Turning Entrepreneurship Competence into Credits – New Web Tool for Higher Education Students and Teachers
Yoop.fi is a new web tool that aims to support students in taking advantage of the entrepreneurship competence acquired outside formal education and integrate it into their degrees. The web tool has been developed in co-operation between Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences in a national higher education development project coordinated by the University of Turku.
The aim of Yoop.fi is to increase students’ interest towards entrepreneurship studies and accelerate their studies. It does so by promoting the integration of competence acquired from business activities, work, engagement in student organisations or other recreational activities as part of higher education studies.
Yoop.fi helps students recognise their entrepreneurship competence. It also provides helpful information and tips for how to apply for the recognition of prior learning as part of the degree to earn credits. Yoop.fi encourages students to negotiate with their teacher about the opportunities to replace some of their future studies with activities that accumulate entrepreneurship competence outside the higher education institution. Furthermore, the web tool includes a separate section for teacher with recommended measures and examples of good practices.
Yoop.fi seeks to inspire and provide basic information about how to integrate competence acquired outside formal education into degree studies. It complements higher education institutions’ own practices related to recognition of prior learning (in Finnish AHOTointi or hottaus) and accreditation of learning demonstrated in some other manner (in Finnish opinnollistaminen).
Yoop.fi is based on nation-wide co-operation between universities and universities of applied sciences
The development work of Yoop.fi is based on a national study focused on the experiences and views among higher education teachers on the use of recognition and accreditation of learning in entrepreneurship. Altogether 56 teachers from 24 higher education institutions took part in individual and group interviews organised between 2018 and 2019.
The study shows that the recognition and accreditation of learning in entrepreneurship competence are carried out at all of the UASs interviewed, but they are less common at ROUs, although there is a desire to develop these practices in the future.
Teachers find that recognition and accreditation of learning benefit both students and the HEIs. For example, they motivate the students and diversify their learning environments. Some challenges were also identified. Some teachers find it difficult to evaluate entrepreneurship competence and they note that the common practices, or lack thereof, make it challenging to support the recognition and accreditation of learning. In addition, the recognition and accreditation of learning challenge these teachers’ notion on the role of experiential learning within the higher education curriculum, which is why some teachers in universities hesitate to use them.
Yoop.fi is developed in HOTIT OPIT development project (2018-2020) which is a national higher education development project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. It is part of YYTO frame project that aims to enhance student entrepreneurship. The HOTIT OPIT project is a joint effort of nine Finnish higher education institutions: University of Turku (Coordinator), Åbo Akademi University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, LAB University of Applied Sciences, LUT University, University of Oulu, and Oulu University of Applied Sciences.