In 2001, students at Lappeenranta University of Technology signalled a need for additional support in large courses with mass attendance. One lecturer and two students at the university decided to meet the challenge. Master of Science in Technology, M.Sc. (Tech.) Mika Lackman, who became the sparring partner for the project, saw the potential in the idea and offered the students tools and facilities for the development of a new kind of learning tool.
Student support 24 by 7
Viope specialises in the development of online tools and course implementation for upper secondary and university students. Its technology supports the study of mathematics, programming, chemistry, physics and other natural sciences. Realtime feedback from students is one of the key features of the learning tool.
"Several studies have shown that learning outcomes improve markedly when support provided by teachers is combined with that of machines. The online service eases the teacher's work while enabling a more in-depth approach to teaching. It also provides teachers with an array of statistics which can be used to monitor whether a student is repeating the same mistakes in exercises. This allows teachers to intervene in problem areas immediately," says Lackman, the CEO of Viope.
Cooperation between Tekes and educational institutions turned the idea into a product
As a participant in the Tekes Learning Solutions programme, Viope focused on technical development. At that time, the tool was trialled in teaching work alongside the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Viope's subsequent major Tekes project focused on product development.
"When Viope was founded, our main focus was on the teaching of programming. Through the Tekes project, we developed the same model for maths and can now support maths and the related subjects as well," explains a delighted Lackman. In addition, the latest project included a trial tool for electronic course exams. This was adopted in the autumn of 2014 and will make a big splash in the markets in the spring of 2015.
"We are now surrounded by a network of educational institutions which provide us with invaluable information on the needs of teachers and students. On the basis of the latest project, secondary and upper secondary institutions also became users, whereas only universities and universities of applied sciences were previously covered. This would never have succeeded without Tekes," Lackman points out.
First steps towards internationalisation in Vietnam
Viope is currently planning moves towards internationalisation. Most of its customers are domestic, but it has already taken the first steps towards setting up overseas.
"We are developing our services in Finland, but are looking towards having our key markets elsewhere. I believe that Viope will become a major education exporter. For example, last autumn Viope concluded a major cooperation agreement in Vietnam. There is huge potential in that country," affirms Lackman.
For further information, please contact
CEO Mika Lackman
Tel. +358 500 137 884