Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki, Finland

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1 E learning provision and demand in rural areas possibilities and obstacles National report, Finland Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki, Finland

2 E-learning provision and demand in rural areas possibilities and obstacles National report, Finland Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute Content 1. INTRODUCTION E LEARNING PROVIDERS SURVEY OF E LEARNING PROVIDERS SURVEY DESIGN Sample Conduct of the survey Questionnaire RESULTS Statistical analysis Presentation and discussion of findings: frequency analyses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross tabulation analysis CONCLUSIONS E LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP SURVEY OF E LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP SURVEY DESIGN Sample Conduct of Survey

3 Questionnaires RESULTS Presentation and discussion of he findings: frequency analyses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross tabulation analysis CONCLUSIONS OVERALL CONCLUSIONS REFERENCES Annexes Annex 1. The Finnish training providers questionnaire Annex 2. The Finnish e learner questionnaire Annex 3. The Finnish control group questionnaire

4 1. INTRODUCTION This report is produced as part of the E ruralnet project, which is a European network project partfunded by the European Commission in the context of the Lifelong Learning Programme, Transversal projects ICT. It addresses e learning as a means for enhancing lifelong learning opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on SMEs, micro enterprises, self employed and persons seeking employment. In Finland, education is considered a basic right and is offered free of charge to all people living in Finland. In addition, citizens have the obligation as well to obtain the knowledge level equivalent to 9 years of schooling. Authorities are also required to provide education opportunities beyond the basic education and keep the charges reasonable. Since Finland has two official languages (Finnish and Swedish), education is provided in both languages equally. The ministry states a high level of education as the goal of the education policy. More than nine out of ten continue to upper secondary school or vocational training after completing basic education. Figure 1. The structure of the education system in Finland 1 1 read

5 Adult education is one of the key concerns of the Finnish education policy due to the aging population and the contemporary needs of the labor market. Adult education in Finland is mainly free of charge for the student and mostly government subsidized to the provider. 1,7 million people participate in adult training yearly (half of the working age population) 2. About 800 institutions provide adult training in Finland. Adult education, in addition to the official education system, is offered in adult education centres, folk high schools and summer universities (these don t lead to a qualification). Adult education is also provided by employer demand. Labor market training in turn is targeted at the unemployed. The ministry states lifelong learning as the objective of adult education. Adult education in Finland, as a whole, can be subcategorized into general adult education (upper secondary schools, Folk high schools, adult education centres, music institutions, summer universities) and vocational training (vocational training institutions, continuing education centres of universities, polytechnics). E learning in this project has been defined to include all use of electronic equipment in learning. Since the use of PC s and the internet is wide spread in Finland, there are hardly any users with no experience of some form of e learning. The Finnish definitions of e learning mostly speak of a set of learning elements delivered electronically. Therefore the general Finnish understanding of e learning might somewhat differ from the definition adopted in the project which in turn is based on the needs of also those countries with a less developed ICT infrastructure. In the provider interviews it became evident that the providers understood e learning to refer to whole courses rather than electronic tools. This might explain the level of responses. According to the national plan for ICT implementation in education (Kansallinen tieto ja viestintätekniikan opetuskäytön suunnitelma 3 ), Finland has recently fallen behind in the international ICT development evaluations. In exploiting e learning tools in education, Finland is among the European average. Many e learning opportunities remain underutilized. There also seems to be recognized regional differences between e learning development, and although some individuals use e learning possibilities in innovative ways, many schools in general are lagging behind. The plan lists the main challenges for e learning: insufficient technical infrastructure, the differences in technical capabilities between schools, not making use of appropriate pedagogical models, the quality/accessibility/distribution of material, institutional cultures, change management in schools, cooperation between schools and businesses, and finally, updating the teacher training program. This report aims to provide state of the art information on the current provision of e learning, the tools and innovative methods used and existing obstacles the learners meet in e learning in Finland. Similar kind of study has been done as part of e Ruralnet project in 11 participating countries. The aim is also identify caps between the current e learning provision and demand and provide useful information to both e learning providers and administrators to support the decision making. The report consists of two main parts. At first the results of the e learning providers survey are presented. In the second part the results of the e learners, i.e. people who have participated to e learning are described together with the opinions of the control group representing people who have not participated to e learning. At the end the conclusions summarizing all survey results are presented. 2 Finnish National Board of Education,

