Social and economic impacts of open education

Lane, Andrew (2013). Social and economic impacts of open education. In: Meiszner, Andreas; Squires, Lin and Husmann, Elmar eds. Openness and Education. Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning (1). Bingley: Emerald Publishing, pp. 137–172.



This chapter outlines some theoretical, historical and analytical themes covering national, trans-national and international trends in open education. It starts by looking at the social, economic and political drivers for education systems in general, and how openness has been used to widen access through attacking the iron triangle of education: access, quality and cost (open as a door). It then looks at the more recent technological and ideological developments that have aided openness (open as a book); including the central role that open licensing of digital materials (open as a right) has played in changing the social and economic drivers of education and in particular open educational resources. Next, it looks at the importance of open innovation, social innovation and communities of practice for open education (open as a relationship), and includes a comparison between the development of open source software and the development of open educational resources. It goes on to consider the impacts of all these on national and international policy (open as a border) before reviewing the social and economic role of open education from the perspectives of lifelong learners, students, educational institutions and educational publishers (open for business in the future). The chapter concludes by forecasting possible trends in open education for the next 15 years.

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