Adult Education Centre in Helsinki has diverse meanings for citizens

Living a good life and learning

When it comes to living a good life and learning, people are most interested in artistic self-expression, travel and culture. Also, health and fitness are on top of their list. More general themes mentioned are learning new things and experimenting, enhancing mental balance, innovation, and nature as a context of learning. In addition, tips and life hacks for daily activities are popular.

Objectives of the Project

Aim of the project was to capture citizens’ development and learning needs utilizing Fountain Park Virtual Brainstorming. The information is used as a foundation for Helsinki Adult Education Centre course offering planning purposes.

Widespread involvement was achieved using several methods of attracting participants

Total amount of participations was 2854. Various methods were utilized in order to gain more citizen participations. These included customer e-mails, updates in the City of Helsinki news channels, marketing in social media channels, direct email contacts to stakeholder groups and association members. In addition, citizens were invited to answer with help from students of Diaconia University of Applied Sciences.

In particular, students were used to obtain more participations from citizens who have not used the services of the Adult Education Centre. In practice, students from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences used their smart phones as tools to interview citizens face to face in the streets of Itäkeskus, Kannelmäki and Kallio districts.

Achieved results

Themes related to good living and learning are related to typical Adult Education Centre subjects such as artistic self-expression, travel and culture, as well as health and physical activity. Topics citizens were most interested in are by nature cross-disciplinary and broad in theme: These were, learning new things and experimentation, enhancing mental balance, innovation, and nature as a context of learning. In addition, tips and life hacks for daily activities were on top.

Experimenting and learning new things was top of the list of interests regardless of the participant group. Non-customers’ were interested in multiculturalism. When analyzed results more from a background variable perspective, men were interested in the use of new technologies. City of Vantaa residents were most interested in aspects related to their personal economy.

Citizens wish to study how to utilize varied and flexible learning methods. Techniques mentioned were individual and group learning, professional guidance, and peer group learning. In addition, possibility to participate in courses without prior registration was also frequently mentioned. Electronic delivery of course tips, course materials and general information updates was also on top of the wish list.

According to the results Helsinki Adult Education Centre will plan future services for their varying customer groups. In addition, a mix of different learning paths for these groups will be developed as a result of Virtual Brainstorming.

More information: Tuomo Lähdeniemi and Anu Valtari