Free education goes online

A consortium of educational institutes and companies has developed new digital learning services and a shared distribution channel for providers of free education. The aim is to establish a national educational institute online – however, this goal remains unrealised to date.

"Finland is lagging behind other countries in terms of digitalisation. We set out to find a solution to this, while also getting involved in the projects run by educational institutes. For some reason, up to 90% of these are left partly unfinished," Project Leader Juha Telkkinen says, referring to an EU study. Telkkinen's company, Promentor Solutions Oy, a producer of online language learning materials, is coordinating the Finnish Online Academy value network project that forms part of Tekes's Learning Solutions programme.

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The Finnish Online Academy was built in two stages. The first stage mainly involved goal-setting and brainstorming pilots. During the second stage, funded by Tekes, companies were able to develop online courses and learning methods and have them tested by teachers and students from the participating educational institutes.

"The whole point was to understand how to integrate the operating models of schools and businesses. We accomplished this successfully. The pilot products for learning mathematics, music, languages and programming languages can be further developed and commercialised. Our results will not disappear or be abandoned. The pilots will be continued," says a happy Telkkinen. "As awareness of different online learning opportunities has grown, the opportunities offered by digitalisation in schools have also improved and increased. Our companies have gained plenty of publicity, new clients and new business opportunities," says Telkkinen, who is satisfied with the results.

Cooperation with Espoo Adult Education Centre

One of the project's aims was to create a national educational institution online that would provide free education while serving as a distribution channel for anyone operating in the online learning sector. However, this vision ran aground on a policy definition by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, prohibiting the establishment of new educational institutes in Finland before 2017.

"Online learning would make education available to everyone. Right now, 30% of the population is unable to pursue free education due to their working hours or geographical distances," says Telkkinen.

Although an online academy could not be established to serve as a distribution channel, the project will continue in the form of cooperation at the Espoo Adult Education Centre.

"We will launch nationwide education online in the coming autumn. The participants will be able to subscribe to online courses offered by the partners of the Finnish Online Academy project," says Telkkinen.

The following educational institutes participated in the project as partners: the Espoo Adult Education Centre, the Kouvola Adult Education Centre, the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, the Finnish Adult Education Institute of the City of Helsinki, the Nummi-Pusula School, the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki and Tapiola Upper Secondary School. Business partners included Mikrolinna Oy, Promentor Solutions Oy, Rockway Oy and Viope Oy.

For further information, please contact

CEO Juha Telkkinen
juha.telkkinen (at)
Tel. +358 400 440 443

Text: SST Viestintä

Pia Mörk