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Merja Bauters

Research Professor of Digital Transformation and Lifelong Learning

Merja Bauters is a research professor in digital transformation and lifelong learning at School of Digital Technologies, Tallinn University and a docent of semiotics in the University of Helsinki. Bauters has been involved and executed research, planned and guided co-design, participatory and design thinking processes in multiple EU- and national projects, on learning and technology-enhanced learning.
The main projects are the following: Learning Layers (FP7 IST), Erasmus+ project, DesignIT, IlluminatED and Spotlighters; Creating Knowledge Through Design & Conceptual Innovation LLP – ERASMUS, KP-Lab (FP6 IST/TEL), COOP PBL in VET (LLP/LdV), NetPro (LLP/LdV).

Bauters has been lecturing in over 30 different courses on design, design methods, semiotics and project communication. She was a president, UMWEB International association of semiotics and publishing house 2003–2010. She received her PhD from the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki 2007, discussing Charles Peirce thoughts on interpretation.


AI in Learning at Workplaces Ethical Consideration – Explainability? 

Algorithmic systems are provided for various learning activities in companies, but do the providers, managers and workers know what the system is based on, what data it uses, and how. One solution suggested is explainability of the algorithmic systems. In the talk examples of challenges are presented between providers and users in workplaces. Explainability is discussed as the solution, is it? Or not?


AI as a partner in learning

  • November 23, 2021 at 12:00
  • Tallinn University, Narva mnt 25, Tallinn, Estonia


Algorithmic systems (often plainly called AI) are already used in various commonplaces, which we do not even think that much, such as email systems, Microsoft Word office package, etc).

However, when it is implemented into workplaces to support and enhance workers learning, development and skill upscaling do we know what it means? What data the system will use, for what and how? Is it used ethically or does it have implicit other kinds of aims, for instance, ranking workers, or providing them more options for self-development?

We have found many questions that were sketchy such as:

  • which data is used,
  • how it is processed,
  • what is interpreted from the data a
  • users/learners actions, what attitudes and wishes the learners and the company have on the algorithmic systems.

In this workshop, we collect examples from the participants on their experiences of algorithm systems (AI) used for learning in companies, what attitudes, and wishes the learners have on them. Work happens in teams.

After teamwork, we discuss the attitudes, feelings and experiences, potential biases we might be able to spot, try to find solutions to tips we find concerning.

What topics are covered

• Algorithmic systems’ problematic issues from previous projects
• Explainability, in brief, instances that try to create rules for it
• Ethics – what ethics could mean in this context

Who is it for

All who are interested in algorithmic systems (AI) used in companies to train people, upscale skills, learn new tasks etc.

The workshop draws from Helsinki University project AI in Learning from where we have a vision Research Fellow Päivi Kousa and work of a PhD student Marwa Soudi topic Explainable AI.

What tools/software do you need

If the workshop is online: we need Miro, breakout rooms and all emoji symbols active for immediate feedback on chat. If it is a physical event then we need a brown paper roll, post-its pens and stickers and a cosy room. In both cases, I also need online access because I will have two assistants Juri Mets, a junior researcher from TLU and Marwa Soudi Co-founder and Project Coordinator at Edtest Estonia (Marwa will attend from distance).

What will you learn

How explainability may help to understand what the algorithmic systems do
What your attitudes and potential biases are and how to take them into account in learning and work
What should be taken into account from the ethics perspective

Why participate

To be prepared for the future with AI and make a difference in what direction it will go.

The workshop duration is 4 h

180 €€

219.6€ with VAT

Buy now