eLearning Papers - Special edition 2008


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This special printed edition is a collection of five selected articles published during 2007/08 in the digital eLearning Papers. The editorial board has considered these articles of special interest to readers, and wishes to contribute with this initiative to the diffusion of knowledge and good practices in eLearning.

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eLearning Papers - Special edition 2008

  1. 1. eLearning Papers Promoting innovation in lifelong learning Special edition 2008 http:// www.elearningpapers.eu
  2. 2. Editorial Promoting innovation in lifelong learning Roberto Carneiro and Lluís Tarín Articles HELIOS: Redefining eLearning Territories Claudio Delrio and Thomas Fischer Observing the eLearning phenomenon: The case of school education. Analysing the transformative innovation of eLearning Nikitas Kastis Open Educational Resources and Practices Sandra Schaffert and Guntram Geser Communities of Practice and virtual learning communities: benefits, barriers and success factors Patricia Margaret Gannon-Leary and Elsa Fontainha Digital Inclusion: Best practices from eLearning David Casacuberta eLearning Papers eLearning Papers is a digital publication created as part of the elearningeuropa.info portal. The portal is an initiative of the European Commission to promote the use of multimedia technolo- gies and Internet at the service of education and training. Edition and production Name of the publication: eLearning Papers Edited by: P.A.U. Education, S.L. Postal address: P.A.U. Education, C/ Muntaner 262, 3º, 08021 Barcelona, Spain Telephone: +34 933 670 400 Editorial team coordination: Elina Jokisalo Email: editorial@elearningeuropa.info Internet: www.elearningpapers.eu The texts published in this journal, unless otherwise indicated, are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks 2.5 licence. They may be copied, distributed and broadcast provided that the author and the e-journal that publishes them, eLearning Papers, are cited. Com- mercial use and derivative works are not permitted. The full licence can be consulted on http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/deed.en 2 eLearning Papers | 2008
  3. 3. Editorial Promoting innovation in lifelong learning Since 2006, when the digital eLearning Papers was launched, we have brought to readers articles showcasing different topics related to ICT in lifelong learning. Different aspects of these topics have been presented in our themed issues: inclusive eLearning; blended learning projects and initiatives; quality aspects of eLearning; observing eLearning; learning in communities of practice and, recently, learning in intercultural environments. Articles are provided by the very readers of the elearningeuropa.info portal who are interested in disseminating their work among their peers through our publication. It is worth mentioning that eLearning Papers provides readers with a very special feature: full texts are available in English and executive summaries of each article are translated in 19 languages. Moreover, the open online access of the publication enables a wide dissemination and visibility of the selected essays. This special printed edition is a collection of five selected articles published during the past year in the digital eLearning Papers. The editorial board has considered these articles of special interest to readers, and wishes to contribute with this initiative to the diffusion of knowledge and good practices in eLearning. Use of ICT for learning and training provokes a wide interest among different stakeholders, not only for its innovative character and ability to present novelties, but also for its social impact. The article “HELIOS: Redefining eLearning Territories” shows precisely and clearly different areas of impact of eLearning. In fact, the classification by territories seeks to go beyond the classical divisions by sectors and describes the phenomenon as 12 territories that develop in a multidimensional way. The authors, Claudio Delrio and Thomas Fischer, define it the best: “Instead of focusing on unidirectional laws of evolution, taking a descriptive and inductive approach and attempting to insulate and spot coherent areas of eLearning, it is probably more appropriate to capture a multiform phenomenon such as eLearning.” The eLearning territories are like additional layers of differentiation and articulation of ICT in lifelong learning. This enables us to understand better actual dynamics and future developments of eLearning. Using the scheme and dynamics provided by eLearning territories, the article by Nikitas Kastis centres on the school environment and on how it is affected by the transforming innovation of eLearning. The described perspective takes into account three strategic evolution dimensions: that related to decision-making processes (running of schools); that related to accessibility level in relation to the achievement of a standard quality and, finally, the emerging inter-twinning fields of professional teacher development and the value chain of content. The territory of content is often associated with the effectiveness of learning. The article “Open Educational Resources and Practices” by Sandra Schaffert and Guntram Geser describes the OLCOS project (Open eLearning Content Observatory Services). The authors clearly present how open resources can turn into one of the key elements of learning and training processes. The innovative learning practices that relay on open access and exchange and evaluation of ideas reinforce without a doubt the creative aspects of collaborative learning among students. The collaborative creation of content and the exchange of open resources among learning communities is the true catalyst of learning innovations. Furthermore, virtual learning communities and communities of practice can be considered as one of the territories obtaining growing attention and interest in recent years. Patricia Gannon-Leary and Elsa Fontainha present in their article the nature of this kind of networks formed by people with similar interest areas and people who use Internet for communication. Undoubtedly communities of practice and learning communities face problems, especially in the initial phase; however, we are most certainly looking at a phenomenon that possesses a great social impact and with a long future. To conclude the issue, the article by David Casacuberta provides us with an insight into another key territory: social inclusion. The article “Digital Inclusion: Best practices from eLearning” describes the five most promising strategies to establish best practices for the use of eLearning in eInclusion. The battle against the digital gap has many fronts and all of them deserve the highest possible attention. We hope you enjoy reading these and the other articles always available at eLearning Papers! Roberto Carneiro, Lluís Tarín, Director of the Editorial Board, eLearning Papers Content Manager, elearningeuropa.info Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 1
  4. 4. HELIOS: Redefining eLearning Territories Claudio Delrio Researcher SCIENTER cdelrio@scienter.org Thomas Fischer Senior Researcher FIM-NewLearning, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg thomas.fischer@fim.uni-erlangen.de Executive summary: For a long time, the evolution of industrial society has been represented in terms of growing functional differentiation between different social spheres. According to this paradigm, the more a social phenomenon is developing, the more it moves from an undifferentiated nature to its distinction in different social spheres or systems, assuming varied functions in each of these. Thus, it could very well be true that the evolution of eLearning over recent years has corresponded to its functional differentiation. However, it is not possible to assume that the only divisions of evolution for eLearning are to be associated purely with functional differentiation in social sub-systems. Many other possible divisions are emerging (e.g. by sector, purpose and target group) and have contributed to a growing differentiation of eLearning. Moreover, technology enables an increasing number of scenarios of use; eLearning has been often associated to face to face learning in blended formats, and country-specific eLearning developments can be identified. Instead of focusing on unidirectional laws of evolution, taking a descriptive and inductive approach and