Научная статья на тему 'Open educational resources provided via Internet for lifelong learning'

Open educational resources provided via Internet for lifelong learning Текст научной статьи по специальности «Науки об образовании»

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Текст научной работы на тему «Open educational resources provided via Internet for lifelong learning»

OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES PROVIDED VIA INTERNET FOR LIFELONG LEARNING

K. Mejeryte-Narkeviciene A. Volungeviciene

This paper summarises some of the analysis and findings of a project which is still in progress. The research showed that the learners use the OER for their formal, non-formal or informal learning. Applying this analysis the learners are overloaded by a lot of information and plenty OER are available at different open contents. We face the problem that the mere availability of these resources does not directly lead to their reuse. Still the respondents belongs to online communities were they share, rate and comment the OER.

Introduction. According to Tynjala (2008) over the past few decades an unprecedented rapid change in society and working life has taken place causing the importance of continuous learning to increase both for individuals operating in the learning society and for organizations competing in international markets. Whereas the concept of learning used to be traditionally linked to formal education, nowadays workplace learning has gained a lot of popularity, making this field of research wide-ranged and interdisciplinary. For lifelong learning as for workplace learning is very important the use of OER. The OER last years are analyzed by a lot of researchers from different sciences and especially in computer sciences. It seems that the term OER discovered in 2002 naturalize in this modern society very rapidly. The subject of the research is the open educational resources.

Aim of the research: to determine how OER are used in open content repositories for lifelong learning.

Objectives of the research:

1. To analyze the general experience of using internet and online communities

2. To define the experience and needs of OER and available funtion-alities.

Methods of the research: analysis of scientific literature, written survey, descriptive statistics.

Open Educational Resources as the Open Content for Lifelong Learning via Internet. The term OER was first introduced at a conference hosted by UNESCO in 2002 and was promoted in the context of providing free access to educational resources on a global scale. OER are defined in this research as "teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. OER include full

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courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge (Atkins, Brown, Hammond, 2007). To clarify further, OER is said to include these three areas: (a) learning content (Full courses, courseware, content modules, learning objects, collections and journals); (b) tools (Software to support the development, use, reuse and delivery of learning content, including searching and organisation of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities); (c) implementation resources (Intellectual property licenses to promote the open publishing of materials, design principles of best practice and localise content).

The definition of OER is both broad and vague. A wide variety of objects and online materials can be classified as educational resources, from courses and course components to library or museum collections or open access journals and reference works. Over time the term has come to cover not only content, but also learning and content management software and content development tools, and standards and licensing tools for publishing digital resources. This allowed to users to adapt resources in accordance with their cultural, curricular and pedagogical requirements (OECD, 2007). OER are made freely available over the web or the Internet. They can be used by teachers and educational institutions to support course development, or directly by learners in informal learning at work placement and business providers for lifelong learning. OER include learning objects such as lecture material, references and readings, simulations, experiments and demonstrations, as well as syllabus, curricula and teachers’ guides. Learners also learn by creatively using resources not intended for learning purposes. A similar view might be taken by teachers or by learners, namely that an educational resource is "anything that can be used to organize and support learners learning experiences”. OER are not often familiar to different sectors of education. Moreover, limited services that could facilitate and bring added value to OER use and re-use are also under the great need. Some initiatives have been established to solve the complex problem: lack of awareness, insecurities about legal aspects and quality, and lack of interoperability and easy - to - use repositories. As a good example is the OpenScout project (http://www.openscout.net). As Kalz et al. (2010) indicated, the OpenScout project aims at creating conditions for OER use and re-contextualization. The authors agree that additional and added-value services that are under development will be related also with user competence models and user skills to provide feedback and rating of OER. OpenScout aims at providing an education service in the

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Internet that enables users to easily find, access, use and exchange open content for management education and training. OpenScout integrates metadata from several connected learning-content repositories in Europe which are available in different languages and different target user groups.

The methodology of the research. The aim of the survey was to interview the teachers and the students of higher education institutions in order to highlight if they are using the OER for learning and what do they do with it. In order to know how participants deal with the OER a number of the OpenScout project partners were requested to contact representatives of the targeted user groups. The participants in this study were 19 teachers from different higher education institutions in different countries and a group of 25 postgraduate students from the university in Madrid. The methods of research: written survey, descriptive statistics. The written survey was conducted in order to find out how the learners use the OER and to what social communities do they belong and search for the OER. The questionnaire was designed to measure the prior experience and needs of the users, in order to control factors such as expertise in online search of documents and knowledge of open material implications. The user was then invited to use the OpenScout demo version. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data in collected questionnaires while modeling empirical diagrams, tables.

