I started this week with a very basic question: What is Open Learning. As I researched, I discovered that Open Learning is not unlike blended learning, a topic about which I am familiar. Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, and Osterhout (2014) describe open learning as “learning that occurs in a shared and transparent manner in which others can reuse, revise, remix and/or redistribute the evidence of learning with others” (p. 2). Further reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute are the four practices when dealing with Open Education and Open Education Resources.
Open Education has three main values: student empowerment, authentic, active learning experiences, and focus on community (Collien, D., 2015). The goal of Open Learning is to utilize technology in a way that is beneficial for all and gives students control over their learning to intrinsically motivate students to want to learn. Open Learning contains various resources from full online courses to textbooks and videos (Graham, et al., 2014). The graphic from Forysthe, G. (2013) helped connect the dots between all these components.
I see great promise to Open Learning as it further emerges into education. Last year about this time, my current school was considering new approaches to attract middle school aged students and their families to enroll. One alternative that was discussed thoroughly was a blended-learning approach for those students. The idea presented described middle school students taking their core subjects online through distance programs with a teacher as a mediator to assist as needed. Other subjects, religion, music, P.E., etc., would be taken with students in the school. Ultimately our school did not choose this route; however, much of the work that our middle school students completed this past year was online. Each student was given a Chrome book and students were trained in using Google Docs. For part of the year, language arts was online through a program called Edgenuity. Math was online the whole year through Khan Academy.
Being a teacher at a small Catholic school has given me many opportunities to see these emerging philosophies of teaching. Further, having a principal whose background is technology has allowed me to see benefits of what emerging technologies can do for student learning. While I still require training in many areas, I see the benefits to giving students control. Student-centered learning has always been something that I value. The idea of open collaboration and working with others around the world is such a wonderful idea – bridging the gaps around the world and learning from others. Though the research is limited on K-12 Open Learning (Graham, et al., 2014), I only see Open Learning continuing to emerge in the world of education.
Collien, D. (2015). OpenLearning pedagogy and educational values. Retrieved May 24, 2015, from https://www.openlearning.com/Pedagogy
Forysthe, G. (2013). Open learning initiative: using learning science to iteratively improve course design. Retrieved May 24, 2014, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/9103802528
Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (2014). Open learning in K-12 online and blended learning environments. In HandBook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. ETC Press, Chapter 19.