attempting to insulate and spot coherent areas of eLearning, it is probably more appropriate to capture a multiform phenomenon such as eLearning. Therefore, this article presents the so-called ‘eLearning Territories’, created by the HELIOS consortium. The eLearning Territories are considered useful for several reasons: • They help to overcome views on purely functional differentiations of eLearning and its development; • They contribute to overcome the debate on the disappearance versus full deployment of eLearning, as it is argued that eLearning is at different evolutionary stages in different territories; • They provide a platform for dialogue for practitioners and policy-makers, and they are expected to nurture the research agenda of researchers; • They support networking, coordination and integration among sectoral, specialised and national observatories and projects; • They promote ‘benchlearning’, as they suggest a shift from comparative assessments towards reflective and adaptive analysis; • They therefore contribute to the identification and collection of relevant indicators on eLearning development and impact within each territory. • They can finally be used as a roadmap for e-earning developments, starting from a territorial, instead of an aggregating, position. Keywords: eLearning, eLearning Territories, evolution, mapping, observation Introduction assuming many forms’, is introduced to describe the In Greek mythology, Proteus is the son of Poseidon. He current eLearning phenomena. is blessed by the gift to be able to foretell the future, It can be argued that the evolution of eLearning over but first you have to catch him. This may be difficult recent years mirrors its ‘protean’ nature. And it is as he is also able to change his appearance into all furthermore difficult to predict in a univocal way possible forms. Hence the word ‘protean’, with the its evolution as it is taking many different forms in general meaning of ‘versatile’, ‘mutable’, ‘capable of 2 eLearning Papers | 2008
  5. 5. different contexts, settings and individual and societal developing a map of so-called ‘eLearning Territories’, ‘life worlds’. which are still “largely unexplored” (Salmon, 2002). Some of the eLearning territories are already in For long time social scientists as Émile Durkheim the consolidation phase, while others are currently (1893) conceptualised the continued development emerging. Some are clustered according to their of industrial society in terms of growing functional purpose, some other according to the education or differentiation among different social spheres. training sector in which they are mainly observable, and According to this paradigm, the more a social others are of more ‘transversal’ nature. Every territory phenomenon is developing, the more it moves from implies different visions and perceptions of eLearning, an undifferentiated nature to its distinction in different sometimes with rather permeable boundaries but also social spheres or systems (for instance the economic or with clear ‘identities’ that provide analytical ground for the political sphere) assuming varied functions in each differentiation. of these. All the emerging and consolidated territories of Following this theoretical approach, it might be indeed eLearning can be represented graphically according to true that the evolution of eLearning over recent years their position on a map defined by a first continuum has corresponded to its functional differentiation. ranging from formal learning to informal/non-formal Certainly eLearning takes different forms, for instance, learning (Commission of the European Communities, in different learning systems and their sub-systems (e.g. 2000; CEDEFOP, 2002, 2004). vocational training, corporate, education…). Some of the territories still reflect the traditional However, a purely functionalist approach is not articulation of learning systems into sectors and their sufficient to seize the poliedricity of eLearning in physiognomy is influenced, but not ‘overturned’ by complex societies (Luhmann, 1995). eLearning. In contexts such as ‘ICT for Learning Among the several criticisms that have been raised Purposes within Schools’ or in Vocational Education to the functionalist approach (Coser, 1977), one is and Training (VET), despite the introduction definitely central for eLearning: it is not possible of eLearning (indeed with a varying degree of to assume that the only cleavages of evolution for implementation) the vast majority of learning initiatives eLearning are to be associated purely with functional occur in a context that is organised and structured in differentiation in social sub systems. a substantially formal and ‘traditional’ way. On the other hand in territories as ‘Non professional eLearning Many other possible cleavages are emerging. Not only a Communities’ or in ‘Communities generating eLearning rich debate, numerous documented practice cases and as a side effect’, eLearning is usually not organised or a growing amount of literature have enhanced (and at structured, nor necessarily intentional from the learner’s the same time threatened) the concept of eLearning by perspective. One might therefore argue that informal associating it to more established modes of learning, eLearning (Conner, 2005; Cross, 2003;) sometimes giving origin to the so-called ‘blended’ learning circumscribed as ‘GoogleLearning’ defines the vast and approach. At the same time varying fields of application almost infinite universe of informal learning activities. (e.g. by sector, by purpose, by target group) have Moreover, especially in the territories in which informal contributed to a growing articulation and differentiation eLearning prevails, online services look increasingly of eLearning. Moreover, these developments take place centred on their users, or even are co-built with users, in a context where technology enables an increasing supported by the emergence of open source software number of scenarios of use. Finally, country specific and contents (such as ‘Second Life’, ‘creative commons’, eLearning developments can be identified (Danish ‘YouTube’ or ‘Flickr’). Successful blogs, vlogs, podcasts, Technological Institute, 2004; L-CHANGE, 2004; virtual communities and forums are indeed those, Demunter, 2005, 2006; HELIOS, 2006). which are created bottom-up by individual or groups of ‘netizens’ (Tapscott, 1999; Downes, 2005; Stephenson, How to catch ‘proteus’ eLearning in contem- 2005; Veen, 2005) and not imposed from the top. porary societies? Another discriminating cleavage or continuum which Instead of focusing on presumably unidirectional laws may be useful for mapping eLearning territories is of evolution taking a descriptive and inductive approach the distinction between ‘intra-muros’ embodying and attempting to insulate and spot ‘coherent areas’ of the transition to a virtual environment of a group eLearning, not necessarily corresponding to traditional established in presence, and ‘extended learning context’, segmentations related to the functional differentiation representing a diversification of learning contexts, paradigm, seems to be more adequate. settings, persons and organisations involved. The HELIOS consortium (HELIOS, 2006) attempts to There is nowadays a widespread pressure on learning escape simplistic views of eLearning differentiation by systems towards openness, internationalisation, Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 3
  6. 6. enrichment and increasing boundlessness of learning learning and the improved flexibility of the learning contexts. Along these lines, the extension of eLearning delivery, there is an increasing societal diversification contexts corresponds, for instance, to such trends as of ‘learning patrimonies’ (POLE, 2004) or learning the increase of international virtual mobility exchanges contexts surrounding learning experiences. This and the multiplication of learning spaces and arenas diversification can be seen on the basis of such elements (Stephenson, 2005; LEONIE, 2005). as (Sheinberg, 2001): The extension of learning contexts should be also • Physical features: age, gender, disabilities; appreciated in the framework of the Lifelong Learning (LLL) paradigm. Due to the increased participation in • Educational background: fields of study, degrees earned, digital literacy; Figure 1: HELIOS Map of eLearning Territories Informal Learning Individual Development through eLearning Communities generating eLearning as a side effect Non-professional eLearning at the eLearning Virtual Professional Workplace Communities Networks Extended Intra-muros Learning Context ICT for Learning Purposes Inter-organisational in VET Institutions Development through eLearning ICT for Learning Purposes within schools ICT for Virtual Mobility of Learnes ICT for Learning Purposes Training of Teachers and within Tertiary Education Trainers on (and through) eLearning Evolved Distance Education Formal Learning 4 elearningpapers | 2008
