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What is a learning project?

Studying and teaching at polytechnics are both in keen contact with the working life. Practical professionalism and understanding of the characteristics related to work are merged in learning. Self-reliant acquiring of information is emphasised in study, which is required along with professionalism.

Working-life-oriented investigative work, development and teaching form a fixed triangle in which the polytechnic can develop as a distinct, developing and reflective educational institution while at the same time benefiting working life and commercial life.

Learning projects implemented by Kajaani Polytechnic have their beginnings in the customers' needs and thus support the operational preconditions of enterprises and communities in the region. Moreover, learning projects support students’ learning and add to the know-how of the polytechnic’s staff. Learning projects are carried out in keen cooperation with the student, working-life organisations and Kajaani Polytechnic.

What is a learning project?

The term ”learning project” refers to a form of learning whereby teams of students perform a process-like research undertaking, survey or other such undertaking as a commissioned assignment for an employer (Kaartinen-Koutaniemi, 2001).

In the course of project learning the project needs to be primarily a learning process. Project learning serves the students' activeness wherein they themselves set the targets for their work and participate in the evaluation of the entire project and of their own actions.

Actions are based on the activeness of the learner and his sense of responsibility for his own learning. When implementing a project, the students collect material with the purpose of resolving a specific problem. They work in accordance with the principle of joint responsibility and in so doing, while gaining the necessary knowledge and skills, they also learn knowledge acquisition and processing skills. Learning in the project becomes a process during which the participant’s comprehensive thinking develops.

Making projects is not yet a guarantee of high-quality learning. In addition to doing in projects, participants must learn to understand what was done , why it was successful, and how it could be done better. (see reflection) Responsibility extends also to assessment, which as self-assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Project learning promotes the learners' self-steering and their social skills develop.