Open educational practices, or OEP, is a creative, innovative way of approaching instructional practice in which students engage in authentic, participatory learning. According to, ‘7 Things you should know about… Open Education: Practices’, it is the “use/reuse/creation of OER [Open Educational Resources] and collaborative, pedagogical practices employing social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners”, (2018). The goal of OEP is to broaden learning from a focus on access to knowledge, to a focus on access to knowledge creation.
A major benefit of OEP is the engagement of the learner in a learner-centered environment, and provision of authentic learning experiences. The level of engagement will positively affect the level of learning. Learning becomes transparent and obvious to both the learner and the teacher.
With increasing access to information through OER, learners have more control over their learning. Dr. Roberts stated that OEP utilizes previously untapped resources related to informal learning. With various technologically creative applications such as TikTok or Twitter, students have control over what they learn as well as influencing learning in others, such as through contributions to Wikipedia. The direct result of OEP is the opportunity to share learning, to network with like-minded individuals worldwide.
According to Wikipedia, there are challenges to OEP such as lack of adequate access to technology and/or internet. After an ECI831 class ‘breakout room’ discussion last evening, frustrations were identified in the school systems such as limited student access to ‘chromebooks’, limitations on what programs or applications were allowed in the school systems or on devices (Eg. Minecraft on Chromebooks), and super slow internet speeds which meant long waits for programs to even ‘load up’. There is a definite lack of technological training and support within both the primary and secondary school systems. Even if a wonderful new program is released, teachers need to receive adequate time for training as well as IT support.
The OEP model may not be suitable for all ages of students. Another issue that was voiced in our class group discussion, related to the primary school system, was lack of age-appropriate internet resources, especially for the younger students, such as in grade one. Additionally, teachers are not given adequate prep time to find appropriate resources.
I have experienced this lack of technological resources at Saskpolytech. I helped to develop an interactive open access nursing computer game, however in order to work on it, I had to bring my personal laptop to the office because no computers at school were advanced enough to run the program! It was very frustrating!
Thankfully, a current requirement of the Practical Nursing program is that students must own a, ‘personal electronic device’ such as a laptop, because all of our exams are now written using an online exam software program, Examsoft. Once we finished work on the computer game, most nursing students could ‘play’ the program using their own devices.
Another challenge to instituting OEP may be the required structured format of learning within many educational institutions. For example, in order to pass a Practical Nursing class (Post-secondary) or departmental exam (high school), specific pre-requisite learning goals must be met, and certain knowledge must be acquired. Unstructured forms of learning through OEP may not be suitable for every type of course.
I believe that OEP have a place in the pedagogy of learning, however, it is not something that can be rushed, or forced to occur. Both learners and teachers have to be open to the experience. More research has to be done; technological resources and support for teachers to learn how to implement OEP have to be provided by the school systems in order to make OEP a successful reality. Resources such as the Open Learning Design Intervention (OLDI) framework developed by Dr. Roberts will go a long way to assist teachers in the implementation of OEP.
OEP may be implemented in the future in small degrees, rather than in a whole curriculum. I’m sure teachers already implement many of the attributes of OEP as pictured in the following chart. I think it is more a matter of making student learning transparent and shared, as Dr. Roberts stated, to be defined as OEP.