All aspects of our society are being influenced by various technological and digital developments, and education is not an exception. With this in mind, learning and teaching practices have shifted due to the introduction of new tools and the possibility of having unprohibited access to supported data. Furthermore, lecturers and students have been introduced to Open Educational Resources (OERs), which allows them to gain knowledge for free.
Within this article, we focus on the concept of Open Educational Resources, providing a definition and outlining the impact these materials have on the teaching and learning process.
What are Open Educational Resources?
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning materials that can be accessed, edited and enhanced as their creators have given individuals the possibility to do so. People and businesses that create OERs, publish various forms of content. These include presentations slides, images, videos, worksheets, maps and even textbooks. But keep in mind, some of this content is shielded by copyright, and nearly all of these materials can be easily accessed and amended.
Why adopt Open Educational Resources?
Over the past few years, many students and teachers have begun accessing OERs, breaking down the barriers of affordability and accessibility. Furthermore, research has shown that learners who utilise OERs in their studies have improved their grades compared to their peers who didn’t use this type of material.
According to Openstax research, OERs are used in almost 50% of all educational institutions in the US and in over 100 nations with the goal to improve the student learning experience along with raising the value of universities’ research projects.
Studies have shown that over the years, learners have stopped purchasing books because of their rising costs and have also begun missing lessons, as the prices for access to the required resources is becoming too great. This situation has been improved by the introduction of OERs, as students no longer have to purchase any content, as they have free access to knowledge. Organisations such as Openstax have started publishing high-quality textbooks that are accessible online for free or in a print version for a small fee.
Through the utilisation of OERs, teachers can provide customised materials, enabling personalised content for their students. Personalisation allows lecturers to control the standard and structure of their lessons, making them more engaging and relevant.
OERs also allow educators to collaborate on various materials, keeping them up-to-date and relevant, allow for the building of strong relationships with other institutions and improving their research value.
The development of digital and the wider access to the Internet has permitted the expansion of Open Educational Resources. Its materials are available to people for free and amendable by anyone. Also, these educational resources have altered the way individuals study and educate, improving their whole learning experience.