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Adult Education and OER: conclusions and policy recommendations for Europe

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, Featured, mooc, OEP, oer, open educational resources, open-education, opening up education

This posting deals with the conclusions and policy recommendations from the Adult Education and Open Educational Resources study for the European Parliament, a 140-page “Study”, written by Sero, released on 15 October 2015. The Study reviews the current use of Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe (with a focus on Member States of the European Union), assesses its potential and makes recommendations for policy interventions, taking account of the European Commission’s policy frameworks and those developed by the European Parliament and relevant European agencies. The majority of the research was carried out in the first five months of 2015.
The Study incorporates an Annex (starting on p. 77) including new research on over 12 Member States (with a focus on UK, France, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Latvia, Germany and Romania), leveraging on a synthesis of existing research from a range of projects including POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) and a 2014-15 study on Shared OER for the Joint Research Centre, augmented by more recent OER-related studies (D-TRANSFORM and SEQUENT) from Sero and others for the Joint Research Centre, Erasmus+ and the Lifelong Learning Programme. The work also was able to draw on some of the country reports for OERup!

The main conclusions are:

  1. There is sufficient OER activity under way related to Adult Education that we felt confident in drawing conclusions; however, some conclusions are tentative and for others the evidence base (especially in terms of case studies) is weak.
  2. The topic of OER is most usefully considered within the wider topic of the use of ICT in Adult Education.
  3. Issues of quality and accreditation are in our view soluble, but we encourage European and national agencies to move faster to solve them.
  4. The issue of recognition of prior learning is again in our view soluble, but requires an element of specialised attention and faster progress in EQF, ECTS and credit transfer generally.
  5. The much-hoped cost savings are potentially achievable, but case study information is limited. Furthermore, the cost savings may be achievable only by making changes to the educational system which may be challenging in some Member States as an infringement on the role of institutions or the teachers within them. Trade-offs will be needed. Smaller states, and smaller autonomous regions within states (especially those with their own languages), may have difficulty in making these trade-offs.
  6. A range of actions is also possible with bilateral or language-specific multilateral collaborations between Member States. (Examples are given in the SharedOER report – see Language Groupings below.)

Policy recommendations come into several categories:

Quality and accreditation

  1. National quality agencies, with support from ENQA (for HE) and EQAVET (for VET) should develop their understanding of new modes of learning (including online,
    distance, OER and MOOCs) and ensure that there is no implicit non-evidencebased bias against these new modes.
  2. The Commission and related national and international authorities developing the European Higher Education Area and the European Area of Skills and Qualifications should work towards reducing the regulatory barriers against new
    non-study-time-based modes of provision.
  3. Member States should more strongly encourage HE and VET providers to improve and proceduralise their activity on Accreditation of Prior Learning.
  4. Larger Member States should set up an Open Accreditor to accredit students for HE studies and a parallel model, perhaps via ‘one stop shops’, to accredit vocational competences.

 Staff development

  1. Member States, with support from the Commission, should support the development of online initial and continuous professional development programmes for teachers/trainers/lecturers, focussing on online learning and intellectual property rights (IPR).
  2. Member States should consider the use of incentive schemes for teachers/trainers/lecturers engaged in online professional development of their pedagogic skills including online learning.

 OER and IPR

  1. The Commission and Member States should adopt and recommend a standard Creative Commons license for all openly available educational and vocational training material they are involved in funding.
  2. Member States should phase out use of the ‘NonCommercial’ restriction on content.

Costing and other research

  • Member States should increase their scrutiny of the cost basis for university teaching and vocational training and consider the benefits of different modes of funding for their institutions

 Focus on students

  1. Member States should promote (within the context of their sovereign educational aims and objectives) to adult learners the availability and accessibility of open resources created through their respective cultural sector and schools
    programmes.
  2. Specific funding should be devoted to building OER corpora of material in key topic areas of interest to adults. The corpora should be designed ideally for independent self-study, guided self-study (in both the formal and informal sector)
    and as resources to support lecturers teaching such courses. This maximises the investment in them. Rather than just ‘silent’ textual materials, the materials should contain audio-visual elements and, for hard to learn concepts, interactive components and quizzes. This to some extent will overcome the barriers that can be found to studying textual material by those whose reading skills in the national language(s) may be less adequate.

