3. Open Learning

3.1. Open Education as a Concept

Open education can take several forms:

  • Education for all: Free or very low-cost school, college or university education available to everyone within a particular jurisdiction, usually funded primarily through the state.
  • Open access to programs that lead to full, recognised qualifications. These are offered by national open universities or more recently by the OERu.
  • Open access to courses or programs that are not for formal credit, although it may be possible to acquire badges or certificates for successful completion. MOOCs are a good example.
  • Open educational resources that instructors or learners can use for free. MIT’s opencourseware, which provides free online downloads of MIT’s video recorded lectures and support material, is one example.
  • Open textbooks, online textbooks that are free for students to use (such as this one).
  • Open research, whereby research papers are made available online for free downloading (see for instance open research central).
  • Open data, that is, data open to anyone to use, reuse, and redistribute, subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share; see for example the world bank’s open data bank.
  • Open pedagogy, a method of teaching and learning that builds on principles of open-ness and learner participation.

Each of these developments is discussed in more detail in this lesson, except for MOOCs, which are discussed extensively in Lesson 11.