The results of the research. In general this research showed that all professors used the internet to search for and share teaching/learning materials. The most dominant search engine used by 89,47% professors is Google. Several other solutions are used as well but they are rather insignificant. Once resources have been retrieved they are mostly used for adapting existing material by 78,95% professors. Additionally, 57,89% professors consult, revise and re-use the material, 47,37% reuse it in another context or 36,84% even contribute original material. Compared to the other answers the latter is rather of minor concern. Only 26,32% of the professors of this interview group contributed to OER. Those 15,79% persons posted the material predominantly on their own websites/servers also 10,53% on youtube and moodle. 52,63% professors are currently involved in an online community. While most of them 47,37% use Facebook , Linkedin 10,53% and several other communities like Twitter, Studivz in Germany or elearn.uni-sofia Bulgaria are frequented as well. By sharing (68,42%) and commenting (63,17%) these professors contribute to these online communities. According to 78,95% members commenting/rating and tagging is useful as it can improve search results and provides valuable information about the quality and benefit of the resource. The expecta-

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tions for functionalities from a system for searching/sharing materials on management teaching/training/learning vary and all items were of importance. However, especially material commenting (84,21%), material his-tory/rating (78,95%) and communication with others (63,17%) stick out of all answers. 15,79% have emphasized that they expect high quality, well categorized content with a clear taxonomy. The extra functionalities are all "nice to have” but not essential to them.

The research results with the students showed that 84,00% students out of 25 students had used the Internet to exchange and share learning materials. Nonetheless they manifested that they did so in close networks such as Webct. Many knew of certain student repositories such as www.elrincondelvago.com where students from different universities and upper secondary schools upload materials. This is a non-regulated and rather commercial tool (although access and right to download is free of charge). The vast majority of those 84,00% that had these experiences used the Internet in a rather passive way: they rather rarely uploaded materials, but were quite used to download them. 72,08% thought that they would not be keen to upload their materials. The students did not have a clear idea of what an online community was but many 88,00% referred to Facebook, Twitter or tuenty. The students (actually almost all of them) thought that Google and Google scholar as well as Jstor, and similar repositories are enough to cover their needs. As said before, the user profile of all the students, who use the Internet for learning purposes, play a passive role with the only exception of commenting and rating whenever this is possible. All students found them useful: they would rely more on materials that have been highly valued by prior users. They actively reported that these are hints all of them use to select materials. According to the prior general reactions, the students thought that commenting and rating were most useful for them as users. As a complementary possibility 92,00% thought that communications with other users was of some interest.

Conclusion. At the heart of the movement toward Open Educational Resources is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the World Wide Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. OER are the part of that knowledge that comprise the fundamental components of education—content and tools for teaching, learning, and research in lifelong learning. The survey showed that use the Internet for OER search is growing rapadly, the respondents share them, reuse it, comment and rate for building knowledge. Finally the respondents

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indicated that Google and Google scholar as well as Jstor, and similar repositories are enough to cover their needs for searching OER.

References

Akins, D.E., Brown, J.S., & Hammond, A.L. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges and New Opportunities. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from http://tinyurl.com/2swqsg

Kalz, M., Specht, M., Nadolski, R., Bastiaens, Y., Leirs, N., & Pawlowski, J. (2010). OpenScout: Competence based management education with community-improved open educational resources. In: Halley et al. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 17th EDINEB Conference. Crossing Borders in Education and work-based learning // p. 137- 146.

OECD (2007). Giving Knowledge for Free: the Emergence of Open Educational Resources. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/35/7/38654317.pdf

Tynjala, P. (2008). Perspectives into learning at the workplace// Educational research Review, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 13-54.

Toumi I. (2006). Open Educational Resources: What they are and why do they matter. Report prepared for the OECD. Retrieved January 20, 2011, from

http://www.meaningprocessing.com/

UNESCO (2002). Forum on the impact of open courseware for higher education in developing countries (final report). Paris,

http://www.wcet.info/resources/publications/unescofinalreport.pdf

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