  7. 7. • Cultural background: language, place of origin, which have been developed within the classroom traditions, sensitive subjects, migration status or within the institutional context of the learning experience. • Occupational background: experience, time in current job, relationships with other participants; In summary, it can be argued that a discriminating choice for present and future eLearning is either to • Psychological variables: needs, intentions, go deeper (i.e. maintain, develop and reinforce the expectations, motivation. relational ties created intra-muros) or to go wider The whole notion personalised eLearning experiences (i.e. allowing to expand relational networks beyond is based on considerations on these fundamental organisational and social cultures as well as geographic contextual elements. boundaries). On the other hand, the diversification of learning The positioning of the eLearning territories represented contexts has not meant the disappearance of classrooms in the following map (see Figure 1) depends on the and institutions. With regard to eLearning, this could proximity of each territory to the identified cardinal imply the change of a school setting or a working group points i.e.: informal versus formal learning and ‘intra created in presence (or ‘intra-muros’) into a virtual muros’ versus ‘extended learning context’. environment. The most common dynamic of blended The ‘eLearning territories’ approach therefore advocates learning is transformation: group formed in presence additional layers of differentiation and articulation and within the boundaries of a single institution or in order to better understand the present and future a number of institutions develops on-line with the dynamics of eLearning. possibility of further physical moments. In these situations, eLearning does not serve the purpose of The main territorial features are described in Table 1 going beyond traditional/institutional learning contexts, together with current and emerging trends observable but helps to maintain the social (and emotional) ties, in different countries. eLearning Territory Main Characteristics ICT for Learning Use of ICT for learning within school settings. The range of institutions covered by the term Purposes within varies from country to country. The term school refers to primary schools (sometimes divided Schools even further into pre-schooling and junior schools) and secondary schools. The applications of eLearning within schools can take several forms: activities enabled through ICT conducted into classroom or at a distance (e.g. e-Homework); activities led by teachers or organised by learners’ group, activities involving a single classroom or classroom networks, school e-twinning, etc (L-CHANGE, 2004; EUN, 2007). ICT for Learning Use of ICT for learning in universities, colleges etc., which may lead to an academic degree, and Purposes within in research centres. The applications of eLearning can take several forms, ranging from lectures Tertiary Education placed on line by a single teacher, to the dual mode or mixed mode (institutions offering programmes for both campus-based full-time students and off-campus part-time students), to the provision of degrees entirely on line. Even students or the faculty/teachers or even the university or region/country can lead initiatives (Bang & Dondi, 2001; L-CHANGE, 2004; PLS, 2004; SEEQUEL, 2004; OECD, 2005; Stephenson, 2005). ICT for Learning Vocational Education and Training (VET) prepares learners for careers or professions that are Purposes in VET historically non-academic, but rather related to a trade, occupation or ‘vocation’, in which the Institutions learner participates (or aiming at). Vocational education is in most cases a form of secondary or post-secondary education. In some cases, vocational education can lead to tertiary education study and an academic degree, however it is rarely considered in its own form to fall under the traditional definition of higher education. eLearning in the vocational training settings encompasses ways of delivery similar to those endorsed in school education or higher education, or to those endorsed in the corporate sector (i.e. eLearning chunks on demand/on the job). In any case the most significant ‘trait d’union’ of the majority of eLearning application into VET is the competence based approach, directed at current and likely future jobs, duties and tasks within an occupation or industry (CEDEFOP, 2002; Kearns, 2002; L-CHANGE, 2004; Snook, 2004). Table 1: Main Characteristics of the HELIOS eLearning Territories Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 5
  8. 8. eLearning Territory Main Characteristics eLearning at the Use of ICT for learning into the corporate sector and the public administration/agencies. Workplace Differences in the scope and in the delivery schemes of eLearning, between the public and the corporate sector, prevail mainly due to the organization structures and practices and the related human resources policies. In general, eLearning may take the form of structured training programmes fully on-line or blended schemes (complemented with seminar/ classroom based training), eLearning chunks on demand/on the job. The driving concerns related to most of these eLearning offers are the return on investment (emerging also in the public sector), the increased access and flexibility in training delivery, the contribution of the eLearning in achieving organisational change and fostering knowledge management practices. In this territory the slow emergence of “communities of practice” approaches is also observable in the most sophisticated organisations (Argyris & Schön, 1978; Kearns, 2002; Crompton & Munro, 2003; Piskurich, 2003; L-CHANGE, 2004; Snook, 2004; Stephenson, 2005). ICT for Virtual Virtual mobility is considered an instrument for internationalisation, learning, working, etc., Mobility of Learners further contributing to the integration of the European area. Virtual mobility has been at the heart of open and distance learning (ODL) projects of the European Commission since the second half of the 90s but its full scale development depends, to a large extent, on the establishment of strategic partnerships among education and training institutions focused on research collaboration and curriculum development. Constituting elements of virtual mobility are: trans-national lectures and/or learning materials, cross-border recruitment of students, intensity of communication flows, the international accreditation of learning achievements, the multilingualism, complementary to both physical mobility and conventional teaching (Bang & Dondi, 2001). Evolved Distance According to its original definition, distance education takes place when a teacher and his/ Education her student(s) are separated by physical distance, whereby technology means, often in concert with face-to-face communication, is used to bridge this gap. Distance education programs can provide adults with a second chance at a college education, reach those disadvantaged by limited time, distance or physical disability, and update the knowledge base of workers in on-the-job training schemes. The evolution of distance education is mainly featured by the wide adoption of ICT, as delivery means (by the “traditional” distance universities and distance learning organisations), as well as at the institutional level, through the ‘birth’ of a new generation of organisations exclusively offering distance and open education, in particular at the university level (e.g. UOC). Training of Teachers In the foreseeable future teachers and trainers will make even more use of ICT for professional and Trainers on (and activities including lesson planning and preparation of didactic materials, recording learning through) eLearning progress of the students and other administrative tasks, as well as their own professional development and continuing education. Many governments are investing in preparing teachers and trainers for a ‘technologically rich’ future: enabling them to acquire