SAT: Overcoming Barriers to the Implementation of OER in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) through Using Flipped Learning for Teacher Development Sessions (Castle)
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28 December 2014
Creators of content for open educational resources (OER) often become mired in the fog of their design. They may deem themselves innovative and consider all manner of inclusion. However, a vital component is often overlooked, the effect of the resource on the end-user. Designs often imposed from a top-down point of view can stall at the point of implementation. Experience shows difficulties generally arise in three categories:
- Resentment from lack of consultation with end-users.
- (Assumed) Aversion, i.e. any new process or change to way of working creates a heavier workload (when in truth, it is often the opposite).
- Lack of faith due to the introduction of previous technological innovations not being as effective as originally planned. End-users discover ways to circumvent procedures to suit their requirements, possibly an innovation in itself.
A way of overcoming this situation is by involving end-users from the inception of the OER, using them as consultants, eliciting their critical analysis and advice on inclusion and how they would best use the end-product. This process indicates any potential difficulties and gives the opportunity to rethink the design.
OERs can be useful in an English as a foreign language (EFL) context and the artefact (a conference paper) is a case study in using a specific form of OER relating to the methodology of flipped learning. Flipped learning is part of a project to increase technology enhanced language learning (TELL) within the EFL environment. To overcome the initial resistance to a new process and to increase awareness of OERs a number of teacher development sessions are being delivered using this method.
A number of different sources have been drawn on including past academic papers , podcasts and videos relating to flipped learning, (the Khan academy for example) together with comments from colleagues online and within the EFL environment.
Due to the small number of staff involved in this project, data was collected in the form of formal/informal interviews (some interviews formed part of an appraisal process and the teachers’ reflections on their perceived need (or not) for a personal development plan (PDP) in the particular stage of their career. Fortunately a majority of staff saw this as assisting their development, the minority had rather fixed attitudes and enforcing the policy would encourage the resentment effect. As Janssen et al (2013) comment, citing Fullan (2001) and also Maurer (2002) that ‘implementing a new policy or approach does not automatically mean that teachers act in the same way as management intended'
The case study will look at the steps from innovation to implementation, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the resources mentioned, where any drawbacks might occur, together with examining whether utilising end-users through the whole process is beneficial in whole or in part.