AppSim -Creating competence through applied simulation pedagogy, digitality and service design

Duration: 1.2.2016-31.1.2019 

Lead partner  Centria University of Applied Sciences (lead)

Living Lab partners Hoivakoti Majakka, Keski-Pohjanmaan Kirjapaino Oyj, Kokkolan Energia, K.H.Renlund museum - Provincial Museum of Central Ostrobothnia and ProAgria Central Ostrobothnia

Co-creation and fast experimenting with service simulation
This project looks for new operational models based on digital operational environments for the co-operation between education, working life and research & development. Competence will be developed through a Living Lab network that has been built together with the working life partners. The objective is to find new operational models and create new learning methods and environments through service design while utilising, in particular, simulation pedagogics, digitalisation and gamification. The new competence will be utilised for developing Centria’s educational content and quality.
In order to promote service design competence and digitalisation, Centria has developed SILMU lab; a multidisciplinary simulation environment and a teamwork space. SILMU enables audio-visual presentation and prototyping of service concepts and situations for quick experiments and development. During thís project, based on the needs of the social and health care field, new multidisciplinary pedagogics and a concept for an operational environment that supports them, will be developed alongside the SILMU lab.

Service design: Developing services utilizing design methods through customer understanding
• Developing a service experience that serves both the user’s and the service provider’s needs
• Involving all the stakeholders in the development process
• Combining design methods and approaches with the traditional service development methods
Co-creation: Bringing together the experts and students of various fields
• Authentic cases as part of studies
• Living Lab innovation ecosystem: Working life development
• New and interesting innovations are created on the interface of various fields of expertise
Service simulation: Digitally aided fast and flexible development through experimentation
• Visual presentation of the user experience constructed using digital tools, also referred to as service simulation, will serve as a prototype in co-creation
• Multisensory perception, as well as the combination of digital tools and physical elements, make it easier to empathize with the simulated situation and enable quick experiments in workshops based on the ideas generated
Digitalisation: A systemic change and leadership of operational culture – creating new services and operational models
• Anticipation of new service possibilities
• Service Design methods with co-creation and visualization provide tools for bridging a gap between produced data and user, by understanding value production and user orientation.

Summary of the project:

Education and cooperation with working life requires the ability to react pro-actively due to the changing, digitalising working life. One must be able to apply one’s skills in a cross-disciplinary manner across new fields while utilising digital technology. In order to find genuinely new approaches to learning and cooperation with working life, one must invest in development and learning through trial in close collaboration with working life. By developing skills in service
design, simulation pedagogy and the utilisation of digitality, one can reform and enhance the regional skill level and thereby also the innovation system comprising education, research and the business activities and other working life agents utilising them.

Aims and activities

In terms of the growth and restructuring industries in the region, the project activities focus especially on the IT sector, the social and healthcare sector and the primary production sector in terms of working life, and the fields of technology, social and healthcare and business economics in terms of education. The aim is to use service design to find new approaches and develop new learning methods and learning environments utilising digital technology and a game-based approach. The work makes use of participatory development in authentic environments, similarly to the Living Lab approach, in cooperation with working life. As a result of the development by trial, the project improves the skill level in simulation pedagogy, the utilisation of digitality and service design. These new skills and development outcomes are used to improve the quality and range of education provided at Centria University of Applied Sciences and to develop cooperation with working life and increase the regional skill level. This increase in skill level and the development of education bring benefits particularly to the growth and restructuring industries in the region, which
have a special need to develop their operations and services.

The purpose of this project is to develop skills in the utilisation of digital operating environments and to look for new directions as to what is multiprofessional simulation pedagogy, which utilises digitality of the next generation. During the project, two operating environments utilising digital technology are developed at Centria University of Applied Sciences: SILMU (Service Innovation Lab for Multidisciplinary Co-creation), which is already being piloted, and SimPro (Service prototyping in social and healthcare simulation pedagogy), which is undergoing a needs assessment. This
project strongly seeks for more extensive new applications and development directions for the operations of the SILMU lab, now piloted at Centria, as part of Centria’s innovation ecosystem and the interaction between education and working life in the Central Ostrobothnia region. During the project, skills in simulation pedagogy are developed alongside the SILMU lab to enhance new, cross-disciplinary simulation pedagogy based on the needs of the social and healthcare sector and a vision of the operating environment (SimPro) that would support these in the future. The aim is to create a model where the simulation cases are constructed from pedagogy and service point of view to meet the needs of skilled individuals in different fields.


New learning methods and knowledge contents are developed during the project to develop the quality and provided range of education while utilising simulation pedagogy, digital technology and service design. As a result, new, interactive cooperation models are created for the tripartite cooperation between RDI activities, teaching and working life while utilising the SILMU lab. During the project, a new simulation pedagogy plan for the social and healthcare sector and the concept of the SimPro environment are developed by trial. Cooperation with working life offers two-way
benefits: the skill level of the working life sector increases while the education sector gains real-time knowledge of development needs. Service design, co-creation, a game-based approach, a multidisciplinary approach and active learning become an influential part of the collaboration between Centria’s fields of education and its cooperation with working life. As a result of project activities, service design and simulation environments become established as a natural part of implementing the curricular contents and responding to the continuing training needs of working life.
Interactive work together with the growth and restructuring industries in working life in the fields of technology, social and healthcare and business economics develops the educational content and the relevancy of the education provided. During the project, working life, education and RDI activities are introduced to experiences of utilising modernised learning environments and using new pedagogical models.

Contact information:

Project Manager
Johanna Hautamäki
tel. +358 40 631 6754

Development Manager
Tarja Mäkitalo
tel. +358 40 808 5109

Centria Research and development
Talonpojankatu 2
67100 Kokkola, Finland

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