Friday, November 20 • 10:15am - 10:45am
Who are the open learners? Profiling informal users of OER repositories

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Law, Perryman & Law (2013) have analysed the provision of open resources by The Open University through its OpenLearn platform and through iTunesU, asking how content can be delivered in ways which meet both learner and institutional needs. This study builds on this work by including supplemental data collected by the OER Research Hub (OERRH, 2014). OERRH provides a focus for research on OER, and the impact is having on learning and teaching. In order to ensure that the areas of focus remained consistent throughout the project the research was guided by eleven key hypotheses about open education (de los Arcos et al., 2014). The central hypotheses investigated across the project focus on the impact of OER on learners and the ways in which open licensing affects sharing and use of resources. Several hypotheses pertained directly to informal learning, such as how informal learners choose OER, the techniques they use to study, and whether use of OER relates to a desire for formal study.

In collaboration with OER repositories - primarily iTunesU, OpenLearn, and Saylor Academy - an invitation to complete a survey was circulated to informal learners who used these sites between 2013 and 2014. Several thousand valid responses were received. Most countries were represented and people from every continent contributed information. The presentation will focus on the identifiable differences between repository user profiles and the analysis will enrich the statistics with provided by learners around the world.

- Data suggests that patterns in age, gender, employment and study habits can be discerned between OER repositories

- A high proportion of OER users are educated to bachelor degree level

- Perceived relevance seems to be the most important factor for selecting OER; relation to clear learning outcomes is also important

- Attractive presentation is the least important factor for OER choice

- Across the repositories there was a similar pattern of generally high satisfaction with the resources provided

- Use of OER makes some learners to believe themselves more likely to enter formal study, though others believe it makes this less likely (perhaps because learning needs are being met)

- High proportions across all samples indicated that they would download further materials from the repository and feel empowered to undertake further study in a related area

- One unexpected finding is that high proportions of informal OER users report that they adapt OER to their needs.

- Further work is needed to explore learner understandings of this term, especially in relation to open licensing and how it is perceived

avatar for Rob Farrow

Rob Farrow

Senior Research Fellow, The Open University
Senior Research Fellow @openuniversity / Open Education through a philosophical lens / Projects: @oer_hub @gogn_oer Project URLS:https://encoreproject.eu/http://go-gn.net/https://emc.eadtu.eu/emc-lm/http://oerhub.net/
avatar for Beck Pitt

Beck Pitt

Research Assistant, The Open University
Hi there! I'm a researcher on the Open Education Research Hub and Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project at the Open University (UK). Find out more: http://oerresearchhub.org Come and talk to me about all things open and how we (the Hub) could help you!

Friday November 20, 2015 10:15am - 10:45am PST
Waddington Room

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