What Is OER and How Are OERs Used?


Open Educational Resources (“OER”) have been reshaping the landscape of learning for over a decade, but what are they, and how are they used?

What is OER?

First, a bit of history about OER for context. OER (or Open Education Resources) is a term that was coined in 2002 by UNESCO to describe an initiative intended to bring about universal education resources. OER is described as “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”

OER can refer to many kinds of learning resources from textbooks, full courses, and curricula, to videos, tools, software, or even techniques used to support access to knowledge. Often distributed under Creative Commons licenses, OER content is free to use and repurpose or modify for educational purposes.

What is the goal of OER?

OER was brought about as a recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “everyone has the right to education.” OER was also designed as an effort to foster discussion, create policy, and establish the means by which education resources can be broadly developed and distributed to everyone.

What are the benefits of OER?

OER is often used to make educational resources more affordable and accessible. However, the benefits of OER have proven to be very broad. Here are some examples of how OER is used, and the benefits it has:

OER in Action

Monarch Media recently partnered with SkillsCommons.org to re-design OER content that was originally developed by the Massachusetts Bay Community College, into an interactive course on Quality Care and Unit Conversions for nursing assistants. The goal was to create a cost effective, self-paced training module that could be used for distance education programs, or blended alongside traditional coursework. We adapted the original material into a responsive online module using Articulate Rise. The result was a fully-responsive, self-contained lesson on Quality Care and Unit Conversions. The approach allowed students an option for self-paced, online practice. The responsive design made the lesson also accessible on mobile phones. Features of the re-design included real world practice examples, relevant videos, in-line helpful hints and mini-practice modules, exploratory linear and non-linear navigation and course completion tracking. By utilizing OER content in this re-design, we were able to deliver an exceptional learning experience, for a fraction of the cost.

In Closing

OER is here, and it’s shaping the landscape of education today and tomorrow, benefiting everyone, from content producers to consumers. Now that you know why OER was conceived, what it is, and how it’s being used, the question is—how will you use OER to help your organization succeed?

More Information

To learn more about how Monarch Media can help you utilize OER in your next eLearning project, please call, email, or visit our website.

Monarch Media, Inc.
www.monarchmedia.com
831-457-4414 info@nullmonarchmedia.com