proficiency in using technology for education purposes and also challenging their pedagogic practice (Papert & Cavallo, 2000; L-CHANGE, 2004, EUN, 2007). Individual Individual development through eLearning includes ‘home learning’ as a whole, ranging Development from education to training related activities, together with any other technology-enhanced through eLearning learning activities not necessarily mediated by formal E&T institutions, in a ‘Lifelong Learning’ (LLL) perspective (Commission of the European Communities, 2000; Conner, 2005; Cross, 2003; Downes, 2005; eUSER, 2005; HELIOS, 2006; Tapscott, 1999). Virtual Professional A professionally oriented virtual community is geared towards professionals and/or facilitates Networks the dialogue on professional issues. Professionals participate in this type of communities, in order to contact each other and exchange information with people outside their own team or organization who require similar information to carry out their own (professional) duties. In these communities learning is sometimes intentionally generated in order to achieve professional development goals (although non professionally related learning might be a side effect; Brown & Duguid, 1991; Kearns, 2002; Piskurich, 2003; O’Murchu et al, 2004) 6 elearningpapers | 2008
  9. 9. Inter-organisational Inter-organisational development can be described as a cooperative relationship between Development organisations that relies on neither market nor hierarchical mechanism of control but through eLearning it is instead negotiated in an ongoing communicative process. Collaboration between organizations has come into focus in recent years with the recognition that success in a global economy comes from innovation and sharing of ideas. The more change there is in its environment, the more connections an organization needs with the outside world. eLearning, given the networking possibilities that it enables, is increasingly used for the purpose of inter- organisational development (Argyris & Schön, Rashford & Coghlan, 1987; Senge, 1994; Piskurich, 2003; Holmqvist, 2003). Non-professional Non-professional learning communities can be found, for instance, in the areas of E&T, eLearning if learning is shifted to the ‘virtual space’. They can be created by training providers as Communities a complement of a course or by grassroots initiatives due to a common personal (non- professional) interest. Their learning purpose is explicitly perceived and agreed by all members of the community, although not necessarily leading to formal recognition. Learning taking place in these communities might contribute to the development of skills and competences for the workplace, but also for private and social life (Conner, 2005; Cross, 2003; Downes, 2005; eUSER, 2005; HELIOS, 2006; Tapscott, 1999). Communities These virtual communities do not foresee learning as their main objective. Establishing a generating relationship to other members of these communities is prompted first and foremost by eLearning as a side a common interest or common value commitment resulting from either geographical or effect intellectual proximity, demographic similarity, common hobbies, belonging to the same NGO or charity, to name a few. These communities may take the form of popular chat rooms, blogs, fora where informal learning takes place (Conner, 2005; Cross, 2003; Downes, 2005; eUSER, 2005; HELIOS, 2006; Tapscott, 1999). Table 1: Main Characteristics of the HELIOS eLearning Territories Conclusions (Ritzel, 2006) as it is argued that eLearning is at a The presented analysis and the findings of HELIOS different evolutionary stages in different ‘territories’; until today are not all suggesting an ‘atomisation’ • They provide a platform for dialogue for of eLearning as none of the introduced ‘eLearning practitioners and policy makers, and it is expected to Territories’ should be conceived as insulated nurture the research agenda of researchers; areas with impermeable and static boundaries, but implies that further research is needed on the • They support networking, coordination and interdependencies and interactions of territories and integration among sectoral, specialised and national their contextualisation into learning patrimonies. observatories and projects; Neither should be excluded that new eLearning • They promote ‘benchlearning’ as they suggest to shift territories may emerge and replace those proposed from comparative assessments towards reflective and or significant re-restructuring or restructuring of adaptive analysis; eLearning territories may take place. Moreover, different representations and descriptions of the • They therefore contribute to the identification variety of present eLearning developments are equally and collection of relevant indicators on eLearning plausible. development and impact within each ‘territory’. However, the articulation of ‘eLearning Territories’ • They can finally be used as a roadmap for eLearning and their assessment and analysis by the HELIOS developments starting from a territorial instead of an eLearning Observatory as they evolve over time are aggregating position. considered useful for several reasons: As ‘proteus’, eLearning is able change its appearance • They help to overcome views on purely functional easily, rapidly and steadily. The trends listed above differentiations of eLearning and its development; enframe current snapshots on eLearning as ‘eLearning Territories’, in order to achieve a more valid picture of • They contribute to overcome the debate on the the current state of play as well as the possible future disappearance versus full deployment of eLearning of eLearning. Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 7
  10. 10. References ➜ Argyris, C. & Schön, D. (1978). Organizational learning. A theory of action perspective, Reading: Addison Wesley ➜ Bang, J. & Dondi, C. (2001): The Challenge of ICT to University Education: Networking, Virtual Mobility and Collaborative Learning. In Trindade, A. (Ed.). New Learning: Invited Articles of the Conference ODL Networking for Quality Learning, Lisbon: Universidade Aberta, 380-418. ➜ Brown, J. & Duguid, P. (1991). Organizational learning and toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation. In Organization Science, 1991, 2(1), 40-57 ➜ CEDEFOP (2002). ELearning and training in Europe: A survey into the use of eLearning in training and professional development in the European Union, Thessalonica: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training ➜ CEDEFOP (2004). Terminology of vocational training policy. A multilingual glossary for an enlarged Europe, Thessalonica: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training; http://www2.trainingvillage.gr/etv/publication/download/panorama/4030_6k.pdf ➜ Commission of the European Communities (2000). A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning. Commission Staff Working Paper SEC (2000) 1832, Brussels: Commission of the European Communities; http://www.bologna-berlin2003.de/pdf/MemorandumEng.pdf ➜ Conner, M. L. (2005). Informal Learning, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.agelesslearner.com/intros/informal.html ➜ Coser, L.A. (1977). Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, Long Grove: Waveland Press ➜ Crompton, P. & Munro, J. (2003). Assessing the Application of Online Learning in a Work-Based Setting, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.theknownet.com/ict_smes_seminars/papers/Crompton.html ➜ Cross J. (2003). Informal Learning – A Sound Investment, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_col_effectiveness.asp?articleid=277&zoneid=104 ➜ Cross J. (2003). Informal Learning – the other 80%, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.internettime.com/Learning/The%20Other%2080%25.htm ➜ Danish Technological Institute (2004). Study of the eLearning suppliers’“market” in Europe. Final Report, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/elearning/doc/studies/market_study_en.pdf ➜ Demunter, C. (2005). Internet activities in Europe. Statistics in Focus 40/2005. Luxemburg: EUROSTAT; http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-NP-05-040/EN/KS-NP-05-040-EN.PDF ➜ Demunter, C. (2005). The digital divide in Europe. Statistics in Focus 38/2005. Luxemburg: EUROSTAT; http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-NP-05-038/EN/KS-NP-05-038-EN.PDF ➜ Demunter, C. (2006). How skilled are Europeans in using computers and the Internet? Statistics in Focus 17/2006. Luxemburg: EUROSTAT; http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-NP-06-017/EN/KS-NP-06-017-EN.PDF ➜ Downes, S. (2005). ELearning 2.0, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=articles&article=29-1 ➜ Durkheim, E. (1893). The Division of Labor in Society, New York: The Free Press; reprint in 1997 ➜ EUN (2007). Equipped, trained … and now what? Trends and issues in eLearning in European school systems, Brussels: European Schoolnet; http://insight.eun.org/ww/en/pub/insight/misc/specialreports/elearningtrends.htm ➜ eUSER (2005). D 5.1: First Synthesised Inputs to Knowledge Repository, Including Initial Survey Results and Good Practice Examples. and eUSER (2005). D 3.2: User needs, preferences and requirements concerning European online services – a descriptive analysis of the EUSER population surveys. Bonn: empirica. URL: http://www.eusereu.org/eUSER_PopulationSurveyStatistics.asp?MenuID=73 ➜ HELIOS (2006). Evolving eLearning. HELIOS Yearly Report 2005/2006. Brussels: MENON Network EEIG; http://www.education-observatories.net/helios/reports ➜ Holmqvist, M. (2003). Intra- and inter-organisational learning processes: an empirical comparison. In Scandinavian Journal of Management, 2003, 19 (4), 443-466. 8 elearningpapers | 2008
