OER Research Hub project, in the second year, has witnessed collaboration with 15 projects, the advancement of the OER Impact Map, as well as 20 surveys conducted creating more than 6,000 replies about the influence of OER.
The report of OER impact is boosting meanwhile mixed. The two key theories under research were
- OER enhances student performance
- Openly licenced material is used differently to other online material
Other interesting findings include the extent to which OER use causes reflection by educators on their own practice. This came across more strongly than anticipated and should be promoted more widely as a benefit of OER. Similarly, there is currently not enough emphasis given to the use of OER by formal students. Students are using OER to trial subjects prior to engaging in formal study and then supplementing their formal education with a wide range of OER.
There is also evidence for the ‘viral’ effects of openness in that exposure to OER tends to cause users to seek it elsewhere. Most OER users reported being very satisfied and would continue to use and recommend open resources. Many educators were keen to encourage colleagues to use OER and to make more of their practice open. This would suggest that finding ways to implement OER and make them easy to use will have long term benefits for open education in general, if the open aspect is foregrounded.
The reports states that Awareness of OER and Creative Commons is growing, but OER repositories remain relatively unused and unknown compared with the main three educational resource sites of YouTube, Khan Academy and TED. This suggests that brand awareness of OER and easy location is a major obstacle to overcome for the next generation of OER projects.
Here is a summary of other key findings:
- 37.6% of educators and 55.7% of formal learners say that using OER improves student satisfaction.
- 27.5% of educators and 31.9% of formal learners agree that OER use results in better test scores
- 79.4% of OER users adapt resources to fit their needs
- 79.5% of educators use OER to get new ideas and inspiration
- 88.4% of learners say that the opportunity to study at no cost influenced their decision to use OER
- 74.9% of informal learners use OER to have a learning experience
- Knowing where to find resources is one of the biggest challenges to using OER
- General knowledge of well-established OER repositories is low
- Only 5% of educators say they don’t share information about OER
- The more educators use OER, the more they are willing to share
- Only 12.4% of educators create resources and publish them on a Creative Commons license
- Videos are the most common type of OER used.
- Cost of and access to materials can have an effect on student retention
- 40.9% of all formal learners in our sample consider that OER have a positive impact in helping them complete their course of study
- 79.6% of formal students think they save money by using OER
- 31.5% of informal learners say that their interest in using OER is a chance to try university-level content before signing up for a paid-for course.
- 31.3% say their use of OER influenced their decision to register for their current course.
- 83.2% of informal learners say they are more likely to take another free course or study a free open educational resource, and 24.2% say that they would go on to take a paid for course as a result of using OER.
- Informal learners choose OER that are relevant to their particular needs, have a good description of learning objectives and outcomes, and are easy to download.
- Only 15.5% of informal learners select OER with an open license allowing adaptation despite the fact that 84.7% say they adapt the resources they find to fit their needs.
Read the entire report here.