete the practical part of the course and to implement the skills and knowledge in real life organizations. The main objective of the project was to develop concrete procedures for the seven collaborating companies and help them to survive in the changing environment in the logistics sector. We explored the status of work wellbeing using several methods. The students performed the task in the logistics organizations using surveys, interviews, workshops, and after that made suggestions to the company to develop the wellbeing of the staff.

The students had many positive experiences at individual and group levels and in working in the case organizations. Working in small groups was satisfying in many ways, such as learning from each other, enjoying the variety of work experience and knowledge of the participants and group discussions. They related to the learning itself, the independence they had, the individual inspiration and the combination of theory and practice as positive experiences. They felt that this kind of an option was more connected to work life than the lessons and writing essays only. The practicality and concrete work and bringing the theory into practice were also seen as positive approaches. The students liked to plan the workshops, to carry them out and finally document and report the whole assignment. One positive experience was also the benefits they felt they could offer to the company.

In spite of the e-learning technology and online possibilities, the students met challenges in allocating their time for contact learning, work and family responsibilities. They also felt they did not have enough time to get to know each other´s background and skills in sharing the work and in gaining a common understanding of how to complete the assignment. Of course, integrating the project and course schedule was challenging for us all, including teachers and project manager.

In future, we have to organize more learning in real work life environment and leave the class rooms. For this, we need partnerships and we have to build bridges between the educational institutions and work life organizations. In this project, we were able to build the partnership relations, could develop our educational methods, and as teachers, increased our awareness about the work life and the possibilities it serves as a learning opportunity. This was the first pilot and in spite of many challenges we felt that this experience was encouraging, or as one of the students put it: ”It worked in masters´ degree studies, just recycle it!”