Please introduce yourself and where you work.

I’m Olli from Oulu and I am the founder and CEO of Kokoa Standard. Kokoa Standard is a science-based service for evaluating the efficacy of learning products.

What about education or edtech do you think is: a) overlooked b) gets too little attention?

In my opinion educational research is overlooked. People debate about whether technology should be used in learning, is screen time bad for children or do future generations still read books. We find all kinds of scary scenarios related to tech and learning and base our thinking on assumptions and false beliefs. We should look at the educational research findings – explaining how people learn – and base our decisions related on education and technology on that.

Teachers’ low salary levels in a global scale. In many countries people don’t want to become teachers because the salary is not big enough compared to how challenging job being a teacher is. Naturally, this leads to not having the best possible talent educating the future generations and that’s a huge disadvantage for the whole society.

What’s the biggest learning-related challenge you have had at work? How have you approached/solved the challenge?

How to lead a team with different personalities. I’ve found one solution for this just recently. We evaluated a great game called Viking Theories, which provides a gamified way to simulate the team leading challenges you have at work. Now I’m practicing the team leading challenges in the game, get a load of inspiration and new ideas and can test different solutions in a fun simulation before executing them in real life. This is a great way of using EdTech! One of the innovators behind this game is Seppo Sairanen who is the founder of the successful FIM investment bank.

One important theme in learning is assessment and how it should be done. What’s your take on it? When and how should assessments be used in your opinion?

Assessment should be continuous, personal, encouraging, focused and constructive. It should guide the learner to self-reflection and guide the learning process in the direction of clear and understandable learning goals. I think the use of pedagogically designed technology has a lot to give in improving the ways of assessing learning.

What is the biggest learning related challenge to solve in the next five years? Do we have the tools to solve it?

One big challenge is to ensure that the education that we provide in schools can meet the talent requirements that arise from the work life. Coding is a great example of a skill that is probably best to practice on your own instead of applying to a university, if you want to effectively adopt the right skills for landing a good job. I think commercial companies and technology will solve the issue.

What can the world learn from Finnish learning expertise in solving future challenges? And what can Finnish education learn from others?

Providing lot of autonomy for teachers, avoiding standardised testing and paying big enough salaries for teachers is probably something that Finland does well. Finland has a lot to learn from others especially in the higher education field. Providing better resources for higher education is probably the biggest take on we can learn from other countries.

If you had a magic wand that could make everyone learn 3 skills, what would those skills be? Why?

  1. Ability to be honest: Being honest and true to yourself is the key to finding the right path in life. Being honest to others ensures that people around you will support you on your path.
  2. Respecting everyone: all human relationships are built upon respect.
  3. Learning to learn: Ability to learn is the most needed survival skill in modern society.


Olli Vallo

Olli Vallo is the CEO and Founder Kokoa Standard. Kokoa Standard is a science-based service for evaluating the efficacy of learning products.

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