15.12.17 Esseen kirjoittaja: Lilja Harala
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Kategoriat: Globaali yrittäjyys, In English, Oppiva organisaatio

Team entrepreneur Lilja Harala, Team entrepreneur Anton Klemola


Experiences are an undervalued way to learn. Our team took the bull by the horns to experience the learning climate and international relations of Veliko Tarnovo. We are thankful for our audiences’ curiosity towards our experiences in  team learning. We were impressed by the history and the people we met so therefore we believe Veliko Tarnovo will also impress the rest of the world.


Picture: Motive 2.0 team entrepreneurs at the crossroads of history and storytelling in the fortress of Tsavarets.


Seems that history deepens the experience of every attraction.  We started our first day at Veliko Tarnovo by visiting Tsarevets Fortress. We thought it was a wonderful way to learn history, almost in practice. Veliko Tarnovo has a good appearance. We found out that the city is old-fashioned and stagnant while as modernly developed and presentable. One of its biggest attractions seems to be the city’s atmosphere: welcoming, historical and compelling.


Before our departure we did some research on  the city. We realized that Veliko Tarnovo has a long and colourful history. Our country, Finland, has never  been a great kingdom; most of our time we have been uncivilised people ruled by other kingdoms. Only very recently in 1917 we gained independency and we voted for our first president in 1919. During our relatively short 100-years of independence, we have had a civil war and three wars during the Second World War. Because of this we were impressed by the astonishing history that Bulgaria and Veliko Tarnovo region has.


When our small group started planning our trip together we asked for contacts from our International team in our entrepreneurship department Proakatemia. We found teachers from the University of Veliko Tarnovo who had met with our International team. From the beginning, e-mail correspondence with the VTU staff was warm and welcoming. Apart from this, we had never heard of Veliko Tarnovo before.


The key is to entice  the tourists to Bulgaria and to Veliko Tarnovo. After their arrival people are very likely to enjoy the city’s atmosphere. Does the city want to attract more tourists or entrepreneurs? Branding the city more would help to attract both. We think Veliko Tarnovo has great potential to grow in the near future and become  a business-friendly environment with a strong and vibrant local history. The municipality can help businesses to flourish by making proceedings and public functions well-functioning and by giving support to beginner entrepreneurs.  


Easy transportation and reachability are important for tourists’, and therefore also for business development. We came from Sofia to Veliko Tarnovo by bus. At the bus station we encountered a problem with the taxi drivers: no taxi would take us to our accommodation in Old Town. Apparently the problem was the narrow streets with cobblestones. Luckily most places in the city are within walking-distance, so we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go after our arrival. Convenient transport from the airport to the city would attract more people like ourselves, tourists and businesses.




The team learning model is in use in some Finnish universities, including our own Tampere University of Applied Sciences. With this in mind, we thought we could share and compare our experiences about team learning studies and entrepreneurship together. We were impressed by the participants’ curiosity towards our study experiences. It was a pleasure to give them a glimpse of our team learning studies. The team learning model is not the preferred teaching method in higher education studies, because it isn’t suitable for every field of study. However, it might be beneficial to use aspects of team learning in any field of study. For example Problem Based Learning is used in Tampere Universities for Medicine, Nursing and Physiotherapy to develop knowledge acquisition, group collaboration and working in a team. We have been noticing that there is a growing interest in team learning worldwide. We regularly have visitors from abroad in our entrepreneur department Proakatemia who come to seek inspiration for their work environment.


Transitioning towards involving more student-centered learning experiences in teaching is not easy. How could the transition be made easier? One way to get students to feel more involved is to increase the amount of group work. It challenges students to work together, despite different personalities and views. Naturally some groups co-operate much better than others, but every experience improves teamwork skills. Mistakes are a natural part of learning. To be able to take risks or admit mistakes, the environment must be safe and the study climate trustworthy.  


Reflecting helps to give meaning to experiences. This makes it possible to plan and develop skills for future actions by learning from successes and mistakes. Reflecting is also easy to adapt to daily studies. Feedback is most effective when given regularly. It provides opportunities for personal growth and increased group coherence. To collect feedback, teachers or students can have short reflection sessions together after lessons or group work. SWOT analysis and the Motorola model are examples of useful reflecting tools.


Mistakes aren’t often thought to be the wonderful learning opportunity that they actually are. To start to consider mistakes as valuable lessons begins with changing the general atmosphere towards honesty and openness. Honesty will improve one’s ability to admit mistakes. After realizing a mistake, it can be reflected upon from different points of view. For example, these four questions from the Motorola model are an effective way to comprehend learning and mistakes during the process

  1. What went well?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. What did I learn?
  4. What will I practice later?


After profound consideration one is more likely not to make same mistakes again. Openness in a study climate enables the sharing of gained knowledge for others or reflecting on the process together. Openness gives others a way to avoid the same mistakes, and a chance to learn from others’ mistakes. Being courageous in an open atmosphere means exposing one’s point of view to others’ and showing vulnerability.


Learning from mistakes is a powerful, yet under exploited source for valuable lessons. We have rehearsed this skill in our studies, but still speaking about mistakes is difficult. It is a big challenge to admit and tell others about your mistakes. Some of the difficulty is because traditionally only accomplishments are rewarded. In education, accomplishments are rewarded with high grades and low grades are seen as a failure. How many students reflect on why they received their low grade? This is the spot for learning from mistakes. Maybe the reason for a low grade was that one didn’t study enough or one’s studying techniques are inadequate and need improvement. We have recognized that experiences are an influential way to gain competence. Projects are a way to challenge one’s skills and competence.


Alternative ways to test competence are projects and team business challenges such as Hackathon. Such Hackathon events are organised worldwide for 1-7 days. At Hackathon events a group of people innovate different solutions for a given task. They are also social events where team members share their abilities to their teams’ advantage. Projects and challenges can be built to test different abilities such as innovation, marketing or selling skills. Challenges and projects test how well a team can achieve common goals.


It is amazing how far you can get with an encouraging team. For us our team learning studies has taught us to chase our dreams and work for a team selflessly. It also led us to Bulgaria. Thanks to team learning, as individuals we have discovered our true interests, strengths and potential. Team and study community will be a valuable network in work-life. We experienced kindness, curiosity and professionality that made us feel like we have a small network in Veliko Tarnovo. We hope you keep on evolving economic studies and entrepreneurship in Veliko Tarnovo.


We want to thank Professor Vanya Tsonkova,

Professor Veneta Hristova,

Erasmus tutor Mariela Semova,

Erasmus tutor Teodora Zheleva,

University of Veliko Tarnovo and

the city of Veliko Tarnovo

for co-operation and moments with us on behalf of our team company Motive osk.  

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