  11. 11. ➜ Kearns, P. (2002). Towards the Connected Learning Society. An International Overview of Trends in Policy for Information and Communication Technology in Education, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.dest.gov.au/archive/highered/otherpub/towards_the_connected.pdf ➜ L-CHANGE (2004). Change in European Education and Training Systems related to Information Society Technologies (IST). Yearly Report 2003/2004, Bologna: SCIENTER; http://www.education-observatories.net/lchange ➜ LEONIE (2005). Understanding Change, Adapting to Change, Shaping the Future. Change Drivers, Trends & Core Tensions for European Learning Systems & Educational Policies, Brussels: MENON Network EEIG; http://www.education-observatories.net/leonie/outputs/LEONIE_Report_2006.pdf ➜ Luhmann, N. (1995). Social systems, Stanford: Stanford University Press ➜ O’Murchu, I., Breslin, J. G., Decker S. (2004). Online Social and Business Networking Communities, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.deri.ie/fileadmin/documents/DERI-TR-2004-08-11.pdf ➜ OECD (2005). ELearning in Tertiary Education: Where do We Stand, Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ➜ Papert, S. & Cavallo, D. (2000). Entry Point to Twenty First Century Learning, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://learning.media.mit.edu/learninghub.html ➜ Piskurich G. M. (Ed.) (2003). The AMA Handbook of ELearning. Effective Design, Implementation, and Technology Solutions. Boston: American Management Association ➜ PLS (2004), Studies in the Context of the ELearning Initiative: Virtual Models of European Universities, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.eLearningeuropa.info/extras/pdf/virtual_models.pdf ➜ POLE (2004). Technologies for the Knowledge Society & Lifelong Learning. Key Findings and Suggestions for Action. Brussels: MENON Network EEIG; http://www.education-observatories.net/pole/key_report_web.pdf ➜ Rashford, N.S., & Coghlan, D. (1987). Enhancing human involvement in organizations - a paradigm for participation. In Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 1987, 8(1), 17-21 ➜ Ritzel, L. (2006). eLearning is Learning, retrieved from http://www.prasena.com/public/eLearning%20is%20Learning.doc ➜ Salmon, G. (2002). Future Learning Encounters, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.solki.jyu.fi/eurocall2002/eurocallencounters.pdf ➜ SEEQUEL (2004). SEEQUEL Core Quality Framework, Brussels: MENON Network EEIG; http://www.education-observatories.net/seequel/SEEQUEL_core_quality_Framework.pdf ➜ Senge P. M. (1994). The Fifth Discipline. The Art and Practice of the Learning Organizations. New York: Currency Doubleday ➜ Sheinberg, M. (2001). Know Thy Learner: The Importance of Context in ELearning Design, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2001/oct2001/elearn.html ➜ Snook, A. (2004). The future is ‘e’, , retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.eLearningzone.co.uk/feature7.htm ➜ Stephenson, S. (2005). Putting the Learner First in eLearning, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.johnstephenson.net/js-isel05.pdf ➜ Tapscott, D. (1999). The Rise of the Net Generation. Growing up Digital, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.growingupdigital.com ➜ Veen, W. (2005). 2020 Visions, retrieved March 10, 2007 from http://www.global-learning.de/g-learn/downloads/veen_visions2020.pdf Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 9
  12. 12. Observing the eLearning phenomenon: The case of school education. Analysing the transformative innovation of eLearning Nikitas Kastis President MENON Network nikitas.kastis@menon.org Executive summary: Over the past 25 years, the school sector has been the promising area for public policies and funding activities, as well as for commercial interests, to increase the availability of ICT in education. From the years when the questions basically addressed the needs of piloting innovations in the learning process, the international discourse about the impact of ICT on the outcomes of school education has gradually taken on a more mature and purposeful approach whereby the necessary changes that characterise interrelations with decision-making in education as well as with out-of-school developments are currently being taken into account. These interrelations have been greatly affected by the ICT penetration of society at large, implying a holistic approach to the evolution in learning at school level as regards the education outcome and its long-term impact on growth and social inclusion. A lot of public spending took place, in the form of subsidies for the development of end-products or funding of pilot products (mainly off-line) at both the national and the European level. Nevertheless, although there are not any well-documented surveys regarding the returns in terms of quality and effectiveness of learning, it seems that these targeted content applications have been put to use only marginally in school curricula. In the meantime, the changes in digital content (business) models, brought about by the continuous enhancement of Internet-based services, which are revolutionising the content services markets, are further undermining the traditional paradigm of knowledge building at school (from a straightforward “push” to a blended “push-pull-push” model). This means that the availability of hardware (infrastructure) and the (sometimes) abundance of textbook-like digital content (the fallacy of “new” textbooks in the electronic era) do not appear to be sufficient to cater for advanced, enriched and innovative learning experiences, thus marginalising any returns on investments. We have hereby considered three strategic evolution dimensions: that related to the decision-making processes (running of schools); that related to the accessibility level in relation to the achievement of a standard quality and, finally, the emerging inter-winning fields of professional teacher development and the value chain of content (knowledge) as it cuts across the traditional fragmentation between the “creator” and the “consumer” of “knowledge” . Keywords: Schools, innovation, education School Education: the Primary to the last grades of the Secondary Education the territory and social priorities (Upper Secondary). During the last 20-25 years, starting from the early ‘80s, computers and later on networking The term School Education refers to any form of learning and communication technologies have continuously - that takes place at the age between 4-6 years and 17-19 and in waves - been installed in schools, following their years old. According to the dominant paradigm in the widespread adoption and penetration in almost all other last century (20th), in all developed societies, any type of social contexts. These installed ICT resources are being learning offer, covering subjects and programs, curricula characterized by widely varying usage rates and even and textbooks, or learning setting, basically school-based, more varying returns, in terms of both the quality of the including those from age to subject-structured school learning process as well as the learning achievements and classes and project teams - or even those taking the form the education attainment. of home-based learning (‘home schooling’) -, all these are to much extent prescribed, regulated and more often Evidently, in these 25 years, the school sector has been directed by the country/region education authorities, the promising area for public policies and funding in the form of national or sometimes local curricula activities as well as for those commercial interests aiming as well as through the established practice of teaching at increasing the availability - and hopefully use - of ICT (“patrimony”) in the relevant school system. in education at large. Moving from those early years on, when the research questions were basically addressing There has already been a lot of research on the the needs of piloting and validation of innovations in the introduction, use and the potential impact of the micro-setting, the learning process, as it happened with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the CAL (Computer Aided Learning) and other similar learning which takes place or is related to schooling, from initiatives, at present the international discourse about 10 eLearning Papers | 2008