6 2. E-LEARNING PROVIDERS 2.1. SURVEY OF E-LEARNING PROVIDERS The Finnish report of e learning providers aims to portray the status of the Finnish e learning market by taking a look at the suppliers of the electronic courses. An identical survey has been conducted in all 11 participating countries in order to be able to compare the saturation of the market in different contexts. 2.2 SURVEY DESIGN Sample A short preliminary survey was sent out in December, 2009 to identify the correct target group. It is difficult to find specified data of Finnish e learning providers and therefore the preliminary survey targeted to all adult education institutions with an aim to identify those with e learning courses. The actual e learning providers survey was sent to all those training providers who had in the preliminary survey stated that they offer e learning and are willing to respond. The invitation to join the survey was open and respondents were asked to circulate the e mail in order to identify more potential respondents Conduct of the survey The jointly developed transnational questionnaire was translated from English into Finnish and posted online. The survey invitation was then sent out by e mail in January, 2010 to 374 people in organizations offering adult education and identified as e learning providers. Data collection was closed in December, A total of 77 respondents replied to the survey but only 42 of them completed the entire survey. Based on the amount of responses a total of 42 of the results could be considered as completed and were thus taken into further analysis. The criteria for the completed surveys were created by the University of Rostock, responsible on designing the data analyzing in the project. All providers surveys were filled in online by the respondents Questionnaire The survey was designed to present a picture of e learning supply in each country: available products, innovative elements, funding structure, various methods and major challenges with a focus on rural SME s. The Finnish questionnaire can be found from annex RESULTS Statistical analysis The e learning providers data was analysed jointly in the project by the University of Rostock. In the analysis the frequencies were used as descriptive statistics. In addition the dependence of responses for selected questions were tested by using χ 2 test. Frequencies of responses were calculated for each question and distribution of these (valid percent) served as the data for the charts drawn in this report. Cross tabulations were made concerning certain questions. These results provide a general overview of the status quo of e learning in Finland and cannot be seen as a comprehensive description of all Finnish e learning providers. Due to small amount of data, the preconditions for χ 2 test were not met in the analysis. However, some selected results have 6

7 been nevertheless presented in order to provide indications and illustrate the opinions of different respondent sub groups. It must be noted though that these results are not statistically significant Presentation and discussion of findings: frequency analyses The presentation of this section is structured in jointly agreed 8 subsections covering the following survey themes: i. Provider institutional profile: type, size, training activity ii. iii. iv. Provider e learning specialization and market presence Provider market: rural orientation, client priorities, sources of funding Subjects offered and qualifications v. E learning provision: delivery mode, student participation, ICT requirements vi. vii. viii. E learning delivery methods, tools, pedagogies Problems and requirements for success Provider perceptions of innovativeness i. Provider institutional profile: type, size, training activity Figure 2. The type of the e learning providers organizations (n= 41) A slight majority, of the responding organizations were private although the numbers were quite even. 13 respondents mentioned their organisation being both private and public. Either there has been a misunderstanding in answering in questions or the organisations have different departments of which some are publicly funded and some use private funds. In general most of the Finnish 7

8 training organisations are publicly funded either by the state or by the federations of municipalities and other regional actors. Figure 3. The type of public organisations (n= 26) Of the public organizations that responded to the survey, most operated on a regional level, which reflects very well the Finnish situation in general. Figure 4. The type of private organisations (n=28) Private organizations were primarily NGO s and foundations (57 %). 8

9 Figure 5. The responses in percentages to the question Are you an independent education/training organisation or do you operate under a higher level institution? (n=41) A clear majority of the organizations were independent, which is very typical for vocational and adult education organisations in Finland. The size and training activity, including e learning activity, of providers was measured in this survey on the basis of the number of teachers employed, the number of teachers involved in e learning, students participating in e learning courses during the last 12 months, and number of e learning packages currently offered. Figure 6. The amount of employed teachers and trainers in the respondents organisations (n=41). Over half (51 %) of the respondents employed over 100 teachers. 9

10 Figure 7. The amount of teachers involved to e learning (n=39) Even though most of the organizations had over 100 teachers, almost half (44 %) said that less than 10 teachers are involved in e learning. 13 % of organizations had over 100 teachers involved in e learning. Figure 8. The amount of students instructed through e learning courses during the last 12 months (n=37) Almost half of the respondents said that their organisation had instructed between 11 and 100 e learning students a year. Almost a quarter had 101 to 500 students. 10

