IET Technology Coffee Morning: Open Learning Network-the evidence of OER impact

5 July 2011
Jennie Lee Building Meeting Room 1 Ground Floor

Cloudscape created by:

Lynda Davies
4 March 2011

Open Educational Resources (OER) are an important indicator for the future direction of education and learning systems. Work on producing the resources themselves has now led to greater focus on the way in which they can influence policy and change the way in which educational systems help people learn.

The Open University UK and Carnegie Mellon University are now working in partnership on the OLnet (Open Learning Network), which is a three-year project funded from March 2009 to February 2012 by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OLnet aims to search out the evidence for use and reuse of Open Education Resources and to establish a network for information sharing about research in the field. This means gathering evidence and developing methods for how to research and understand ways to learn in a more open world, particularly linked to OER, but also looking at other influences.

The driving research question for OLnet is to locate what is perceived to be the next evolutionary step in the OER movement, ie:
How can we build a robust evidence base to support and enhance the design, evaluation and use of OERs?

This high-level question is refined into three sub-issues:

1. How can we improve the process of OER reuse/design, delivery, evaluation and
    data analysis?

2, How can we make the associated design processes and products more easily

3. How can we build a socio-technical infrastructure to serve as a collective evolving
    intelligence for the community?

Patrick McAndrew, co-director of OLnet, and Karen Cropper, Project and Liaison Manager for OLnet, will summarise the strands of research within the project, the evidence to date and proof points, and outline the plans for the rest of the project. Current goals for the project, and the findings so far will be explained outlining how OLnet links messages about the direction for OER use to the evidence and experiments that support lessons we are learning.

1. Goal: Find evidence to support OER policy
     Lesson: There has been a change in emphasis from “OER as an end in itself” to
    “OER as a means to an end” to support changes in educational systems.

2. Goal: Understand how institutions and society can adopt OER
     Lesson:  OER bring a range of benefits but need to find a fit with how education is
     applied, by disaggregating operation into content and other aspects new pportunities
     can be found

3. Goal: Provide design support for OER
     Lesson: Opening up resources also means that there are accessible open designs,
     and content that can be reshaped to fit alternative designs

4. Goal: Show how free resources work for learning
     Lesson: There are several different models for the way that learners engage with

5. Goal: Build an infrastructure that works - demonstrating uses of existing tools and 
     developing new ones
     Lesson: OER are becoming integrated with other “free” resources, the tools that
     support this mixing are still to mature.

6. Goal: Understand what transfers across context
     Lesson: The openness in OER can help break down the barriers between cultural
     and educational contexts.

OLnet reports on evidence for use, reuse, impact and scale of OER and explores the plans to share our research

Presenters: Dr Patrick McAndrew and Karen Cropper (IET)

Date: 6 July 2011

YouTube Link to recording:

"Podcast of events"

Location: Jennie Lee Building Meeting Room 1 Ground Floor

Link to TCM 2011 Schedule: