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Refining skills in service and staff design

Published on 12.3.2019
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
What has consumer- and customer-oriented service design to offer for higher education institutions? What is service design about?

Service and staff design stand for agile development and proactive methods, which also well suit our higher education institutions. They include a strong personal psychological and pedagogical way of thinking. At the same time when the higher education institution develops and refines its education services, products and learning experiences in a student and staff oriented way, its service processes become more effective and fluent. Service and staff design aim at better results and quality when meaningful customer and staff experiences are immediately taken into consideration. Students are not just numbers and teachers are not just expenses but both represent unique intelligent and emotional potential.

“Educationists have made starting-level measurements, individual study plans and study paths for students. They have analysed learning styles, motives and qualifications. Skilful student counsellors, teachers and researchers have always recognised students’ challenges and needs. They have shown optional directions for studies and found different talents when students have written their essays, worked in small groups and sat in mass lectures,” Principal Lecturer Vesa Heikkinen describes.

Service design starts from identifying customers. Nowadays it is a popular continuing education theme in many enterprises.

“In the education, participants identify customers and their roles. They analyse when customers are residents, users, knowledge workers, patients, students, tourists, guests, members or fans. Paths are drawn from customers’ homes to service and brand oases and back,” Heikkinen tells.

Service design is also suitable for developing higher education services. TAMK used the method in developing a digital HEI application.

“The need analysis for first-year students was easy as for example curricula, completed courses, rental flat markets, bus timetables, banking services and health care were connected to the application. For mobile master’s degree courses we developed visual learning and project assignments, theoretical theses and problem settings, social education media and instant feedback. We also analysed young people’s clictivism, ie how students finger their mobile phones and stay on each site. The next step is to analyse how artificial intelligence and data mining can be used to follow students’ information network paths,” Heikkinen tells.

Staff design refines skills

Staff design is not a new topic for staff developers as teams, work assignments, competences and abilities are always refined in relation to occupational requirements and changes. In staff design it is essential to first evaluate the needed professional competences and technology, such as software and artificial intelligence, and thereafter refine microcompetences.

“For service business and business administration students, the most typical staff design targets are eg front desks, car parks, shops, meeting and waiting rooms, hotel rooms and restaurants. Used learning examples include centres, such as large events and markets where customers swarm between brands, shelves and products,” Heikkinen describes.

Universities of applied sciences’ teacher education units are researching and developing higher education pedagogy in the KOPE project. One of the most important themes of TAMK’s professional teacher education is how working life competences change and how all higher education institutions and teachers should take dynamic competence changes into consideration in their curricula.


Further information:
Principal Lecturer Vesa Heikkinen, TAMK, Degree Programme in Service Business, tel. 040 706 6236, vesa.heikkinen [at] (vesa[dot]heikkinen[at]tuni[dot]fi)