In May 2015 Nina Hood and I finalised the outputs of WP1 of the Erasmus Mundus ExplOERer project The WP examined how adult educators across Europe learn open educational practice. Quantitative (521 responses) and qualitative (30 interviews) data were gathered, analysed and structured as guidelines to inform the design and facilitation of professional learning opportunities to support educators in building new learning practices around OER. The full report will be available from the ExplOERer site. In brief the six guidelines are:
1 Learning should include a range of theoretical knowledge of OER.
Theoretical knowledge relevant to OER engagement would incorporate: licensing and legal frameworks; technical and hosting; quality assessment; locating OER; adaption and repurposing of OER; pedagogies of OER employment. As educators with different levels of expertise and experience with OER require different theoretical knowledge, learning opportunities should be differentiated.
2 Learning should include discipline specific theoretical knowledge of OER.
Expertise development is enhanced and knowledge is more readily assimilated and internalised when it is easily translatable to the contexts in which it will be utilised. For educators to achieve the highest levels of OER engagement, where their actions and learning are embedded within their practice, it is necessary for them to have developed knowledge and expertise that is specific to and situated within the personal settings and contexts of their work.
3 Educators need the opportunity to develop the experiential and practical knowledge and skills that will enable them to actually engage with OER in their practice.
Educators are more likely to learn about and use OER when they are connected to and embedded within their day-to-day work tasks. Practical knowledge is necessary for translating theoretical conceptual knowledge and learning around OER engagement into the acts and contexts of practice.
4 Educators need support to develop the self-regulative and socio-regulative knowledge that will enable them to understand the value of OER both for their own practice and professional learning and for their students’ learning and development.
Self-regulative knowledge consists of the meta-cognitive and reflective skills that learners use to monitor and evaluate their own actions and to make sense of and apply the knowledge and expertise they are creating within the varied contexts of their professional practice. Self-regulative knowledge acts as a mediator for combining theoretical knowledge and practical expertise and experience.
5 Continued learning and development is enhanced when educators have the opportunity to interact with others around their OER use and learning.
Socio-cultural knowledge is developed through both online and offline interactions and is important in encouraging sustained engagement with OER by educators at all stages of their learning journey.
6 Each workplace has its own culture guiding professional practice, and therefore learning about OER ideally should be linked with work activities.
Educators’ engagement with OER is reliant not only on the learning opportunities available to them as individual, independent learners but also the construction of workplaces that support their learning journeys and engagement with OER. Supporting the construction of workplaces that facilitate educators’ ongoing learning with OER will help to promote higher levels of OER use and learning.