Learning episodes collected by our dashboard will be made of “Open Educational Resources”. In this article, I explore the rise of Open Educational Resources in the context of training and education.

For more than ten years, the international movement of Open Education has flourished around the world. According to this movement, educational resources must be used freely in order to improve them collectively for the benefit of humankind.

According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, “Open Educational Resources ( OERs) are teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property licence that permits their free use and repurposing by others “. Concretely speaking, these OERs are pedagogical content such as websites, simulators, images, videos, audio files, text files and so on which can be used, reused or readapted.

According to their proponents, Open educational resources contributes to modernize traditional models of teaching and learning by giving to trainers and teachers but also citizens access to a vast quantity of educational resources.

There are basically three fundamental advantages to make use of open educational resources. These are: improving the quality of resources, encouraging experimentation of new pedagogical practices and reducing the cost of resource development. Let me explain in more details these three points.

First, because most OERs are reusable, they could be redesign by anyone in order to fit a particular training context. By doing so, these resources are continually improved in terms of quality. This process of continuing improvement of pedagogical resources is very close to the one which appears in the field of scientific research where new knowledge are built from old knowledge.

Second, the fact citizen have access to a large variety of open educational resources means that they are encouraged to experiment new pedagogical practices.

Third, the use of open educational resources reduce the time dedicated for developing educational resources. By doing so, open educational resources contribute to decrease the cost of development of learning material.

In 2015, the OEDC published a report entitled “Open Educational Resources. A catalyst for innovation” in which the international organization presented main measures policy makers should adopt in order to improve teaching and learning through the use of Open Educational Resources.

You will find hereafter some of these specific measures preconized by OEDC:

1°. Establish repositories and support the provision of open licence materials

More precisely, OEDC asks for the following policies measures:

  • Providing direct funding for new educational materials, which should have the characteristics of OER.
  • Setting a regulation that all publically funded materials should be OER by default.
  • Modifying current legislation related to OER in order to make them OER.

2°. Establish new communities of practices within the teaching body to encourage OER production and use. More precisely, OEDC asks for the following measures:

  • Make working with OER an important element in teacher training programmes. This should encompass both initial teacher training and specific modules on producing and working with OER as part of ongoing professional teacher training.
  • Provide intensive training to a small number of teachers and instructors on how to get the best out of OER and then set up a system that enables this knowledge to cascade into other teachers’ and instructors’ practice.
  • Set up a national competency centre that offers a central place for advice and training to teachers and instructors.
  • Launch an information campaign and release guidelines that encourage teachers and instructors to use OER in their teaching provision and, in necessary, change regulations to make this possible.

 

3°. Change the framework conditions of formal educational settings by modifying rules, promoting new tools and reassigning the division of labour.

The OEDC asks for both a bottom-up and a top-down approach. In terms of bottom-up approach, the OEDC recommends the support of local initiatives take by teachers and trainers. While top-down initiative means direct interventions of public bodies.

4°. Promote the provision of more research on how OER are produced and used in certain contexts and by certain actors in the education system ( teachers, learners and prosumers)

The OEDC recommends the assessment of projects related to OER and funded by public money