 Funding

  • The scarce funding for supporting adult learners should increasingly be targeted in an output-based fashion to reward adult learners for progression through the EQF. The accreditation gateways (one stop shops) could play a key role in this process. It is recognised that for this to work well, it needs a more developed and pervasive EQF than currently exists.

Language groupings

Language groupings where the languages are (a) either shared across borders or (b) are sufficiently similar to enable access (reading or listening for study purposes) from each country in the linguistic community, could include:
  1. the wider French, Dutch and German-speaking communities
  2. the groups of countries speaking the Continental Scandinavian, Balto-Finnic and Eastern Baltic groups of languages (Sweden/Norway/Denmark; Finland/Estonia; just possibly Lithuania/Latvia).
  3. within the wider set of European countries that can take part in the Erasmus+ Programme, some of the Slavic countries.
 

Adult Education and OER: conclusions and policy recommendations for Europe

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, Featured, mooc, OEP, oer, open educational resources, open-education, opening up education

This posting deals with the conclusions and policy recommendations from the Adult Education and Open Educational Resources study for the European Parliament, a 140-page “Study”, written by Sero, released on 15 October 2015. The Study reviews the current use of Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe (with a focus on Member States of the European Union), assesses its potential and makes recommendations for policy interventions, taking account of the European Commission’s policy frameworks and those developed by the European Parliament and relevant European agencies. The majority of the research was carried out in the first five months of 2015.
The Study incorporates an Annex (starting on p. 77) including new research on over 12 Member States (with a focus on UK, France, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Latvia, Germany and Romania), leveraging on a synthesis of existing research from a range of projects including POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) and a 2014-15 study on Shared OER for the Joint Research Centre, augmented by more recent OER-related studies (D-TRANSFORM and SEQUENT) from Sero and others for the Joint Research Centre, Erasmus+ and the Lifelong Learning Programme. The work also was able to draw on some of the country reports for OERup!

The main conclusions are:

  1. There is sufficient OER activity under way related to Adult Education that we felt confident in drawing conclusions; however, some conclusions are tentative and for others the evidence base (especially in terms of case studies) is weak.
  2. The topic of OER is most usefully considered within the wider topic of the use of ICT in Adult Education.
  3. Issues of quality and accreditation are in our view soluble, but we encourage European and national agencies to move faster to solve them.
  4. The issue of recognition of prior learning is again in our view soluble, but requires an element of specialised attention and faster progress in EQF, ECTS and credit transfer generally.
  5. The much-hoped cost savings are potentially achievable, but case study information is limited. Furthermore, the cost savings may be achievable only by making changes to the educational system which may be challenging in some Member States as an infringement on the role of institutions or the teachers within them. Trade-offs will be needed. Smaller states, and smaller autonomous regions within states (especially those with their own languages), may have difficulty in making these trade-offs.
  6. A range of actions is also possible with bilateral or language-specific multilateral collaborations between Member States. (Examples are given in the SharedOER report – see Language Groupings below.)

Policy recommendations come into several categories:

Quality and accreditation

  1. National quality agencies, with support from ENQA (for HE) and EQAVET (for VET) should develop their understanding of new modes of learning (including online, distance, OER and MOOCs) and ensure that there is no implicit non-evidencebased bias against these new modes.
  2. The Commission and related national and international authorities developing the European Higher Education Area and the European Area of Skills and Qualifications should work towards reducing the regulatory barriers against new non-study-time-based modes of provision.
  3. Member States should more strongly encourage HE and VET providers to improve and proceduralise their activity on Accreditation of Prior Learning.
  4. Larger Member States should set up an Open Accreditor to accredit students for HE studies and a parallel model, perhaps via ‘one stop shops’, to accredit vocational competences.

