Topic 2 – Embracing Open Learning and Nurturing Belonging

In the realm of open learning, the ethos of sharing and openness serves as a guiding principle, shaping the dynamics of collaborative knowledge exchange and fostering a sense of belonging within learning communities. Reflecting on my experience within a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) group in the Open Networked Learning (ONL) community, I’ve come to realize the profound significance of belonging and shared openness in cultivating a rich and fulfilling learning environment.

From the outset, the concept of open learning transcends traditional boundaries, inviting individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to converge in a space of collective exploration. Joining a PBL group within the ONL community meant stepping into a dynamic ecosystem where ideas flowed freely, and collaboration thrived. As we navigated through complex problems and co-constructed knowledge, the spirit of openness permeated every interaction, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and curiosity.

Central to the experience of open learning is the sense of belonging—a feeling of being valued, respected, and embraced within the learning community. Within my PBL group, this sense of belonging was palpable, manifesting in the camaraderie forged through shared challenges and triumphs. Whether brainstorming solutions or providing feedback, each member’s voice was not only heard but cherished, contributing to a collective sense of ownership and empowerment.

Moreover, the ethos of sharing lies at the heart of open learning, facilitating the dissemination of ideas, resources, and expertise across boundaries. Within our PBL group, sharing became second nature, as we exchanged insights, resources, and best practices to enhance our collective learning journey. From sharing relevant articles to co-creating multimedia presentations, each act of sharing served to enrich our understanding and strengthen our bonds as a learning community.

As I reflect on my journey within the PBL group and the broader ONL community, I am struck by the transformative power of open learning—of sharing, openness, and belonging. In a world characterized by rapid change and complexity, the ability to connect, collaborate, and co-create knowledge has never been more vital. Through embracing the principles of open learning, I am not only expanding my intellectual horizons but also forging lasting connections and finding a sense of purpose and belonging within a vibrant and inclusive learning community.


4 responses to “Topic 2 – Embracing Open Learning and Nurturing Belonging”

  1. Vesna Bulatović Avatar
    Vesna Bulatović

    I really enjoyed reading your post! It beautifully captures the essence of open learning – the power of shared exploration, belonging, and exchange of knowledge.

  2. Jonathan Phan Avatar
    Jonathan Phan

    Hi Rodrigo! I do especially agree with the sense of belonging that I’ve felt working with you and the group. I believe it has also to do with our shared responsibility and accountability, since we are able to make use of our various expertise to create one great deliverable after another. I would say that many “heads” make light work 🙂

  3. Jonathan Lian Avatar
    Jonathan Lian

    Hi Rodrigo, Thank you for sharing your post about open learning. Indeed, our PBL group has a strong sense of belonging and we are working well together. I like the picture that you have chosen which reflects this bond of sharing and strong community. JL

  4. Hi Rodrigo, this is Susan from PBL01. Thanks for sharing your reflection.

    I resonate with your takeaway on the sense of belonging and community experienced in the ONL sharing. Personally, listening to Maha Bali and reading her papers, especially the one she mentioned in her webinar (Mills, Bali & Eaton, 2023) have challenged me to share ideas, reflection on pedagogical challenges, and course design, with a larger community across institutions and disciplines. It is also through these communities that we can meaningfully make sense of changes confronting educators, like the trending generative AI and its impact on education.

    Openness also brings growth, for instance, just to get to know how other educators are responding and negotiating course design and student management with the changes. Through the sharing and discussion, I’ve also been reminded that the generosity and value of dialogue
    are keys to Open Educational Practices (OEP), itself more iterative, dynamic and broader than resources (Open Education Resources), because nothing beats hearing from the resource designers and users on adapted use and reflection on use.

    Thanks for sharing!


    Mills, A, Bali, M. and Eaton, L. (2023). How do we respond to generative AI in education? Open educational practices give us a framework for an ongoing process. Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 6(1). 16-30. DOI:

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