Student learning in MENTOROB

Mentoring is the core function of MENTOROB, which means dialogue between the teacher / lecturer, student and the placement supervisor / mentor. Content and aims of mentoring are derived from the degree programme, curriculum and the field specific protocols. Mentoring is largely influenced by culture, ways and methods of working, including dialogue.

For MENTOROB, the core focus of mentoring and guidance is internationalisation, thus the mentoring TOOL KIT developed for the programme aims in enhancing student’s learning through the following steps:

1) Cultural understanding: exchange of best practices to enhance the importance of cultural understanding
2) Support: student mentoring, orientation and guidance to internationalisation and robotic knowledge in physiotherapy
3) Dialogue: personal learning goals (personal learning plan), feedback, self-reflection and assessment (inc. peer-assessment)

During the first year of the project life cycle, partners wanted to pay special attention to student accreditation and its meaning in student learning process. It was recognised that despite the importance of accreditation and its meaning in continuation of studies and on-time graduation, there are still differences between countries, universities and even faculties concerning the recognition process. Project partners recognised that without clear focus on accreditation and recognition of completed training / studies in the partner country, student self-reflection and learning during the mobility will be vague.

Although Japanese universities have taken a strong focus towards supporting active learning through practical training opportunities for a more functional analysis of student competences, the practices between Finland and Japan still vary greatly. This especially concerns fields in social and health care, built on the grounds of local history, society and legislation.

The student mentoring platform used in MENTOROB focuses on the learning and mentoring process of the student, responsible professors and training supervisors. From the dialogue shared between partners and associate stakeholders, it became evident that language barries in Japan in student supervision still prevail. In addition, the notion of self-reflection is better recognisable through written feedback rather than on-going dialogue. In turn, although the pace of work in Japan is greatly heavier than in Finland, practices in Finnish working life strongly demand independent actions, personal reflection, dialogue and constant feedback. Thus, the demands of Finnish training settings may be, for many, too hectic, from the personal point of view despite the actual pace of work.

Originally the project plan focused on three months student mobility to both countries. Due to changes in curricula, differences in accreditation processes together with the actual pedagogical practices, partners agreed that student mobility to JAMK is cut to one month, taking place in August-September 2018. In turn, student mobility to Takasaki is due to take place end of September onwards for two months.