Bridging the gap between OER initiative objectives and OER user needs in higher education
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by A Hanna, Denise WoodDenise Wood
The Open educational resources (OER) movement is a new phenomenon in the field of education. Increasing use of Web 2.0 technologies along with growing competition between educational institutions have accelerated interest in the potential of such ‘open’ educational resources. Some educational institutions have made their learning resources available online for learners for the purpose of encouraging knowledge sharing and improving effectiveness of teaching and learning. Furthermore, some community organisations are also hosting and supporting OERs. However, at least some reports from educational institutions indicate that the motivation behind this move to OERs might be driven more by a desire to enhance their reputation and attract new students to their programs, rather than the promotion of OERs. This paper presents the findings of a content analysis of a sample of OER websites undertaken to identify whether ‘Net Gen’ learner needs are adequately addressed by current OER initiatives. The findings suggest that although many educational institutions state that their OERs allow learners to share knowledge and extend critical thinking and interactivity, the OER community organisation sites reviewed appear to be offering learners greater opportunities for online interaction, critical thinking, and reflective learning practices than the formal educational institutions reviewed. The findings of the content analysis also suggest that OER initiatives do not necessarily meet learners/users’ needs. The findings from this analysis are discussed and the implications for future uptake of OERs as a strategy for supporting widening access to education in response to the changing needs of learners are explored.