Change is not easy. Traditional values, beliefs and practices prevail. We have uncovered evidence of existing values and beliefs restricting change in open education and open learning practice.
On Jan 19th I presented findings from our Evaluation and Synthesis study of the UKOER (Open Educational Resources) Programme funded by the UK Joint Informations Systems Committees and the Higher Education Academy at a SCORE event at the UK Open University. The evaluation is being carried out in the phases: phase 1 (2009-10), phase 2 (2010-11) and phase 3 (ongoing) and is being taken forward by Lou McGill, Isobel Falconer , Helen Beetham and me.
The study is framed by new Open Education and Open Learning Practices of learners and teachers in universities. We are observing palpable changes in the way people learn and teach. Do these observations signal sustainable changes:
- in culture moving from focusing on conent owndership to focusing on open sharing?
- in practices of releasing, reusing and repurposing open resources?
Our findings challenge whether observed practice change is taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by open resources and technologies.
Although we have evidence of changes in open education and open learning practices of learners and teachers, these are not accompanied by obvious shift in pedagogy, taking advantage of the affordances of open resources and technologies. In other words, although we are observing changes in how teachers and learners perform, there is no obvious change in what they do.
We also observed adherence to ingrained values in relation to the drivers for releasing OERs. We reanalysed the phase 1 evaluation data using activity theory analysis. Three main motivators driving the release of OERs emerged:
- marketisation, signalling increased commercialisation within the Higher Education sector
- academic commons, reflecting the move towards sharing knowledge;
- technological momentum, in which the evolution of technology influences practice change.
Our analysis warns against over-reliance in the development and release of OERs within Communities of Practice (CoPs). CoPs offer promising impact on OER release and reuse through existing trusted relationships within tightly-knit groups. However, these existing communities tend to retain attitudes, beliefs and values that can stifle change.
We aim to publish these results shortly. In the meantime the presentation is available at http://www.slideshare.net/caledonianacademy/oer-score190112 and the event cloudsteam is at http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/2375#cloudstream