11 Figure 9. The percentage of female students in e courses (n=35) According to the respondents, female students are the majority in e learning courses. 34 % said that less than half of their students were female. It is very typical that the women are majority in adult education participants in Finland. Since this survey was mostly targeted to adult education organisations, the result as such is not very surprising. Figure 10. The amount of e learning packages the organisation offers at the present (n=38) 63 % of the respondents stated that they currently offer 1 to 10 e learning packages and 24 % said that they offer 11 to 50 courses. 11

12 ii. Provider e learning specialization and market presence As the indicators on the providers specialization in e learning was considered in this survey the proportion of provider teachers involved in e learning, the proportion of their training activity delivered with e learning, and the way e learning content was developed. Figure 11. The history of e learning provision in the respondent organisations (n=42). The organizations that responded mostly had long standing experience with e learning. Almost 93 % of the organizations had offered e learning for over a year and almost a half (45 %) over 5 years. Figure 12. The process of developing the e learning content in respondent organisations (n=38). 12

13 E learning is widely developed in house or in cooperation with an expert but rarely through pure subcontracting. Figure 13. The share of the e learning of the total training output (n=39). Almost 70 % of the respondents stated that less than a fifth of their training output is in the form of e learning courses. This figure indicates that the respondent have had solely e learning courses in mind while answering, since e learning methods are likely be used in bigger proportion of courses. iii. Provider market: rural orientation, client priorities, sources of funding Figure 14. The responses in percentages to the question Do you offer any special e learning packages for rural areas? (n=42) 13

14 Most (55 %) of the respondents stated that they do not offer any special e learning packages for rural areas. This is not surprising, since only very few of the Finnish education organisations focus solely either to rural or urban areas. Typically they offer education packages to both areas. The target group of e learning was studied by the type of the group (fig. 15) and by the type of the company (fig. 16) Figure 15. The main target groups for the e learning courses (n=42). Employees were the top priority to half of the respondents. The self employed and students were the next most important target groups. The least important groups were unemployed and selfemployed. 14

15 Figure 16. The main target groups for the e learning courses within companies and public sector (n=42). The providers mostly targeted the e learning courses to public sector organizations although micro and small companies were important target groups as well. A bit surprisingly the large companies were the least important target groups. Figure 17. The funding of the e learning courses (n=40). The e learning courses of the respondents are primarily privately (67,5 %) funded. Half receive a full subsidy. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. 15

16 Figure 18. The reasons to start to provide e learning (n=39). Demand from individuals (79,5 %) was the primary reason for starting e learning according to training providers. As Other several various things like desire to develop the training provision and education methods, ability to reach larger customer groups and changes in the processes of cooperation partners were mentioned. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. iv. Subjects offered and qualifications Figure 19. The subjects included to the e learning courses (n=41). 16

17 Most organizations offered business and management as e learning topics. ICT was also offered by nearly half (49 %) of the respondents. Technical subjects of the primary sector were quite naturally not often included to e learning courses. Also tourism was rarely included to the e learning courses. When analysing the results of this question, it must be kept in mind, however, that the general training provision of the respondent organisations can influence strongly to the chosen subjects. If the organisation does not provide tourism studies in general, it most likely will not provide them either in e courses. Figure 20. The qualifications available for trainees on completion of e learning courses (n=37). Most (76 %) organizations give a certificate of e learning participation but some (40 %) also offer a recognized national certification. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. v. E learning provision: delivery mode, student participation, ICT requirements Figure 21. The types of offered e learning courses (n=39) 17

18 Blended learning was offered by most of the providers. Almost 95% of the respondents chose blended learning as the e learning type offered. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. Figure 22. The participation requirements for the e learning courses (n=35). Trainees were primarily expected to participate with temporary internet access. Continuous online connection was not typically required. This indicates that the respondents have understood the Mostly offline... alternative as method, when e.g. during the common sessions the students need online connection, but not all the time during the course. The courses are typically planned so, that the students can download the material to their own computers, work with it and upload the tasks e.g. back to the learning platform. Online participation is only needed during pre agreed sessions. vi. E learning delivery methods, tools, pedagogies Figure 23. The delivery methods used in e learning courses (n=41). 18

19 All providers used an e learning platform for course delivery. Internet links were also popular delivery methods and 42 % utilized these. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. Figure 24. The tools used in e learning courses (n=40). Most organizations used e mails (93 %) and discussion groups (88 %) as e learning tools. Video conferencing (53 %) and chat rooms (48 %) were also very popular. Podcasts, wikis and Blogs on the other hand were the least used of the given alternatives. Figure 25. The pedagogical methods used in e learning courses (n=40). 19

