25 June 2007

Open Educational Resources OECD report released

Some time ago I participated in an OECD survey on Open Educational Resources. The final report has recently been released. "Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources" offers those interested in open courseware-type resource sharing a current and comprehensive review of the educational/knowledge sharing space. Definitions, sustainability, intellectual property policies - all of these and more are covered in an interesting look at the content connections to the open source and open access movements. The report concludes with recommendations for making OER more useful and usable.

A colleague today, in discussing e-learning, talked about "learnability" - a word he used to describe the inherent ability of a given information artifact to enable learning. While learnability is used in usability to discuss how well a system enhances a user's potential ability to learn to use it, the use of this term as applied to content conjures interesting connections to the open source/access/learning movements. It relates well to the web n+1 environment where user-generated content overlays existing, freely available content. How well we can learn from this content depends on human-human interaction, one among many complex variables that define how education transmutes base informational elements into knowledge.

The value-add here is in the communities that develop around the use of applications to build knowledge on top of information. Where content was once king, it is now primus inter pares with the AJAX-inspired applications that let us do stuff with it.

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