Enthusiasm for lifelong learning: What is it like to study at the Open University?

Student feedback from 2018 confirms that lifelong learning is an exciting and worthwhile pursuit. It offers new knowledge and skills and provides resources for planning and advancing one’s career. Flexibility in studies and good guidance serve and support students in all life situations.

Our Open University is recommended: distance learning opportunities are excellent

According to the Open University of the University of Jyväskylä students in 2018:

  • 88% would recommend our studies to their friends
  • An additional 11% could possibly recommend our studies
  • The students gave us an overall grade of 4/5.

Among other areas, distance learning opportunities and professional guidance were rated highly.

What do people learn at the Open University?

Expanding one’s knowledge and competence was the most important reason for studies. Other reasons were intentions to pursue a degree, changing careers or profession and acquiring or expanding teaching qualifications. While studying, students also increased their general knowledge and advanced their professional skills and career planning. Some 20% of our students intended to apply for degree studies at the university based on their Open University studies.

Of the goals students set for their studies, those that were achieved the best included increasing general knowledge, furthering professional skills and clarifying future career plans. The studies also promoted passion towards lifelong learning. Over 95% of the respondents said their theoretical knowledge of the studied subject progressed “well” or better.

Motivation and interest contribute to learning at the Open University

According to our student feedback, the factors supporting learning are motivation towards studying, interest in the subject, flexible and variable study methods, peer support, and group work.

The teacher has a vital role: professional, high-quality contact teaching and teacher feedback support learning. In addition, well-designed assignments and adequate study materials have an important role in learning. The Open University uses many different learning environments, and they are all mainly regarded as functional and accessible.

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What factors may hinder Open University studies?

According to the student feedback from 2018, other obligations in life were the most common factor hindering studies. The majority of our Open University students are working adults. Flexible study methods and distance learning opportunities make studies possible from everywhere in various life situations.

The challenges mentioned also included independent learning and the study assignments. In some cases, access to the study materials proved challenging. The Open University offers support and guidance for studies and for improving academic study skills. Our student services are available by phone, email and in face-to-face meetings.

We strive to offer student-centred Open University studies

The Open University of the University of Jyväskylä wants to provide even more fulfilling learning experiences and flexible, high-quality study opportunities for everyone.

Our goal is to continuously develop our services to better meet our students’ needs. Feedback is an essential component in this work. We ask for direct feedback from all students who complete a study programme. However, you can provide feedback at all stages of your studies by, for example, emailing openuniversity@jyu.fi.

In 2018, 46% of our students responded to the feedback survey. We are thankful for all the thoughts and comments. We will use them in further developing our work.