As pedagogy and teaching methods are modernized over time, great opportunities open up for different sectors. An example of this is Finland’s ‘Autokoululiitto,’ a driving school association that has revolutionized the way driving is taught in the country.
Currently, over 400 driving academies are part of this national association, which has been operating for more than 70 years. During that time, Autokoululiitto has been working to promote education development, road safety, schools, and driving instructors training.
Innovation is part of this organization’s mission, which works steadily to improve driving schools in the country. Opetustarvike Oy is an organization that provides teaching management counsel and develops work materials for the digital environment.
Until late 2015, driving school teaching theory was complicated, as the Finnish Government had a long trajectory of theory-based pedagogical tradition, which meant that anyone wishing to learn how to drive could only complete the theory part of the lessons through face-to-face classes.
“Things were done as in the old days, and they were a little reluctant to change the methodology. Despite this, state policies were modified, allowing the integration of digital platforms into education,” explains Harri Keski-Rekilä, training consultant at Finnish Driving Schools Association/Driving.
It was then that Harri decided to bet on something new and different that would revolutionize learning pedagogy and would also facilitate teaching for all: Blackboard Collaborate. This powerful video conferencing tool has been ideal for developing online management simulations and has also generated revolutionary advances in driving programs, as they allow the user to have greater experience-based learning.
Why use Blackboard Collaborate?
Harri Keski-Rekilä listed five reasons why Blackboard Collaborate has significantly improved the programs at Autokoululiitto driving schools:
1. No software needed to be installed in order to use it.
2. Easy-to-join online sessions with one link provided to the instructor and a separate one for students.
3. Easy to use overall.
4. Continuously improving. “It is good to see that it is reinvented every day and updated four times a year.”
5. Mobile application offered in Finnish.
Blackboard Collaborate Within Everyone’s Reach
Accessing the tool is simple, as it can be used on all platforms Windows or iOS, on desktop or mobile devices. There are links to online courses and with just one click students can connect to classes. According to Harri, “Some teachers give face-to-face classes and at the same time have students connected remotely through Blackboard Collaborate.”
Teachers are also trained in innovative ways using various platforms. For that reason, Harri hopes there will be more tools of this type to continue advancing virtual courses, as according to him, teachers have improved significantly in the use of Blackboard Collaborate, generating an added value to the courses they teach.
“Many Things Change When We Use This Platform”
Driving programs at Finnish Driving Schools Association/Driving have developed considerably since using Blackboard Collaborate. In a short period of time, 60 driving schools have since joined this initiative.
According to Harri, “The adoption trend for this tool has been mainly for people over 20 years of age, while younger people still prefer traditional classes.”
“In Finland, minimum Basic phase driver training contains 19 hours of theory lessons and 18 hours of driving lessons. After that, the theory test and driving test can be completed.”
Generating a learning culture that is different from the traditional one is sought-after, as the 19-hour class time required by the Finnish Government to grant driving licenses is also validated when completed through the video conferencing tool.
Harri Keski-Rekilä, Training consultant at Finnish Driving Schools Association/ Driving.
AFP Jussi Helttunen