20 All organizations said that they use web links in their courses. Other popular content were texts (98 %) and Power point presentations (93 %). Audio books were the least used contents. vii. Problems and requirements for success The providers were also asked about the main problems associated with e learning especially in rural areas. They were also asked about their expectations from students, and the factors necessary for successful delivery of e learning. Figure 26. According to learning providers, the main problems associated with e learning especially in rural areas (n=37). When the organizations were asked to name three of their top concerns, IT illiteracy, infrastructure and lack of support staff rose as the main areas of concern for rural e learning among the given alternatives. As Other lack of time, the need for social relationships in adult education and attitudes towards e learning were mentioned. 20

21 Figure 27. According to the training providers, the most important prerequisites for the learners to complete the e learning course successfully. Willingness to learn was chosen as a very important attribute for an e learning student (80 %). Of the more concrete opinions time availability, self discipline and perseverance were also seen as important. According to the training providers, the critical thinking, on the other hand was seen the least important of the given alternatives. Figure 28. According to the training providers, the most important factors in delivering successfully an e learning course. Training of staff was considered as the most crucial thing for e learning success. 75 % saw this as a very important thing. 21

22 viii. Provider perceptions of innovativeness The providers were also asked to estimate the innovativeness of their e learning provision. Most (88 %) of the organization offer innovative e learning according to their own opinion (Fig 29). Figure 29. The estimation of the respondents of the innovativeness of their e learning courses (n=32). The key innovative element listed was working with other students and combining individual work with discussions and knowledge change. In general it can be said that there were not seen much innovative in the technical systems themselves, rather the innovation was seen in more softer approaches to e learning like in ways to interact with tutors and other learners. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative (Fig 30). 22

23 Figure 30. The innovative elements of the e learning provision according to the training providers. In the open ended question about new ways to addressing the needs of potential users, the providers stated that since the number of adult students has risen in recent years, there is also a need to support adults with learning problems and one organization mentioned that they are especially looking into supporting adult students with Asperger, ADHD and dyslexia. One organization mentioned that they are focusing on individualizing their education. Tutoring / student support and gathering feedback were also mentioned as a way to address the needs of students. It was specifically mentioned in the open ended questions also that the respondents found defining innovativeness difficult. They said that it is difficult to see tutoring as innovative if they have always had it. One organization said that they see individual tutoring as innovative. Others mentioned that it is very difficult to estimate the amount of e learning since it is a common tool among other tools. Several organizations said that in some instances all teachers use e learning tools even when they do not implement whole e learning courses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross-tabulation analysis The e ruralnet partnership agreed jointly on which issues will be further studied under the statistical analysis. The aim was to have comparable information from each country. Unfortunately due to the small amount of data none of the χ2 analysis concerning Finland were valid, i.e. the data did not meet the χ2 test assumptions. The following selected figures base on simple tables presenting the distribution of the responses among the different respondent sub groups. In additions summary tables are added to each sub chapter presenting additional similarities/differencies. The differences 23

24 are, however, not statistically significant, but merely provide indication of the tendencies. The following four variables were considered as representing core dimensions of e learning providers: Provider size, measured by the number of teachers employed by the provider Provider specialization in e learning, measured as the proportion of their training activity delivered with e learning Provider history in the e learning measured by the number of years the provider has been offering e learning courses Provider rural orientation, measured in terms of their offering e learning packages specially for rural areas These four variables were chosen jointly for country reports in all e ruralnet partner countries. i. Providers size In general, in the Finnish data the provider s size according to the classification of the original question was not very informative variable. Half of the providers who responded to the survey employed over 100 teachers, however, in order to enable the transnational comparisons, the number of 50 teachers was used as a cut off point in grouping the providers to large and small training providers. This provided also reasonably similar size of groups. Figure 31. The history in e learning markets of different size of training providers. The bigger organisations seemed to be a bit longer in the e learning markets than the smaller. This as such is not very surprising result, since the bigger organisations typically have more resources to develop new products and service types. Neither it is not surprising that the bigger training providers had more e learning students (Figure 32). There were also statistical difference (p=0,015, Fisher exact test, two sided) when compared the size of the training provider and the amount of e learning packages they offered. The larger training providers had more e learning courses available. 24

