Things that don't work/OLnet antiPatterns

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Doug Clow
2 July 2009

During the OLnet away day, there were several mentions of things that didn't work so well - so I've captured some of those for posterity.  You could call them "things that don't work", or "antiPatterns", but the positive spin is to call them "opportunities for the OER community"!

- If learners are coming to OER outside of a formal learning context, it's hard to give them ways to do collaborative learning, because you need a cohort (or at least a virtual one).  Possible solutions: SocialLearn. Create cohorts across space on e.g. the 'collective taxi' model ('course' starts when enough people have shown up).  Create cohorts across time by e.g. showing traces of where other learners have been/what they've done. (e.g. Open Learn 'other learners who studied this also studied ...')

- Automatic tracking/tracing of OER usage is hard, particularly because of interoperability problems. Possible solutions: Sample real-world teaching to see if you can mine any OER that went in to them.

- Level problem: it's hard to give guidance on OER of the right level, since there's no human/system to suss out what the learner already knows and teach appropriately.Possible solutions: TENcompetence stuff started activity in this area but didn't produce a finished model/tool.

- Hardly anyone does the heavyweight full-on remix-resubmit work on OERs. Possible solutions: Don't worry about it, it's a standard power-law thing. Don't worry about it, enough people are doing that - whether because of intrinsic motivation or because they're paid to - to build enough resource.  Don't worry about it: Web 2.0 shows that simple is better anyway.


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