Tuesday, 20 January 2015

free report on #OER evidence of success @OER_HUB

The Open Educational Resources Research Hub (OER Research Hub) provides a focus for research, designed to give answers to the overall question ‘What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?’ and identify the particular influence of openness.

The OER hub just released a free evidence report focusing on key factors related to Open Educational Resources. There are multiple hypothesis on OER tested in this report, and with clearly described outcomes and conclusions. Anyone working with eLearning or online resources will be interested to know what works and what does not, as OER are one of the cornerstones when eLearning marched forward. Especially in the developing regions (cutting costs, content for everyone...).

In the report the following topics were investigated and described (all put forward with their respective OER hypothesis): performance, openness, access, retention, reflection, finance, indicators, support, transition, policy, and assessment.

The results come from an intense collaboration with projects across four education sectors (K12, college, higher education and informal) extending a network of research with shared methods and shared results.

The project combines:
 – Targeted research collaboration with high profile OER projects
 – A programme of international fellowship
 – Global networking and expertise in OER implementation and evaluation
 – A hub for research data and excellence in practice

In conclusion: The OER Research Hub has found good evidence across each of the eleven hypotheses set out at the inception of the project in 2012. There are varying amounts of evidence identified with each of the hypotheses, and varying degrees of support. What is perhaps most significant is the overall weight of evidence. This represents one of the most complete pictures of the impact of OER in its current state. There is still much more work to be done, however. Acquiring comparative data which will illustrate that the implementation of OER has an impact on performance requires longitudinal studies and establishing excellent relationships of trust as this data is sensitive. In addition, the picture for some hypotheses will remain incomplete unless institutions can be encouraged to share information about the impact OER is having on financial performance and student grades.