The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems
Ranked among the world’s best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
Linköping University is one of Sweden’s largest universities, consistently placing as a leading university in global rankings. It’s also home to a world-leading research environment for topics relevant to all of society, such as sustainability, materials science, and security.
With campuses in the southern Swedish cities of Linköping and Norrköping, the university and its reputation attract students from all over the globe. Each year around 27,000 national and international students enrol for both undergraduate study at the university and for its 25 master’s programmes that are taught entirely in English.
LiU’s interdisciplinary approach to education and research arms students with the knowledge and skills they need to solve the problems we are facing today and in the future. It also helps graduates to hit the ground running in professions like teaching, medicine, and engineering -- making them among the most desirable in the labour market.
One practical way LiU prepares its graduates for life after university is through Problem-based learning (PBL), an innovative method in which students tackle real problems to aid their learning of concepts.
It’s a technique second-year Experimental and Medical Biosciences master’s student Karolos Douvlataniotis uses regularly as part of his programme. He explains that the students are divided into groups and presented with a problem for which they must find a solution together.
“We’re given a problem or scenario, for example, a viral infection, and then we discuss what we think is important and prepare an answer. Afterwards, all the groups discuss our answers.”
It’s a technique Karolos believes will really help him in the future, when he plans to enter the research field.
“I think it’s a very good method because you actually have to do your own preparation. You also have to be very focused! It definitely gets you ready to go into research.”
And that’s exactly what Karolos’ two-year master’s programme is designed to do: prepare students for a career in the life sciences field. The full-time course is taught at the university’s hospital campus alongside laboratory and hospital staff, so students get daily insight into life in a professional research environment.
This combination of studying, PBL, and daily exposure to a working laboratory ensures that by the time Karolos graduates, he’ll be prepared for whatever his future career throws at him.
“Studying at Linköping will absolutely help me get where I want to be. It’s giving us the experience we need to go straight into work.”
PBL is a method that 22-year-old Linda Johansson, now a second-year master’s student in Sustainable Development, used throughout her undergraduate degree. She agrees with Karolos that it’s effective and offers broader insight into problem-solving.
“It’s a really good way to learn because people solve problems in different ways,” she explains.
“It creates a good discussion and you learn more because you get different ways of solving a problem.”
Linda’s department also uses another innovative technique favoured by the university; visualisation.
The technique helps to make complex data and teachings more understandable through easy-to-comprehend images, maps, and diagrams.
It’s a modern technique Linda believes helps raise awareness about pressing issues surrounding sustainability and climate change.
“Climate change can be quite complex and hard to understand because there are so many different areas involved. By using visualisation tools, like a movie or a game that people play to understand climate adaption in a city, it helps them to gain an understanding of a difficult issue.”
She believes it also has the power to communicate in simpler terms what the average person can do about climate change. Once more people are aware of what they can do individually, she says society as a whole will be better equipped to tackle the issue.
“I think many people think climate change is so big and so complex they can’t do anything about it. Visualisation helps people to understand climate change and see that actually small actions, like sorting out your waste for example, really make a difference on the whole.”
If you want to study for your master’s degree and simultaneously tackle the challenges the world is facing, Linköping University might be the right environment for you. The university offers 25 master’s programmes in five different subject areas, which you can learn more about on its website.
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Linköping University.
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