Trip to Tampere City
Students as sers of the Pupesoft ERP system
Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has developed a unique model for learning that new students have access to in the autumn when they begin their business studies. In this learning model, theoretical studies are complemented with practical training which closely corresponds to reality and emphasises a learning by doing approach. The learning environment developed by TAMK has been named Kykylaakso i.e. Talent Valley in English, and it runs on Pupesoft, the open-source enterprise resource planning system.
Learning by doing
Basic business studies begin with the students establishing a fictive business. Students are then divided into groups of roughly eight, and together these groups form the company’s personnel. The groups set off by brainstorming about the company, then make business plans, set up their businesses and select their Managing Director.
“The theory of the basic business studies has been integrated smoothly into the method of learning by doing, which proceeds in accordance with the curriculum. The programme introduces young people to some of the most important aspects of business, such as sales, marketing, finances, management, human resource management, etc. and helps them to understand the requirements of the basic operations in a business,” says one of the programme trainers, Pia Lamminsivu. There is a total of five trainers and the programme is coordinated by Anu Kallionpää.
TAMK students have access to the Pupesoft customer files, product management, stock management, sale and purchase orders and invoicing systems, all of which they have themselves learned to use.
Pupesoft – not all at once
At Kykylaakso, students have access to the Pupesoft customer files, product management, stock management, sale and purchase orders as well as invoicing systems. However, they do not have access to all Pupesoft features and possibilities at once, as they must first learn certain steps manually, such as highly automated business operations. “This is to ensure that students learn bookkeeping for instance. It is imperative to first seek to understand the whole process and only later to examine how it could be automated,” says Lamminsivu.
Different roles broaden students’ perspective
As their studies progress, students switch roles within their companies. This allows them to gradually become better acquainted with Pupesoft and the specifics and requirements of its various sections from different points of view.
Students Kristiina Rantanen and Jenna Rantanen are excited about the teaching methods for business studies at TAMK.
“It’s great to design something completely new yourself – maybe even something that doesn’t exist anywhere else yet. In our opinion, Kykylaakso is a very useful and inspiring learning environment where it’s important for students to be active. You need to be interested in learning and finding out, for example, how the various systems are used. In this way, we will learn to use Pupesoft too,” they say.
Running a business during their studies brings students several benefits. It is easier to see the big picture when engaging in practical learning activities and utilising the group dynamics in a safe, risk-free environment.
The activities of the Kykylaakso companies culminated on 13 March at the SalesUp event, which included all the fictive companies. Here the students got the opportunity to present their companies, services and products to a real audience, which consisted of other students and teachers from the university. The event included some excellent pitches by the students who presented the companies, as well as numerous sales negotiations. This kind of training will certainly be useful for the students in the future.
“Exploring business activities and getting to know the Pupesoft enterprise resource planning system will definitely look great in our CVs and it will give us an advantage when looking for work,” Kristiina and Jenna say.
The cooperation of TAMK and SprintIT has been active for over four years and includes hosting, user help and presentations of the Pupesoft Software.
TAMK – higher education for working life www.tamk.fi