Open learning presents a myriad of implications for both institutions and educators, which were investigated and mapped by ONL191 Group 12 in the Coggle diagram below.

Coggle Diagram

From the scenario:

I’m interested in opening up some of my courses and sharing the resources in a responsible way, but I don’t really know where to start. What options are there for offering courses that are open? How do I get support from my colleagues and how do I introduce the idea to my students? What are the opportunities and dangers of “going open”?

Our group explored the theme Practical Implications of Open Learning, which lead, in turn to three sub-themes:

  • Techniques for Structure and Discipline to Assist
  • Institutional Impact of Open Learning
  • Institutional Support

The transition to adopt Open Learning poses both institutions and educators new issues and consequences that need consideration…

A good learning program does not exist within a vacuum – it requires institutional and educator investment to ensure quality. Open Learning platforms need to be developed and maintained, instructors need to be trained and supported, students need to be engaged, and investment in Open Learning needs to derive value. Increasingly, privacy and ethics are also becoming significant factors impacting Internet services – including Open Learning.

In our group’s Journey in answering these questions, discussing our collective experiences, and trying out new tools, we note the many advancements and tools that are available today with more coming… for new entrants, there is a lot to learn, but the goals of Open Learning still lie close to the core of education – to engage the student and to impart knowledge.

Important concerns raised by our group include:

  • Open Learning exposes both the institution and the educator to public scrutiny – this is an important consideration from both a reputation and transparency perspective and when the quality and student experience is good, the impact to both is positive.
  • High course quality can generate interest in other courses.
  • Using technology that promotes student interaction and engagement adds value to the educational experience and improves student retention.
  • Open Learning can help close social gaps by making quality education available to more people in more places.
Traditional options for online learning focus on learning management systems – but there are new tools emerging that offer more opportunities for engaging students. Most offer free trial opportunities that allow educators to try out and experiment with. Institutions can offer training and seminars to help educators learn about and how to use technology in online learning. Instructors can both attend and put on workshops to share knowledge and experience, and to investigate new tools and techniques. Finally, students can be encouraged to use the tools and to get more engaged in the learning process.

Practical implications of open learning