What do you se as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

Open learning is a concept that has been around for over forty years. Open classrooms were designed to allow children to experiment with learning in a real-world application. Today that same theory has been rejuvenated in the Common Core with group work and discussion. To add the element of technology we now have free online learning groups, flipped classrooms, and free education type material available to increase education development. But at what cost is it really free? Textbooks are not free, journal articles are not free, and complete degree programs are not free. The question is, is it a sustainable program, and is the learning environment a quality environment? As a world community we are trying to start a revolution in learning, but we need to step back and get a better understanding on what open education and learning really means.

In a perfect world open learning would mean that everything is free. Tony Bates (2015) states:

Open education can take a number of 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, recognized 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;
  • open research, whereby research papers are made available online for free downloading;
  • open data, that is, data open to anyone to use, reuse, and redistribute, subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share.

Today not all this exists. We still have to pay for a lot of the information we need to receive a formal education. Degrees are not free for the taking because we do some online coursework, and publishers are not willing to “give away” their materials just because we have electronic capabilities. Bates goes on to say State-funded public education is the most extensive and widespread form of open education. We still have to fund it through taxes, and there are still fees involved in some materials. If a child has no access to technology, then there is nothing free, they still have a textbook and are still locked in room.

On the other hand Open Learning is a viable tool for struggling countries and children when education is not free, and not always accessible. Open Learning Exchange-A Global Network, makes education possible for children that may not have the ability to obtain an education. The following video states their purpose and ability to provide that education on a global scale.

This concept is a valuable tool for countries where education to the masses is not possible. Here in the U.S., we have free education, it is funded by the taxpayers and the federal government, and to open that environment to a global community electronically, is not fiscally viable nationwide. The idea of having online programs, courses, meeting rooms, and shared ideas is a great idea, but not all students can engage in that medium and it is not always a good choice for younger learners.

Today in the classroom we have ten and twelve year old students that are writing and typing papers with abbreviations from twitter and texting. It seems to me that as a society we want to interact with people electronically. This explains the lack of social skills our youth have today. It also explains the lack of writing and reading skills our youth have. I see open learning as a great tool for expansion of knowledge, idea generation and collaboration, but not as a solid learning environment.

This concept is a valuable tool for countries where education to the masses is not possible. Here in the U.S., we have free education, it is funded by the taxpayers and the federal government, and to open that environment to a global community electronically, is not fiscally viable nationwide. The idea of having online programs, courses, meeting rooms, and shared ideas is a great idea, but not all students can engage in that medium and it is not always a good choice for younger learners.

References

Bates, T. (2015, February 16). What do we mean by “open” education? (Web log comment). Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2015/02/16/what-do-we-mean-by-open-in-education/

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3 comments

  1. Kendra wollert · May 29, 2015

    Yes, there are unlimited positive affects in open learning pedagogy! My concern is that in first world countries, the paper degree is paramount. Experience and on the job training is no longer the case for being marketable. You need a masters degree to get a job that used to be bachelor attainable, or a PhD in order to get a masters position, and you see the progression. You may have the knowledge gained by taking open Ed classes through noodle but without the degree paper what’s the point here in the US? To have open learning in the US is fruitless but perhaps it would work better in a third world country. What do you think about higher education and my perspective?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jnyboy1131 · May 30, 2015

      I agree, taking a free class to improve your skills is one thing, but there is no free in the U.S. Open learning on a global scale is different, making education free to those that do not have access is different than just taking a class online through a MOOC. Education in the U.S. is the driving force for wages in most of the markets. Without it, there is no economic benefit, unless you are an entrepreneur. And you are right, where a bachelors used to be the norm, that is now the entry-level on lower paying, or high turnover jobs. We see it in education, the more degrees, the more pay.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. janeblasingame · June 1, 2015

    I wonder about to percentage of MOOC classes that are accredited and will be accepted by University towards degree. It has been my experience that universities don’t accept all credits from other accredited universities, much less and online course. MOOCs are the topic of this weeks Twitter chat. More to come…

    Like

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