  13. 13. the rationale of the introduction, use and, eventually, classrooms. The so-called infrastructure availability and the impact of ICT on the outcomes of school education, access has always been the major – in fact in most of has gradually reached a more mature and purposeful the times the only - concern of all governments and the approach. Whereby, the necessary changes which EU itself, in the context of the Lisbon Process (and the characterize the interrelations with the operational Education and Training 2010 Objectives). As regards aspects and decision-making in education as well as with particularly this policy priority, some countries, like the the outside-school developments, in the content services ones of Southern Europe, had to go a long way in order and entertainment (the “home market”), are currently to bring their gap towards the Nordic countries and the being taken into account more systematically. UK into a reasonable range (see references about the latest figures, for the year 2002-3). These interrelations, between the micro-level, the learning process – sometimes described by the term Nevertheless, relevant progress in this area, as measured “school practice” - and the macro-level, when referring to nowadays with the “famous” pupils-per-networked- policies and action planning for the running of the school computer ratio, seems not to be enough in order to system (education policy), have been greatly affected facilitate the foreseen changes in schools (upgrade of by the ICT penetration in the society at large. Thus, the quality of the learning process and the outcome). implying or better asking for a holistic approach to the To this ‘under-performance’ we should also add the still analysis and understanding of the evolutions in learning problematic objective of sustaining a quantity and quality at school level, the changes in terms of the education threshold of access to ICT resources, which turns to be “outcome” and their long-term impact on growth and a rather expensive exercise for the public authorities – social inclusion (the social and individual values, the new for the maintenance cost as well as the hardware and ‘balance’ between the public and private sphere, the social software upgrades. mobility etc.). Apart from the main objective (“pillar”) of the Emerging Trends and Developments infrastructure availability – which is actually only partly defining the accessibility level (the access to learning The types of institutions defined by or using the term resources) -, most of the self-respected education policies School does not vary a lot, at least in the European Union in EU member states addressing the school sector in the area. The term is used when referring to the pre-tertiary last 15 years, have dealt with the “digital learning content education establishments, which are either Primary availability”, usually subsidising the cost (‘paying for’) (and nursery) schools or Secondary schools (Lower the develop ment and piloting of so-called “educational” Secondary, ages 13-15 yrs and Upper Secondary, ages software. It used to be and still is, at least for some of 16-18/19 years). All of them are in most cases run by the them, another demanding and controversial area of state or by other forms of socially accountable entities, intervention and expanding policy making. like the municipalities or local educational authorities. The private sector has a rather marginal existence in There has been a lot of public spending in the form of some EU countries, mainly for purpose or target specific either subsidies to the development cost of end-products schools (like faith schools, etc.). Greece corresponds to (in the eligibility margins of the competition regulatory an exception, as the system although dominated by the framework) or in the form of funding of pilot products public school sector allows for the existence of tightly (mainly off-line), under research and development regulated private (in fact profit making!) entities offering support frameworks, at both the national and the school education (i.e. they own and run schools). European level. The driving objective being always the facilitation of a rich and expanding “pool” of quality The applications of eLearning in School Education can digital learning materials, in order to provide the school take several forms, ranging from the activities enabled communities with more demanding than “drill and through ICT, conducted in the classroom, to those at practice” software with really engaging multimedia titles, a distance (e.g. e-homework). Or, even more, from the using cultural and scientific content of high value from activities addressing the teachers to those engaging the across Europe. Nevertheless, although there are not any pupils and, from national programmes to grassroots well-documented surveys as of the returns, in terms of initiatives involving only one school class and, finally, to quality and effectiveness of learning, it seems that these virtual mobility programmes of school teachers and pupils. targeted content applications have only found a rather The advancements of ICT have usually been transferred marginal use in the school curricula. to basically only technical enhancements in ICT-for- In the meantime, the changes in the digital content learning (eLearning) infrastructures in schools, thus development and publishing (business) models, brought constituting the driving concern of waves of public about by the continuous enhancement of the Internet- spending, in order to support widely accepted policies that based services which takes place in the last 10 years were to sustain the availability of computers and, later and is still revolutionizing the content services markets, on, of networking in the European schools and the school are further undermining the traditional paradigm of Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 11
  14. 14. knowledge building in the school (from a straight “push” In the following, we come to foster the critical to a blended “push-pull-push” model). Meaning that, components of successful (effective) policy making and whichever availability of hardware (infrastructure) and the flourishing practice, through the reference to certain (sometimes) abundance of textbook-like digital content cases of innovative and sometimes successful policies (the fallacy of the “new” text-books in the “electronic era”), and projects from across Europe. We tried to point to these do not seem enough to cater for advanced, enriched government initiatives or even school-driven projects, and innovative learning experiences, thus marginalizing which have either been completed successfully or provide the returns of the relevant investments. evidence of a long-term impact on future evolutions in the school system (e.g. the change of the role of A common mantra as regards the rational approach the teacher, the consolidation of new service delivery to policy-making and design for the introduction of schemes to schools, etc.) ICT-driven innovations in the school system used to go about focusing on all the three lines (areas) of potential Observing the Change: action, namely infrastructure (“equipment”), learning materials (“content”) and teachers preparation (training, Is Innovation taking place? the “human factor”). And, going even further, including We have considered three critical, strategic dimensions recommendations as regards