OER1064a Short Paper (Part of Symposium OER1064)

Beyond the “usual e-learning enthusiasts”: Making the development of OER open

Richard Windle, University of Nottingham
Heather Wharrad, University of Nottingham
Helen Laverty, University of Nottingham
Lynne Marsh, University College Cork
Cheryl Crocker, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement (NHSIII)
Clare Price-Dowd, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement (NHSIII)
Lucrezia Herman, University of Nottingham
Catherine McAuley, University College Cork

Conference Theme:  Open Educational Communities 

Abstract: The power of open education resource (OER) initiatives lies in the potential for a broad range of stakeholders to share their knowledge.  However, mechanisms that allow individuals, other than the usual e-learning enthusiasts, to create resources are often overlooked.   The reusable learning object (RLO) approach to OER provision has proved successful in health care education partly because it addresses this need. Our approach is based around facilitation of communities of practice that empower individuals to design and create their resources (1).  This has enabled the involvement of a wide range of stakeholder groups, including practitioners, students, service users and carers in resource design, thus harnessing their unique areas of expertise and sometimes providing a voice for these groups. The work is monitored by a series of quality assurance reviews, evaluation of the use and reuse of the OER produced and research of the experiences of the community.
Here we report evaluations of 2 case-studies of stakeholder involvement in OER development.  Firstly, a study involving 40 students of learning disability nursing from 7 Higher Education institutions in the UK and Republic of Ireland who authored a range of RLOs designed to inform or challenge their peers about working with this client group.  Secondly, the involvement of health-care practitioners in the development of a range of resources dealing with improving the safety and quality of health and social care.  The overriding challenge here was to meet the needs of the broad range of professions that this encompasses.
The experience of the various stakeholder groups within these communities suggests a high level of empowerment.  Findings show that the various stakeholder groups expressed clear pedagogical goals when considering and designing e-learning materials.  However, the emphasis of the designs varied  from those of academics.  For example,  students placed more emphasis on aspects of user-functionality (eg. feedback, support and control), whilst tutors focused more on the learning environment being created (eg. media richness and contextualisation).  The impact of these differences is currently being investigated.

Keywords: Communities of Practice, Reusable Learning Objects, Student-generated content, Evaluation, Stake-holders, Health

(1)  Boyle, T et al (2006). An Agile method for developing learning objects. 23rd  annual ASCILITE http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney06/proceeding/pdf_papers/p64.pdf (accessed 3.11.09)