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Learning design of OER

Research Leads

Grainne Conole, Giota Alevizou, Patrick McAndrew

What is it?

The overall aim of this strand is to understand the role of design in OER and apply learning design tools and resources to the reuse of Open Educational Resources (OER).

PatrickResearch Questions

  • How can we support teachers and learners in adopting new and innovative approaches to learning and teaching whcih are pedagogically effective and make good use of new technologies?
  • What skills do teachers and learners need?
  • How can we help teachers and learners design, use and reuse open educational resources in different contexts to support both formal and informal learning, and in both individual and collaborative learning contexts?

Progress to date

The initial focus was to apply tools, concepts and resources developed as part of the OU Learning Design Initiative to the design and reuse of OER.  This included use of the conceptual design tools that the project has produced and the social networking site, Cloudworks, for sharing and discussing OER.

As part of this Grainne Conole and Patrick McAndrew worked closely with Professor Yannis Dimitriadis when he came to the OU for 4 months as an OLnet fellow.  The work included combing the learning design tools developed at the OU with the collaborative learning tools Yannis and his team have produced in order to enable use of OER in collaborative learning contexts.  This included running a series of workshops and evaluating participant discourse.  Representing learning designs helped communicate the intended way to use materials while the value of the pattern based approach was in encouraging changed ways to teach with OER.  Two papers, a chapter and a conference presenation arose from this work.

Work on the Learning Design strand was extended to include related projects on the use of Web 2.0 tools ("Pearls in the clouds") and the consultation with the EU-funded OPAL project examining concepts of quality in OER.  The Cloudworks site has become a core part of the OLnet technical infrastructure and has been used extensively over the past year by members of the OLnet team and others involved in the OER community.  The site was used to augment a range of real and virtual OER events and discussions around OER.  Giota Alevizou has produced a detailed evaluation report of these activities, which shows how the Cloudworks site has been used effectively to support evidence-based practices around the use of OER.  The design approach used to reuse OER in the Peer to Peer University (P2PU) brought out how there were implicit designs, such as 'read-think-reflect-share-comment' in how groups were expected to operate.

As part of a visiting fellowship, Professor Elsebeth Sorensen worked closely with Grainne Conole on a special issue about OER and creativity.  This will be published in EURODL during 2011.