I’ve been a part of a several online discussions lately about “open learning” and OER. It’s increasingly apparent to me that these are two very different things and that there may not be as much overlap as I once thought. (I have often maintained that OER, even when used in conventional ways, leads to open learning.)

Another realization is that while open learning seems to be picking up steam (e.g. Connected Educator activities, Connected Learning, etc.), OER seems to be of less  interest. I wonder if OER is too cutting edge for mainstream educators who are risk adverse and not innovative enough for those on the leading edge.

Here’s an interesting exchange on this:

oer

When did OER become equated with blackline masters?? I could elaborate on how OER spans many media and can be used for the most innovative learning imaginable, but the perception here that OER is the same old-same old is what is important (and this comment comes from an innovative educator who I greatly respect).

Particularly in K-12, where there is no one “buyer” who might be attracted to the cost savings (the purchasing morass of the educational-industrial complex in K-12 leaves no one feeling the immediate benefits of savings), this leaves OER in a tenuous spot.

And so, as I periodically do, I wonder if OER is a solution looking for a problem in K-12. (Note: The online learning space is a notable exception to this.)

This also reminds me of an activity we did at an OER advocates meeting during which everyone shared a particularly memorable and meaningful learning experience they’d had. As participants shared out, it struck me that not one story involved instructional resources or materials; instead they all revolved around community and relationships.

OER and open learning
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