 Staff development

  1. Member States, with support from the Commission, should support the development of online initial and continuous professional development programmes for teachers/trainers/lecturers, focussing on online learning and intellectual property rights (IPR).
  2. Member States should consider the use of incentive schemes for teachers/trainers/lecturers engaged in online professional development of their pedagogic skills including online learning.

 OER and IPR

  1. The Commission and Member States should adopt and recommend a standard Creative Commons license for all openly available educational and vocational training material they are involved in funding.
  2. Member States should phase out use of the ‘NonCommercial’ restriction on content.

Costing and other research

  • Member States should increase their scrutiny of the cost basis for university teaching and vocational training and consider the benefits of different modes of funding for their institutions

 Focus on students

  1. Member States should promote (within the context of their sovereign educational aims and objectives) to adult learners the availability and accessibility of open resources created through their respective cultural sector and schools programmes.
  2. Specific funding should be devoted to building OER corpora of material in key topic areas of interest to adults. The corpora should be designed ideally for independent self-study, guided self-study (in both the formal and informal sector) and as resources to support lecturers teaching such courses. This maximises the investment in them. Rather than just ‘silent’ textual materials, the materials should contain audio-visual elements and, for hard to learn concepts, interactive components and quizzes. This to some extent will overcome the barriers that can be found to studying textual material by those whose reading skills in the national language(s) may be less adequate.

 Funding

  • The scarce funding for supporting adult learners should increasingly be targeted in an output-based fashion to reward adult learners for progression through the EQF. The accreditation gateways (one stop shops) could play a key role in this process. It is recognised that for this to work well, it needs a more developed and pervasive EQF than currently exists.

Language groupings

Language groupings where the languages are (a) either shared across borders or (b) are sufficiently similar to enable access (reading or listening for study purposes) from each country in the linguistic community, could include:
  1. the wider French, Dutch and German-speaking communities
  2. the groups of countries speaking the Continental Scandinavian, Balto-Finnic and Eastern Baltic groups of languages (Sweden/Norway/Denmark; Finland/Estonia; just possibly Lithuania/Latvia).
  3. within the wider set of European countries that can take part in the Erasmus+ Programme, some of the Slavic countries.
 

Adult Education and OER: conclusions and policy recommendations for Europe

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, Featured, mooc, OEP, oer, open educational resources, open-education, opening up education

This posting deals with the conclusions and policy recommendations from the Adult Education and Open Educational Resources study for the European Parliament, a 140-page “Study”, written by Sero, released on 15 October 2015. The Study reviews the current use of Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe (with a focus on Member States of the European Union), assesses its potential and makes recommendations for policy interventions, taking account of the European Commission’s policy frameworks and those developed by the European Parliament and relevant European agencies. The majority of the research was carried out in the first five months of 2015.
The Study incorporates an Annex (starting on p. 77) including new research on over 12 Member States (with a focus on UK, France, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Latvia, Germany and Romania), leveraging on a synthesis of existing research from a range of projects including POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) and a 2014-15 study on Shared OER for the Joint Research Centre, augmented by more recent OER-related studies (D-TRANSFORM and SEQUENT) from Sero and others for the Joint Research Centre, Erasmus+ and the Lifelong Learning Programme. The work also was able to draw on some of the country reports for OERup!

The main conclusions are:

  1. There is sufficient OER activity under way related to Adult Education that we felt confident in drawing conclusions; however, some conclusions are tentative and for others the evidence base (especially in terms of case studies) is weak.
  2. The topic of OER is most usefully considered within the wider topic of the use of ICT in Adult Education.
  3. Issues of quality and accreditation are in our view soluble, but we encourage European and national agencies to move faster to solve them.
  4. The issue of recognition of prior learning is again in our view soluble, but requires an element of specialised attention and faster progress in EQF, ECTS and credit transfer generally.
  5. The much-hoped cost savings are potentially achievable, but case study information is limited. Furthermore, the cost savings may be achievable only by making changes to the educational system which may be challenging in some Member States as an infringement on the role of institutions or the teachers within them. Trade-offs will be needed. Smaller states, and smaller autonomous regions within states (especially those with their own languages), may have difficulty in making these trade-offs.
  6. A range of actions is also possible with bilateral or language-specific multilateral collaborations between Member States. (Examples are given in the SharedOER report – see Language Groupings below.)

