Open learning has been a useful tool in my classroom. I have not used it much as I teach mostly K-3 students but have had some experience with its usefulness. I have enjoyed its use in my personal life and do believe it has advantages when used in meaningful ways.
Our reading for this week is showcased from academia.edu which states that Open Learning “occurs in a shared and transparent manner in which others can reuse, revise, remix, and/or redistribute the evidence of learning with others.” (O’Byrne,Roberts, LaBonte, Graham,n.d). My version would simply say open learning is another place where information is shared and adapted by many users for anyone to use. Having a resource that is easily accessible and, in most cases, free would be invaluable if it was a resource that could be added to my students learning goals.
O’Byrne and associates go on to say that open learning “encourages collaboration, networked learning and interdependence between educators and learners.” Online platforms are full of collaboration by bringing many people together on the same topic. Everyone involved can “hear” where the other participants stand on certain issues or can give valuable constructive criticism on an essay. One issue that can be argued is it is more difficult to keep students safe in an environment where not all people are known as well as their face-to-face peers within the regular classroom setting.
But why such a large jump from traditional, face-to-face classrooms straight into open learning resources? Let us not forget about the buzzword of the times-Blended Learning. In my opinion, blended learning is just the gateway to gaining a more open source learning environment and educational toolbox. As more districts/teachers/researchers test out which types of learning apparatus will suit the needs best, more information will become public and mainstream.
While seeking out information on open learning, I stumbled upon many articles about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). An article presented from a MIT Technology review delves into a little bit of research based on open learning classes at college level. The article states that “90 percent of students drop out from these MOOCs.”(Pope,2014) This would be a staggering percentage of dropouts but it seems there may be more to the story pertaining to who is actually taking these courses and to what purpose are these classes labeled? The article covers many interesting topics within the scope of open learning. I had enjoyed reading through it simply to know what kind of research is being conducted, even at college level.
Another amazing (and long) article I fell into was Blurring Boundaries in Education: Context and Impact of MOOCs. (Loeckx,2016). This article goes very deep into the different aspects of open online learning to show how culture, society, technology, and economy can be affected but mostly how they are all interconnected. This article provide advantages and disadvantages from each subtopic above. Like I said, it is a pretty deep read but it may further cement some ideals you may have had before about open learning or may change your whole outlook.
Just a side note while searching for other resources to include within this post, I had not read much of a concern for validity when dealing with open learning. I am sure those articles are out there and I wanted to keep my post to have a more positive spin as I do support open learning. It is inevitable, however, to always pitch advantages and fail to mention possible disadvantages to open learning tools. It has been my experience through many college classes that would not want an open learning site such as wikipedia to be among the references in a paper for the possibility of not being completely valid information if just anyone, professional in a field or not, can alter the contents.
Loeckx, J (april 2016) (vol.17,n.3) Retreived from www.irrodl.org/
O’Byrne, I., Roberts, V., LaBonte, R., & Graham, L. (n.d) Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retreived from www.academia.edu/10311797/open_learning_in_k-12_online-and_blended_learning_environments
Pope, J. (2014) What are MOOCs Good For? Retrieved from www.technologyreview.com