Towards an intelligent decision support system in adult education

Foredata Ltd. has been a partner in EduMAP research project from day one. Our aim is to develop a prototype of Intelligent Decision Support System, IDSS for adult education. How about that! One of the main focuses is to promote active participatory citizenship by adult education and we are dealing with the case of vulnerable young adults in Europe.

Any challenges yet? Well, yes. We have been forced to solve many types of challenges while outlining the prototype. For instance, we have pondered who is the user that might benefit the most from using the IDSS? Or, is he/she the one who will actually use the system in the future? Also, we have thought about the situations of decision making, what are they like? A simplified example would be an education provider who is about to start an educational event.

A majority of the challenges are linked to the accessibility of data and the data itself. What sort of data there is now available and what sort of data is needed in the future with the ready-made IDSS? Is there any help from Labour Force Survey? Should we try to acquire local data or EU wide? If Finnish data is used with the prototype, should we try to enrich it with data from our neighboring countries? Can we make the prototype work with simulated data? Does that introduce any new challenges when using the final version of IDSS with actual data? Would the future actual data be based on statistics or registers? Or should we take both?

At the moment we have decided to build the prototype on simulated data, which is based on Finnish Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data FLEED1 provided by Statistics Finland. In the dataset, we look at the group of 16 to 30-year-olds, which is the focus of the whole project.

The current phase of the IDSS prototype is not yet public. However, the prototype recognizes vulnerable young adults by region, by sex, by age etc. for the needs of the future end user, the education provider/policymaker. The end user is therefore helped to make tailored decisions that have an impact on people in demand of help.

With all these challenges, we’re still sure we haven’t seen all of them yet. The EduMAP project ends in January 2019 which is also the end for developing the prototype. Honing and polishing the prototype will lead us to new challenges but by solving them new ideas are born. And that is the way, which will lead the whole research project even further.  Stay tuned to hear all we accomplish within the project!

Mikael Andolin, Foredata