Policy recommendations come into several categories:

Quality and accreditation

  1. National quality agencies, with support from ENQA (for HE) and EQAVET (for VET) should develop their understanding of new modes of learning (including online,
    distance, OER and MOOCs) and ensure that there is no implicit non-evidencebased bias against these new modes.
  2. The Commission and related national and international authorities developing the European Higher Education Area and the European Area of Skills and Qualifications should work towards reducing the regulatory barriers against new
    non-study-time-based modes of provision.
  3. Member States should more strongly encourage HE and VET providers to improve and proceduralise their activity on Accreditation of Prior Learning.
  4. Larger Member States should set up an Open Accreditor to accredit students for HE studies and a parallel model, perhaps via ‘one stop shops’, to accredit vocational competences.

 Staff development

  1. Member States, with support from the Commission, should support the development of online initial and continuous professional development programmes for teachers/trainers/lecturers, focussing on online learning and intellectual property rights (IPR).
  2. Member States should consider the use of incentive schemes for teachers/trainers/lecturers engaged in online professional development of their pedagogic skills including online learning.

 OER and IPR

  1. The Commission and Member States should adopt and recommend a standard Creative Commons license for all openly available educational and vocational training material they are involved in funding.
  2. Member States should phase out use of the ‘NonCommercial’ restriction on content.

Costing and other research

  • Member States should increase their scrutiny of the cost basis for university teaching and vocational training and consider the benefits of different modes of funding for their institutions

 Focus on students

  1. Member States should promote (within the context of their sovereign educational aims and objectives) to adult learners the availability and accessibility of open resources created through their respective cultural sector and schools
    programmes.
  2. Specific funding should be devoted to building OER corpora of material in key topic areas of interest to adults. The corpora should be designed ideally for independent self-study, guided self-study (in both the formal and informal sector)
    and as resources to support lecturers teaching such courses. This maximises the investment in them. Rather than just ‘silent’ textual materials, the materials should contain audio-visual elements and, for hard to learn concepts, interactive components and quizzes. This to some extent will overcome the barriers that can be found to studying textual material by those whose reading skills in the national language(s) may be less adequate.

 Funding

  • The scarce funding for supporting adult learners should increasingly be targeted in an output-based fashion to reward adult learners for progression through the EQF. The accreditation gateways (one stop shops) could play a key role in this process. It is recognised that for this to work well, it needs a more developed and pervasive EQF than currently exists.

Language groupings

Language groupings where the languages are (a) either shared across borders or (b) are sufficiently similar to enable access (reading or listening for study purposes) from each country in the linguistic community, could include:
  1. the wider French, Dutch and German-speaking communities
  2. the groups of countries speaking the Continental Scandinavian, Balto-Finnic and Eastern Baltic groups of languages (Sweden/Norway/Denmark; Finland/Estonia; just possibly Lithuania/Latvia).
  3. within the wider set of European countries that can take part in the Erasmus+ Programme, some of the Slavic countries.
 

Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, oer, world

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.38.24 An interesting report about the landscape of open educational resources in Germany has been recently published. It can be translated as “Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany. The situation of open educational resources (OER) in Germany in schools, universities, vocational education and training in June 2015.” Wikimedia Germany led on compiling this report, with funds provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, thus showcasing an interesting cooperation. The report aims to analyse the reach and the role of OER at different educational levels (School, University, Hochschule (Other Tertiary Education Providers) and Vocational education) emphasising and addressing four key aspects: Quality assurance, Licensing and legal certainty, qualification models and business models. This report is one of the outcomes of the “Mapping OER” project, which allowed the exploration of the use and production of OER in Germany, considering that there has been a systematic growth in the development, creation and usage of OER in the last years in Germany. One of the interesting aspects of this report is that it highlights the positive potential impact of OER, on individual and collective learning approaches and activities, and relates its success in ensuring a more effective organisation of teaching by sharing the production of teaching and learning resources; however, the report also presents a series of challenges, concerns and questions regarding quality assurance, though intending to address these by proposing sustainable solutions. Also, this report reflects, within the German context, on issues regarding technical requirements for OER development and support, showcasing best practices and considering in its analysis more traditional education materials such as textbooks, thus describing and debating the current situation of OER in a comprehensive manner. The report can be accessed from http://l3t.eu/oer/images/band10.pdf We welcome comments from experts and practitioners in Germany.

Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, oer, world

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.38.24 An interesting report about the landscape of open educational resources in Germany has been recently published. It can be translated as “Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany. The situation of open educational resources (OER) in Germany in schools, universities, vocational education and training in June 2015.” Wikimedia Germany led on compiling this report, with funds provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, thus showcasing an interesting cooperation. The report aims to analyse the reach and the role of OER at different educational levels (School, University, Hochschule (Other Tertiary Education Providers) and Vocational education) emphasising and addressing four key aspects: Quality assurance, Licensing and legal certainty, qualification models and business models. This report is one of the outcomes of the “Mapping OER” project, which allowed the exploration of the use and production of OER in Germany, considering that there has been a systematic growth in the development, creation and usage of OER in the last years in Germany. One of the interesting aspects of this report is that it highlights the positive potential impact of OER, on individual and collective learning approaches and activities, and relates its success in ensuring a more effective organisation of teaching by sharing the production of teaching and learning resources; however, the report also presents a series of challenges, concerns and questions regarding quality assurance, though intending to address these by proposing sustainable solutions. Also, this report reflects, within the German context, on issues regarding technical requirements for OER development and support, showcasing best practices and considering in its analysis more traditional education materials such as textbooks, thus describing and debating the current situation of OER in a comprehensive manner. The report can be accessed from http://l3t.eu/oer/images/band10.pdf We welcome comments from experts and practitioners in Germany.

Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany

- October 21, 2015 in adulteducation, oer, world

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.38.24 An interesting report about the landscape of open educational resources in Germany has been recently published. It can be translated as “Mapping OER. Analysis of the current state of open educational resources (OER) in Germany. The situation of open educational resources (OER) in Germany in schools, universities, vocational education and training in June 2015.” Wikimedia Germany led on compiling this report, with funds provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, thus showcasing an interesting cooperation. The report aims to analyse the reach and the role of OER at different educational levels (School, University, Hochschule (Other Tertiary Education Providers) and Vocational education) emphasising and addressing four key aspects: Quality assurance, Licensing and legal certainty, qualification models and business models. This report is one of the outcomes of the “Mapping OER” project, which allowed the exploration of the use and production of OER in Germany, considering that there has been a systematic growth in the development, creation and usage of OER in the last years in Germany. One of the interesting aspects of this report is that it highlights the positive potential impact of OER, on individual and collective learning approaches and activities, and relates its success in ensuring a more effective organisation of teaching by sharing the production of teaching and learning resources; however, the report also presents a series of challenges, concerns and questions regarding quality assurance, though intending to address these by proposing sustainable solutions. Also, this report reflects, within the German context, on issues regarding technical requirements for OER development and support, showcasing best practices and considering in its analysis more traditional education materials such as textbooks, thus describing and debating the current situation of OER in a comprehensive manner. The report can be accessed from http://l3t.eu/oer/images/band10.pdf We welcome comments from experts and practitioners in Germany.

