The Best Learning Solution from Finland competition in 2023 had the theme “World at play – Games and Gamification as Keys to a Sustainable Future.” This year marked a historic moment for the competition, as two winners were awarded the main prize. First prize was awarded to Learning Life – Mystery 24/7 by Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and Häme University of Applied Sciences, and MarISOT by the FIT research group at Turku University of Applied Sciences. Mathness by Win or Learn Ltd. received an honorable mention from the jury and also won the Audience Favorite vote. The award ceremony took place on June 5, 2023, at Nokia Arena’s Paidia venue in Tampere.
For the first time in the competition’s 22-year history, the jury decided to award two educational solutions the first-place position. Learning Life – Mystery 24/7 is a virtual reality (VR) escape game for young people and young adults, developed by Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and Häme University of Applied Sciences. It supports vocational rehabilitation and guidance provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). The game’s potential to enhance young people’s sense of participation and prevent social exclusion was highly valued by the jury. When played with a instructor, the game provides a relaxed and safe atmosphere that helps young people articulate their own situation.
MarISOT, the other first-place winner, is a VR training application developed by the FIT research group at Turku University of Applied Sciences. The application’s background system includes artificial intelligence for analyzing the user’s performance. The jury praised MarISOT for its technical excellence and significant commercial potential. The simulator focuses on practicing a collision situation of a cargo ship at sea and clearly demonstrates a commitment to promoting sustainable development.
Mathness by Win or Learn Ltd. received an honorable mention from the jury and was also recognized as the Audience Favorite, receiving 42% of the audience votes. Mathness is a story-driven adventure puzzle game that encourages unique practice of fractions, numerical concepts, and problem-solving. Originally a one-man project, the game stood out to the jury for its power of enthusiasm, strong visual design, and pedagogical innovations that bring a new dimension to the study of mathematics.
The chairman of the evaluation jury for this year’s competition was Kristian Kiili, a professor of game-based learning at the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University. According to Kiili, “Games and gamification can be utilized in various ways to teach and support the themes of sustainable development. They can increase awareness of the challenges of sustainable development and encourage people to make sustainable choices in real life. Games can also create learning solutions that allow exploration and experience of phenomena related to sustainable development in a safe environment. For example, simulations can be used to teach skills that, if implemented in the real world, would have a significant environmental impact.“
The Best Learning Solution from Finland competition has been organized since 2001, aiming to highlight Finnish expertise and innovations in education. Previous winners include among others Positive Learning Ltd. and Qridi Ltd.
The competition is organized by the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre in collaboration with its partners. This year, the partners were the Finnish Development NGOs Fingo ry, Omnia, the joint authority of education in the Espoo region, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), the city of Hämeenlinna, Oppiva Invest Oy, the Training Centre for Construction Industries RATEKO, and the Finnish Esports Federation.
The Association of Finnish eLearning Centre (Suomen eOppimiskeskus ry) is an impartial and non-profit national association. Its mission is to provide a network for the implementers, users, and developers of digital age practices. The association promotes digital skills, methods, and opportunities in the education and business sectors.