the split of the available which should be brought to the attention of both education resources, with the “golden rule” of allocating a third to analysts (researchers) and policy makers. We start with each action line. This is leading us to the most problematic what has to do with the decision-making processes policy area as regards the ICT-for-learning in School and the running of schools, then we proceed with the Education, which is related to the “human factor”, the dimension of the accessibility level in relation to the school teachers. attainment of a standard quality (as regards “access”) and, finally, the dimension that defines the emerging inter- Although teachers have historically been considered the winning fields of teacher professional development and the critical factor for the success of any type of innovation in value chain of content (“knowledge”), as it cuts across the education, it seems that both the scale and the potential traditional fragmentation between the “creator” and the effect of the ICT-driven changes in school education “consumer” of the “knowledge”. go beyond the capacity of the education system, which has to sustain an ever increasing level of quantity and • The competitive advantage of the autonomy at quality of the “teacher” factor (the “teaching capacity”), school or local level considered enough to address the continuous increase From the extended review of the ICT-for-learning of the demand for learning in our societies. The school policies and activities in the EU, it seems that those education systems, with different reasons to look for in countries that are running a rather decentralized the developed and the developing parts of the world, are school system, whereby autonomy in decision-making facing an intensifying problem of relative decrease of concerning the curriculum, school program, equipping, the teachers’ professional development capacity, which etc., is high, as it is in the case of the Nordic countries, the constitutes a challenge of the 21st century societies UK and the Netherlands, show a comparative progress. when considering the impact on the provision of school This progress has to do with an increased and more education and the effects on the social inclusion policies demanding use of ICT in the learning process. In the as well as on the productivity and the economic growth. HELIOS Comparative Analysis Report (an Observatory Action run by the MENON Network, www.menon.org), In most of the widely acknowledged papers and research these countries usually correspond to the “champions” work, the impact of ICT on the learning processes of eLearning and, as in most of the cases, they provide implies significant changes of the role (job) of the a policy-making practice that goes with a systematic teacher, asking for an increased capacity for strategic evaluation work, accompanying any type of action and thinking, motivation and leadership and collaborative- introduction of innovation. What is also very interesting, communication potential, in order to provide mentoring in these school systems, as documented by the PISA in new forms of learning experiences for her/his students. results, only a small part of the variation of the testing In this evolutionary context, how could we define “good performance among the students can be attributed to the practice”, in order to serve a bottom-up approach to the difference between the schools. consolidation of new school learning paradigms and, at the same time, to constitute an effective approach to holistic • How to go with investing in infrastructure and serv- policy-making, in order to reach the right balance with ices to schools top-down planning, meeting the challenges of “access to learning” (see “infrastructure-equipment”), “creation It has already been mentioned that the success of those and sharing of knowledge” (see “learning materials”) and policies that aim at providing the necessary computing “building of competences in learning communities” (see and communication infrastructure to schools is very teachers training and professional development)? much dependent on the extent to which they are integrated in a much broader and more holistic approach 12 elearningpapers | 2008
  15. 15. to education objectives, an approach which actually demanding job, which will ask for high-end competences copes with the principle of accessibility or, in other words, related to knowledge and skills acquisition and the sustainability of a minimum “access level” to the ICT cognitive procedures as well as to the communication resources. This sustainability comes as the result of (a) the and project management. This also implies a strong availability of funding to ensure a certain maintenance linkage to the emerging knowledge building schemes, level for both hardware and software and (b) of the whereby information – i.e. content - with potential and capacity of spatial and time-wise arrangements as well as varying learning value (sometimes named “learning the competence of the school staff to ensure significant materials”) is being developed, shared, used and re- use of ICT resources by the students. purposed dynamically, especially through communities of common interests – see the parallel of project/subject • Joint actions for online learning materials and teacher or age-defined classrooms in the schools. It is promising professional development for their education systems to mention that in both Many studies and surveys – and the widely accepted France and Germany, with still rather centralised and understanding of education analysts – suggest that the authoritative school systems, interesting policy cases most critical evolution of the school system has to do have been identified. The cases point to the inter-winning with the changes related to the role/job of the teacher. of teacher professional development and the learning Everybody is convinced that we need to cater for a more content and knowledge building in schools. References ➜ eEurope 2005: An information society for all, COM (2002) http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/news_library/documents/eeurope2005/eeurope2005_en.doc ➜ OECD planning paper 2002-4 ➜ Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom, Larry Cuban, Harvard University Press, 2001: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/pdf/CUBOVE.pdf ➜ Peter Kearns “Towards the Connected Learning Society” Global Learning Services, Draft Version. Australia 2002. , ➜ Policies concerning ICT in education, Towards the third phase of policy making in ICT league countries, NL-Nordic alliance paper, February 2002 ➜ THINK and NOW studies: http://eminent.eun.org/workshop1.cfm; http://eminent.eun.org/THINK_FULL_DRAFT_2pp.doc ➜ Wired to learn: What’s holding up the school of the future, Tom McMullen, Adam Smith Institute, 2002 http://www.adamsmith.org.uk/policy/publications/pdf-files/ict-7-jan-02-doc.pdf ➜ The REFERNet Country Reports (HELIOS Observatory) – 2005 ➜ Commission Staff Working Paper – Progress towards the Lisbon Objectives in Education and Training, 2005 Report. ➜ Equipped, trained… and now what? Trends and issues in e-learning in European school systems & INSIGHT Country Reports – EUN INSIGHT team paper, Febr. 2006. ➜ Education in Europe: Key Statistics 2002-2003, Eurostat. ➜ Education in Europe – Eurydice 2005. ➜ ICT in Education around the world: trends, problems and prospects – W.J. Pelgrum and N. Law, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, Paris 2003. ➜ Commission Staff Working Paper: New Indicators on Education and Training – Brussels 2004. ➜ Investment in Education: the implications for economic growth and public finances – European Economy/ Economic Paper by A. Montanino, B. Przywara and D. Young, European Commission, DG Economic and Financial Affairs. ➜ Teachers matter: attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers, OECD publication, Education and Training Policy, 2005. ➜ The Teaching Profession in Europe: profile, trends and concerns, Eurydice 2003. ➜ Some Simple Analytics of School Quality, E.A. Hanushek, NBER Working Paper Series, 2004. ➜ Visions 2020: Transforming Education and Training through Advanced Technologies – US Department of Commerce, 2002. ➜ Upon What Does the Turtle Stand? Rethinking Education for the Digital Age, Ed. Aharon Aviram & Janice Richardson, Springer, December 2004. ➜ Are Students Ready for a Technology-Rich World? What PISA Studies Tell US, OECD Report, 2005. ➜ Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2006, OECD Report, 2006. ➜ The Economics of Knowledge: Why Education is Key for Europe’ s success, Andreas Schleicher, the Lisbon Council Policy Brief, July 2006. Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 13
