OER Synthesis and Evaluation / BENEFITS-OF-RELEASE-AND USE
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BENEFITS-OF-RELEASE-AND USE (redirected from BenefitsofReleaseAndUse)

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 11 years ago

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Benefits of OER Release and Use

Articulating the benefits of OER release is important to support sharing of learning resources in an increasingly networked world. It is often the first step in engaging different stakeholders and raising awareness.


It is not simply a matter of listing a series of benefits for all. There are benefits for different stakeholder groups and these impact on the approaches and models adopted for OER release, which, in turn, ultimately impact on how the OER are used (or intended to be used).  The relationship between benefits, models for release and actual use is complex - for example the benefits of high quality institutionally branded OER (motivated by the desire to enhance institutional reputation) are very different to the benefits of openly releasing an individual's lecture notes recorded on a mobile device (motivated by a desire to support a specific group of students).  Both are valid models of release with very different audiences and potential use applications. Some motivations (perceived benefits) may actually provide few benefits in the broadest sense.

(see also: benefits of OER Use)


The following list has emerged during the UKOER programme and builds on the work begun by the JISC Good Intentions Study in 2008 which examined the benefits of different business models for sharing learning resources.


Learners can benefit from:

  • enhanced quality and flexibility of resources
  • seeing/applying knowledge in a wider context than their course would otherwise allow, e.g. international dimension
  • freedom of access (e.g. at work/home/on placement) and enhanced opportunities for learning (cf the Capetown Declaration)
  • support for learner-centred, self-directed, peer-to-peer and social/informal learning approaches
  • skills development (e.g. numeracy) through release of generic OER that can be re-used and re-contextualised in different subject areas
  • the opportunity to test out course materials before enrolling – and compare with other similar courses
  • opportunities to be involved in OER initiatives either through contributing towards OER development, testing or evaluation, marketing activities, acting as an ambassador for OER with other learners or staff
  • authentic or 'real-life' learning experiences through OER that link to employer or professional sector activities


The OER originator can benefit from:

  • student/user feedback and open peer review
  • reputational benefits, recognition
  • benefits (efficiency and cultural) of collaborative approaches to teaching/learning
  • opportunities to work across sectors, institutions and subject disciplines
  • increased digital literacies (particularly around IPR)
  • reaching a wider range of learners


Other staff/users can benefit from:

  • availability of quality peer reviewed material to enhance their curriculum
  • collaborative approaches to teaching/learning (CoPs)
  • professional/peer-to-peer learning about the processes of OER release
  • increased dialogue within their organisation or with other peers in the sector and globally
  • preservation and availability of materials for endangered subjects
  • open access to legacy materials


Educational Institutions can benefit from:

  • recognition and enhanced reputation
  • wider availability of their academic content and focus on the learning experience (linking to widening participation agenda)
  • increased capacity to support remote students
  • efficiencies in content production (particularly around generic content that can be used across subject areas)
  • new partnerships/linkages with other institutions and organisations outside the education sector
  • increased sharing of ideas and practice within the institution, including greater role for support services
  • a buffer against the decline of specific subjects or topics (which may not be sustainable at institutional level but can be sustained across several institutions through shared resources)
  • supporting sustainability of legacy materials
  • increased understanding of IPR 
  • new relationships with students as they become collaborators in OER production, release and use


Other sectors (eg, employers, public bodies, private bodies, 3rd sector)

  • access to repurposable content
  • input to scoping, development and endorsement of OER in their focus area
  • new potential partnerships with content providers and other sectors
  • upskilling - increased understanding of IPR, curriculum development and learning technologies
  • understanding of customer needs - (for example, commercial publishers  finding out what kinds of OER and learning resources are wanted by teachers and/or learners)


McGill, L, Currier, S, Duncan, C and Douglas, P (2008) Good intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials


The following Case studies provide accessible accounts of benefits from sharing resources openly:


Pages on this wiki with the tag: benefits



Why OER? Stakeholders and benefits



Date: February 2013

Author: Lou McGill


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