The role of an external facilitator in developing new co-creation platforms in university education

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Factories | A4 Artikkeli konferenssijulkaisussa
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Today’s university graduates, regardless of their discipline, need thinking and working skills, that help them to face the complex, “wicked” real-life problems and challenges that cannot be solved tackled with purely rational thinking and straightforward problem solving. Education in general needs to be able to continuously change and develop to meet the needs of the global and local society, and industry. The interest of this study is twofold: to investigate the role of an external facilitator in a process of educational change and to examine whether development is easier initiated, sustained and facilitated from within the organization by an embedded actor, or by an external facilitator along with the factors influencing the process. In this paper we are looking at the role of an external facilitator in change process and we draw our insights from two different cases, from China and Austria. The aims in both cases were essentially similar: to create a collaborative learning environment and implement new practices and more student-centric culture. In both cases the change was initiated with a recruitment of an external facilitator. The results indicate that an active change agent and an outsider who is not fixated with the norms and practices of the current organization, can be a significant catalyst in driving change. The study depicts advantages of pushing change as an outsider who is not embedded in the organization, but also downsides stemming from issues such as lacking tacit knowledge and insider information. In addition, the cases illustrate how change promoters are required on different levels of university hierarchy starting from university leadership to the faculty and students.
Educational development, facilitator, change agency, practices
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Tuulos, Tiina & Vainio, Meri & Taajamaa, Ville. 2016. The role of an external facilitator in developing new co-creation platforms in university education. 44th SEFI Conference, 12-15 September 2016, Tampere, Finland. 9.