25 Figure 32. The amount of e learning students in the training provider organisations. Figure 33. The development of the e learning course contents in different size training providers. The results give some indication that the bigger training providers use more experts outside of their organisation in developing the content of the e learning courses. The smaller training providers stated slightly more that they offer special e learning packages for rural areas. This is probably due to the fact that the smaller organisations responded to the survey are located to rural areas, when the larger training providers are located in cities, the difference was not statistically significant though. 25

26 Figure 34. The responses to the question Do you offer any special e learning packages for rural areas? of different size training providers. Concerning the used e learning tools, interestingly none of the training provides up to 50 teachers stated that they use blogs in their e learning courses (p=0,13 Fisher Exact Test, two sided). Also the use of video conferencing with web cameras was significantly bigger (p=0,001, Fisher Exact Test two sided) as well as using the Videos, (p=0,031), Fisher Exact Test, two sided) in the large training provider organisations. The findings of the data description presented above and their implications for the importance of the provider size of training activity dimension are summarized in the table that follows. Table 1. The summary of the results of cross tabulations Dimension Presence in e learning market (no statistical difference) Amount of e learning packages available (p=0,010 Fisher Exact Test) E learning content development (no statistical difference) Rural orientation (no statistical difference) e learning tools and methods Small e learning provider (Up to 50 teachers employed) Less than 5 years Less courses Less in house development More rural orientated less videos, web conferencing and blogs Large e learning provider (More than 50 teachers employed) More than 5 years More courses More in house development Less rural orientated More videos, web conferencing and blogs The results show some clear differences between the smaller and larger training providers. However, it must be noted that the size of training provider correlates indicatively also with the experience of the training provider in the e learning markets. This means that the difference can be caused also due to this variable. 26

27 Provider specialization in e learning The providers e learning specialisation was measured based on the proportion of their training activity delivered by e learning. Since almost 70% of the training providers stated that their proportion of e learning is up to 20%, it was also used as diving point between the training providers. However, in order to enable transnational comparisons, also in some cases the e learning proportion up to 40% has been used as a cutting point. Figure 35. The content development resources for the e learning courses based on the specialisation to e learning. The more the training providers had e learning, the more they also used outsider experts in developing the content for the courses. When using the 40% as a cutting point in e learning provision, it was found out that the training providers, whose proportion of e learning was over 40% of the total training provision, started e learning more on a demand of the large companies than the others (p=0,04, Fisher Exact test). Between the other reasons, no statistical difference was observed. 27

28 Figure 36. The starting reasons of the e learning. According to the results all training providers (100%) of whose training provision was over 40% of e learning mentioned that they give out formal qualification of initial or post secondary education/ training. The same figure for organizations offering up to 40% of e learning was only 45,2% (p=0,034, Fisher Exact test, two sided) Figure 37. The use of different e learning delivery methods. Also the more training providers had e learning, the more advanced training delivery methods they used. 28

29 Figure 38. The tools used in the e learning courses. Figure 39. The pedagogical methods used in e learning courses. The findings of the descriptive figures and their implications for the importance of the provider specialization in e learning dimension are summarized in the table that follows. Table 2. The summary of cross tabulation results Dimension (Question No) E learning activity big E learning activity small Provider type (cutting point up to 40% of e learning provision, p=0,035 Fisher Exact more private organizations (e learning activity over 40%) more public organizations (e learning activity over 40%) 29

30 test) Reasons for starting e learning provision cutting point up to 40% of e learning provision, p=0,04 Fisher Exact test) Certification level(cutting point up to 40% of e learning provision, p=0,035 Fisher Exact test) Provider size E learning content development Training delivery methods More on the demand of large companies (e learning activity over 40%) more formal qualifications from e learning courses Small provider (e learning activity over 20% of the total output) Less in house development (e learning activity over 20% of the total output) More advanced (e learning activity over 20% of the total output) various reasons (elearning activity over 40%) less formal qualifications from e learning courses Large provider(e learning activity up to 20% of the total output) More in house development(e learning activity up to 20% of the total output) More traditional (elearning activity up to 20% of the total output) Providers history in e learning In general the providers length of presence in e learning markets was measured by the number of years they have been offering e learning courses. As a cutting point for these figures 5 year limit has been used and the providers divided into two categories, those who offered the e learning courses up to 5 years and the training providers who offered the e learning courses over 5 years. Figure 40. The training providers offering special e learning courses to rural areas (n=42). Organizations that provide special e learning packages for rural areas, have mostly offered e learning up to 5 years. 30

