Lesson 10 - Trends in Open Learning

6. Open Pedagogy

6.5. Another Vision for Pedagogy in a Digital Age

The increasing availability of high-quality open content is likely to facilitate the shift from information transmission by the instructor to knowledge management by the learner. Also, in a digital age there is a need for greater focus on skills development embedded within a subject domain than on the memorization of content.

The use of open educational resources could enable these developments in a number of ways, such as:

  • A learner-centered teaching approach that focuses on students accessing content on the Internet (and in real life) as part of developing knowledge, skills and competencies defined by the instructor, or learners managing their learning for themselves; however, content would not be restricted to officially designated open educational resources, but to everything on the Internet, because one of the core skills students will need is how to assess and evaluate different sources of information.
  • A consortium of teachers or institutions creating common learning materials within a broader program context, that can be shared both within and outside the consortium. However, not only would the content be freely available, but also the underlying instructional principles, learning outcomes, learner assessment strategies, what learner support is needed, learner activities, and program evaluation techniques, so that other instructors or learners can adapt all this to their own context. This approach is already being taken by:
Overall, such developments are likely to lead to a severe reduction in lecture-based teaching and a move towards more project work, problem-based learning, and collaborative learning. It will also result in a move away from fixed time and place written examinations, to more continuous, portfolio-based forms of assessment.

The role of the instructor then will shift to providing guidance to learners on where and how to find content, how to evaluate the relevance and reliability of content, what content areas are core and what peripheral, and to help students analyze, apply and present information, within a strong learning design that focuses on clearly defined learning outcomes, particularly with regard to the development of skills. Students will work mainly online and collaboratively, developing multi-media learning artefacts or demonstrations of their learning, managing their online portfolios of work, and editing and presenting selected work for assessment.

This is a far broader vision of pedagogy than that built around the use of OER.

OER opens up the possibility of greater student participation in the creation as well as the selection of learning materials. It is essential to embed OER within a robust and appropriate teaching framework or pedagogy that exploits the potential of OER. OER may lead to new, open pedagogy, but more likely will lead to the greater adoption and adaptation of existing teaching methods that benefit from the potential of OER.

What should drive open educational practices and use of OERs should be a broader vision of teaching and learning that focuses on the knowledge and skills students need in a digital age? OER should be embedded in a wider concept of pedagogy than just ‘open’ pedagogy.