The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has awarded the ViLLE learning platform developed by the Centre for Learning Analytics at the University of Turku with the 2020 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize. The Prize is given annually to two nominees whose projects promote learning and teaching with information and communication technology.
The UNESCO Prize is a significant recognition of creative uses of new technologies to enhance teaching quality and overall educational performance. Each year, an international jury chooses two winners who both receive US$25,000. The theme of the 2020 edition is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the continuity and quality of learning.
- This global recognition is a great thing for the mission our team is passionate about. The whole community is needed for the development of learning, and together with teachers, field and researchers, we have created a unique ecosystem in Finland which has enabled better learning outcomes and agile development of research-based teaching, says Director for the Centre for Learning Analytics Mikko-Jussi Laakso.
ViLLE is an online learning platform which offers students and teachers detailed information regarding the learning process in the form of immediate feedback and learning analytics. Most exercises are automatically assessed which allows teachers to spend more time on teaching and supporting students. The artificial intelligence of the system recognises and prevents learning difficulties in different subject areas. ViLLE contains a versatile selection of interactive exercises in different subjects, such as mathematics, Finnish and languages, and it is suitable for teaching from comprehensive school to university level. The platform is used by circa half of the Finnish schools and over 150,000,000 interactive exercises are completed with it each year.
- The theme is extremely current as the coronavirus pandemic has caused different types of learning debt. We have helped with decreasing this debt since the beginning of the pandemic, as an increasing group of teachers have begun using the digital ViLLE tools we have created in order to ease their workload. Also teachers are tired after this difficult year, and the significance of these tools will be emphasised when we get back to regular teaching. The tools provided by ViLLE help to identify students’ learning difficulties and to create more personalised learning experiences. It is these positive experiences of students and teachers that are the reason for our great results, adds Laakso.
The winners will be awarded in a ceremony organised at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in autumn 2021.