Lane, Andy and McAndrew, Patrick
Are open educational resources systematic or systemic change agents for teaching practice?
British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(6)
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Open educational resources (OER) raise many similar issues for education to those that have surrounded Learning Objects (LO). However the greater use and availability of digital technologies and open licensing seems to be enabling OER to have wider acceptance into individual and institutional teaching practice. While the need for appropriate design in teaching and learning on the part of educators, which was the primary driver of developments in LO, remains, the very openness of OER is changing the relationships between educators, learners and content (resources) and is becoming a primary agent of change. Experience in OpenLearn, a major initiative to provide OER from The Open University, indicates that some of these changes can be planned for while others will emerge as releasing content openly imposes evolutionary pressures that accelerate change and work around barriers. Development can then be driven by learner expectations of the technology and needs for informal life-long learning that in turn impact on how content is being designed and openly presented. It is argued that this represents a shift from a teacher-centric, systematic model of change in teaching practices as embodied in earlier ideas about LO to a learner-centric, systemic model of change as embodied in OER.
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