OER in Adult Education

- March 12, 2015 in #openeducationwk, adulteducation, Featured

Our next post for Open Education Week is from Sara Frank Bristow on the ADOERUP work to produce a “Note” (short briefing report) to the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee on the use and potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) for Adult Education/Adult Learning. This work supports the POERUP, Policies for OER Uptake previously posted about on this blog. saraSara Frank Bristow, founder of Salient Research, LLC, is a digital education researcher and writer based in Chicago, US. She is presently writing the UK Country Report for the Sero Consulting Ltd ADOERUP (Adult Education and Open Education Resources) study. Recent projects for Sero and other clients have focused on online, blended and open learning, with an emphasis on drivers, business and learning models for OER.

Adult Education and Open Education Resources

Adult learning is a vital component of the European Commission’s lifelong learning policy. It is essential to competitiveness and employability, social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development across Europe. The challenge is to provide learning opportunities for all, especially disadvantaged groups who need them most. It comprises formal, non-formal, and informal learning for improving basics skills, obtaining new qualifications, up-skilling, or re-skilling for employment. The demand for adult learning is increasing and the Commission is committed to helping all EU countries create adult learning systems characterised by flexibility, high quality, excellent teaching, and an enhanced role for local authorities, employers, social partners, civil society, and cultural organisations. In 2013 the European Commission published a communication on OER and MOOCs. This highlighted the potential of OER in adult learning. OER in fact make use of large scale digital technologies and the aim is to support a radical development of new teaching methodologies based on the use of ICT. The Communication emphasizes that, likewise, in adult learning ICT and OER offers huge potential for structural change. Therefore efficient tools and methodologies will prove decisive in handling future funding needs. In the Communication, the Commission mentions that it plans to create a new network called EPALE (Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe).

Coverage of the ADOERUP report

I am now working on a study to highlight the possibilities offered by the employment of OER with the overall aim to:
  • Review the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning, and
  • Make suggestions for possible action to be taken.
The study is thus expected to serve three distinct functions: Description, Assessment and Recommendations. With regard to the general objectives outlined above, the following general questions will be addressed and answered in the study:
  • What is the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning?
  • What possible actions may be taken in order to enhance the use of OER in adult learning?
While answering these general questions, a few more specific ones will be addressed, as well:
  • How can OER be integrated into certified courses provided to adult learners? What is their sustainability (in terms of work and funding)?
  • What quality aspects may be considered in the use of OER in adult learning? What quality assurance issues may be considered? How OER can improve the quality and efficiency of training and education in adult learning?
  • Is management of Creative Commons licenses specific and in what respect?
  • Do OER improve the knowledge base on adult learning and contribute to a better monitoring of the adult learning sector? If yes, how?
  • How OER can contribute to raising participation rates in adult education?
  • What are the implications for educational planners and decision-makers of use of OER in adult learning? In particular what issues of accreditation/validation of skills and competences acquired via OER could be considered?
  • How existing policy tools to support adult learning can best be used for the inclusion of OER?
  • What is the role of educational establishments (particularly universities) to design, plan and implement education based on OER?
The study will focus on: United Kingdom, Spain, France, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Germany.

Asking for help

Sero has been commissioned to do a report for the Education and Culture Committee of the European Parliament on OER in Adult Education in the EU. Obviously we shall leverage on POERUP and on three relevant studies done for IPTS but we want to make sure we are up to date with the last 6 months of information on important projects developing OER for use specifically in Adult Learning (rather than spilling over into Adult Learning) – across all educational sectors: key skills (numeracy, literacy, IT skills, etc), school-level qualifications for adults, Vocational Education and Training, and University Education in a Lifelong Learning context. We are particularly interested in the following Member States: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Latvia, but projects from any Member State are of interest. Of course we shall be asking POERUP project staff as well as our network of consultants and advisors but we want a broader range of input. For policy aspects I shall be talking in depth to authors of EU-level and Member State OER-related policy documents, to perform a realignment of POERUP-style recommendations to the Adult Learning/Lifelong Learning/Flexible Learning domain. Please contact Paul Bacsich if you are a local expert or policy expert with relevant information.