31 Figure 41. The amount of e learning students in the training organisations within the last 12 months. The training providers, who have been longer in the e learning markets had also more e learning students within the last 12 months. However, this can be explained also with the company size, since the size seemed to correlate also with the history in the e learning markets as can be seen from the figure 42. Figure 42. The history in the e learning markets of the different size of training providers. Also the longer the training organizations had been in the e learning markets, the more courses they offer. This was also statistically significant result (p=0,013, Fisher exact test, two sided) In the following figures the more detailed division of the organizations history in e learning markets has been used, since it provided more insight picture of the influence of the experience in the e learning to the tools and contents used in the e learning courses. 31

32 Figure 43. The e learning tools methods of organizations according to how long they have provided e learning (n=40). Organizations that had offered e learning less than a year, used discussion groups and e mails more often than organizations that had provided e learning longer. Organizations that had provided e learning for over a year or longer used chat rooms, blogs and different kind of e learning communities more than younger organizations. The organizations who had offered e learning more than 5 years offered more blogs than younger organizations. This result was also statistically significant (p=0,006 Fisher Exact test two sided). On the other hand they used less e mail than the younger e learning providers (p=0,009). Figure 44. The form of e learning content material of organizations according to how long they have provided e learning (n=40). Organizations that had offered e learning less than a year used interactive content more than older providers, but a bit surprisingly no videos at all. In general, however, the newer e learning providers 32

33 had less variation in their content material than those organisations that had provided e learning longer. Figure 45. The respondents opinions on the main challenges for e learning in rural areas according to how long they have provided e learning (n=37). Organization that had offered e learning less than a year, saw IT illiteracy and lack of suitable training materials as the main challenges with e learning. Older providers felt that the main challenges were IT illiteracy and lack of infrastructure. For those planning to start e learning the main challenges were lack of support staff and suitable course material. There was also statistically significant difference concerning the lack of suitable training material (p=0,002 Fisher exact test, two sided) when compared the training providers up to 5 years old and over 5 years old. For those training providers who had been in e learning markets over 5 years the lack of material was not a problem at all (0%), when 9,5% of the younger training providers had listed it as one main challenge for the sector. Figure 46. The Delivery methods of organizations according to how long they have provided e learning (n=41). 33

34 Organizations that had provided e learning less than a year, favored websites and mobile phones whereas organizations that had offered e learning longer used these delivery methods less and DVD s more than younger providers. Table 3. The results of cross tabulations Dimension Rural orientation (no statistical difference) The amount of students(no statistical difference) Size of the training provider(no statistical difference) Course provision (p=0,013, Fisher exact test, two sided) Tools and content of e learning Challenges New provider (Up to 5 years presence in the e learning market) More rural orientated Smaller amount of e learning students Smaller operators Less e learning packages available Less variation IT illiteracy and lack of suitable training material(p=0,002 Fisher exact test, two sided) Old provider (More than 5 years presence in the e learning market) Less rural orientated Larger amounts of e learning students Bigger operators More e learning packages available More variation IT illiteracy and lack of infrastructure The results show some clear differences between the old and the new training providers. In fact the history in e learning markets seems to be one of the most significant variable in defining differences between the groups. However, it must be noted that the size of training provider correlates indicatively with the experience of the training provider in the e learning markets. This means that the differences can be caused also due to this variable. Provider rural orientation Provider rural orientation was measured by asking providers whether they offer special e learning packages especially for rural areas. Figure 47. the division of the training providers with courses targeted especially to rural areas. 34

35 Of the public organization that offered e learning to rural areas, most operated on a regional level, which is a bit more than in whole data (61%). Figure 48. The history of the rural focused training providers in e learning markets. Organizations that provide special e learning packages for rural areas, have mostly offered e learning 1 to 5 years. The proportion of the training providers who provided training over 5 years is smaller than in the whole population (45,2%) Organizations that provide special e learning packages for rural areas stated IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure as the main challenges related to e learning, especially in rural areas. Figure 49. The opinions of the organizations offering special e learning packages for rural areas concerning the main challenges of e learning in rural areas (n=18). Organizations that provide special e learning packages for rural areas stated IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure as the main challenges related to e learning, especially in rural areas. The same main challenges were highlighted in whole data as well (see page 14). 35

Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki, Finland

Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki, Finland E-learning provision and demand in rural areas possibilities and obstacles National report, Finland Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute,

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