OER Research Hub Data 2013-2015: Formal Learners

de los Arcos, Beatriz; Farrow, Robert; Pitt, Rebecca; Perryman, Leigh-Anne; Weller, Martin and McAndrew, Patrick (2015). OER Research Hub Data 2013-2015: Formal Learners. Open Education Research Hub.


In 2013 the Hewlett-funded OER Research Hub Project created a bank of survey questions to test eleven hypotheses related to the impact of OER use on teaching and learning. In the two years that followed, a number of bespoke surveys were designed and administered in collaboration with the Flipped Learning Network, Vital Signs, the Community Colleges Consortium for Open Educational Resources, OpenLearn, Saylor Academy, OpenStax, BCcampus, Siyavula, School of Open-P2PU and CoPILOT. Responses from each survey were then combined into a larger dataset to allow for comparison and in-depth examination. The final dataset is comprised of 7,498 cases –44.4% informal learners, 28.4% formal learners, 24.3% educators and 2.9% librarians.

The current report, second in a series of three, presents a frequencies analysis of responses from formal learners, i.e. those learners registered on a course of study at an educational institution.

Some key findings: Cost (88%) and ease of access (79%) are the most important factors influencing formal learners’ decision to use OER; 32% of formal learners say that their use of open content influenced their decision to register for their course of study; Biggest impact of OER use not on grades but on increased interest in the subject, satisfaction with the learning experience and enthusiasm for future study; Relevance, reputation and clear learning objectives guide formal learners’ selection of OER; Discoverability of resources is a barrier to OER adoption by formal learners.

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