At the end of 2020, the Finnish government decided that Finnish students will be paid for secondary education materials. The background for the situation is to extend compulsory education to 18 years of age. The costs of learning materials will therefore be covered by society in the future. This is not a small thing, but several hundred million euros invested in studying a year.

In the autumn semester of 2021, high school and vocational school entrants will therefore receive free learning materials. From then on, each year a new age group, and finally all high school students, will have free materials. And are computers also acquired for students?

This cannot but affect the nature of the learning materials. It should also be noted that distance learning has come to stay. Some of the studies will be carried out remotely in the post-pandemic period, which has an undeniable efficiency advantage. Maybe students can choose for themselves how to participate in teaching!

A new generation of learning programs is coming

So what is learning material? As studies are clearly moving to software-based solutions, e-books are already old-fashioned. Each textbook publishing house is frantically developing a next-generation content production platform with different features. There are now several different platforms, but the best ones also have good content ready. This allows you to gain a competitive edge over content and learning management platforms (LMSs) alone. These, too, do not take advantage of today’s technological opportunities. Now is the time to jump into the next generation of learning and learning applications and software. The first artificial intelligence-based learning software (ITS, ILS) is already coming to market. However, their development takes years, because basic and applied research and product development are time-consuming. There are four companies in the world that are at the forefront of development. Finnish Eximia is one of them.

What is learning in terms of learning materials? As secondary and earlier education moves to include more distance learning, students and teachers will benefit from artificial intelligence-based systems that support and enhance competence. Artificial intelligence is possible and worthwhile to harness for learning use. It expands students ’own opportunities to decide on their own study and use of time, and enhances learning by providing repetition and repetition and task feedback at the same time immediately – no other system can. This enhances student learning and teachers ’use of time. Teachers can track the number of tasks students do digitally from their own interface.

Individuality and flexibility are growing in popularity

Consideration of individual characteristics in studying has been considered important, e.g. Former Prime Minister Esko Aho spoke on the subject recently in YLE’s Ykkösaamu program. How is it implemented, and what is individuality? After all, it is an individual perspective on the possibility for each learner to study at a distance and in lessons in the right proportion. In addition, the systems must support the student (tutoring). At least a new kind of relationship between distance and attendance studies would bring flexibility and take into account students in different situations. The basis for individual study is to enhance the studies of individual students, taking into account their own starting points. For example, an injury or illness may limit learning and could be made more effective. Many students today have neuropsychological challenges or learning difficulties, and a different rhythm for distance and attendance teaching might be more effective for them. Young people play a variety of sports professionally from an early age, so incorporating traditional schooling into the life stage creates challenges. Many live far from high schools, making it feel absurd to travel tens of miles or even move to another location to live right after elementary school.

The focus is on the acquisition of learning materials

When high schools and vocational schools, with the help of municipal and city teaching activities, start ordering study materials, they should have the professional skills and ability to see the generational leap in learning and understand the learning-enhancing effect of new smart learning systems. In addition, new efficient systems that accompany students with both content and task checks could be even more affordable. The matter would at least be tolerated by the municipalities. The threat is to build on the former, the old, and Finland will lose its advantage in digital learning, which we currently have in the EU. Estonia seems to be smashing a hand ahead!

Teacher’s preparation work and student participation are changing

The teacher directs students and is responsible for the planning and organization of teaching. The organization of the lessons differs from the traditional one. The old traditional way is to create and go through subject matters by writing a lecture or using ready-made text. In particular, preparing and completing examples is worth its weight in learning (in terms of comprehension). When the example is described, it is easy to implement in distance learning, but completing it in stages can pose challenges. There are also opportunities for this: the camera functions can be expanded and the paper on the table acts as a whiteboard. It is also possible for students to participate “by coming to the board” in a Webex application, for example.

Nowadays, students need to be able to use a variety of content production software to respond. Various editors, such as Marvinsketch, Geogebra or Abitti, are familiar to Finnish high school students. Mathematics is written like text with letters being mathematical characters. Today’s students know how to use editors and continue to evolve. At times, however, there is still reason to resort to pen and paper!