  16. 16. Open Educational Resources and Practices Dr. Sandra Schaffert Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft, Dept. EduMedia sandra.schaffert@salzburgresearch.at Dr. Guntram Geser Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft, Dept. EduMedia guntram.geser@salzburgresearch.at Executive summary: In the last few years, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained much attention. From January 2006 to December 2007 the Open eLearning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS), a project co-funded by the European Commission under the eLearning Programme, explored how OER can make a difference in teaching and learning. The project aimed at promoting OER through different activities and products such as a European OER roadmap and OER tutorials. In this paper we present some results of the roadmap which provides an overview of the OER landscape and describes possible pathways towards a higher level of production, sharing and usage of OER. Moreover, the roadmap provides recommendations on required measures and actions to support decision making at the level of educational policy and institutions. The roadmap emphasises that the knowledge society demands competencies and skills that require innovative educational practices based on open sharing and the evaluation of ideas, fostering creativity and teamwork among the learners. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning communities of OER is regarded as an important catalyst of such educational innovations. The OLCOS project also developed free online tutorials for practitioners. The objective of these tutorials is supporting students and teachers in the creation, re-use and sharing of OER. To promote hands-on work, the tutorials advise on questions such as the following: How to search for OER? Which materials may be re-used and modified? How to produce and license own OER? The tutorials will be accessible and, potentially, will evolve beyond the end of the OLCOS project, because they are published on an open and successful Wiki based platform (Wikieducator.org) and can be updated by anybody. Keywords: Open Educational Resources, Open Content, Open Source, Educational Policy, Roadmap, Tutorials, collaborative creation combine and repurpose the content; consequently, Definition and Background that the content should ideally be designed for easy re- In the last few years Open Educational Resources (OER) use in the open content standards and formats which have gained much attention, though an authoritatively are being employed; accredited definition of such resources does not yet exist. However, at the UNESCO-IIEP Forum (2001) it • that for educational systems/tools software is was agreed that OER include Open Course Content, used for which the source code is available (i.e. Open Source development tools, and Open Standards Open Source software) and that there are open licensing tools. (cf. The International Institute for Application Programming Interfaces (open APIs) and Educational Planning/UNESCO 2001) authorisations to re-use Web-based services as well as resources.” (Geser 2007, p. 20) Stephen Downes observes that “there is a great deal of debate extant concerning the definition of ‘open’ open acces: content (including resources”. (Downes 2007a, p. 299) In the OLCOS metadata) is provided free of charge project, Guntram Geser (2007) argued that experts who understand OER as a means of leveraging educational open licensed: liberally licensed for practices and outcomes will define OER based on the re-use, favourable free from restrictions “open” to modify, combine and repurpose following core attributes (see also figure 1): educational resources open format: produced in open • “that access to open content (including metadata) is format and designed for easy re-use provided free of charge for educational institutions, content services and end-users such as teachers, open software: produced with open students and lifelong learners; source software • that the content is liberally licensed for re-use in Figure 1: The meaning of “open” in “Open Educational Resources” , educational activities, free from restrictions to modify, own illustration following Geser 2007, p. 20 14 eLearning Papers | 2008
  17. 17. These are rather demanding principles and, in fact, downloaded freely from the project website, www. repositories of educationally relevant resources often do olcos.org. Furthermore the OLCOS project developed not fully abide by them. Hence, readers should be aware free online tutorials for practitioners. The objective of that when we refer to “open” resources, there may be these tutorials is to support students and teachers in the several criteria that current OER projects do not meet creation, re-use and sharing of OER. while still being developed in the spirit of the current Open Access movement. Open Educational Practices Following Geser (2007), OER are understood to be an The OLCOS road mapping has been carried out to important element of policies that want to leverage inform and support a transformation in educational education and lifelong learning for the knowledge practices that brings learning processes and their society and economy. This expectation is to some outcomes closer to what individuals will need to degree influenced by the observation that the huge participate successfully in the knowledge society. investments made so far in ICT-enabled teaching and The OLCOS Roadmap 2012 on Open Educational learning have not brought about profound changes Practises and Resources (Geser 2007) explores in educational practices. In particular, notions that possible pathways towards a higher level of the use of ICT would promote student-centred and production, sharing and usage of OER and provides collaborative approaches have not been fulfilled. recommendations on required measures to support Rather there is a considerable mismatch between decision making at the level of educational policy and teaching and learning as framed and maintained institutions. by typical educational institutions and the fabric of work in a knowledge-based economy “out there”. In The roadmap emphasises that the knowledge addition, there is an obvious gap between current society demands competencies and skills that educational practices and what a younger generation require innovative educational practices based on of students uses almost naturally to communicate open sharing and evaluation of ideas, fostering and form communities of interest outside “the of creativity, and teamwork among the learners. classroom”. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning communities of OER is regarded as an important In this context, the importance of Open Content and catalyst of such educational innovations. Therefore, Open Source Software tools that enhance learning OER should become a key element of policies that processes has been acknowledged by international aim to leverage education and lifelong learning for initiatives and organisations. For example, the OECD the knowledge society and economy. (2007) published a study about OER based on an international survey, and the William and Flora However, the project also emphasises that for Hewlett Foundation commissioned a review about achieving this goal it is crucial to promote innovation the OER movement (Atkins, Brown and Hammond and change in educational practices. In particular, 2007). Furthermore, there are some projects co- OLCOS warns that delivering OER to the still financed by the European Commission, for example dominant model of teacher-centred knowledge OLCOS (focus on open educational content) and transfer will have little effect on equipping teachers, Bazaar (focus on Open Source tools). students and workers with the competences, knowledge and skills to participate successfully in the Open eLearning Content Observatory Services knowledge economy and society. (OLCOS), a project that ran from January 2006 to December 2007 under the eLearning Programme, Therefore the OLCOS project focuses on explored how OER can make a difference in teaching open educational practices that are based on a and learning. The project consortium comprised competency-focused, constructivist paradigm of the European Centre for Media Competence learning and promote a creative and collaborative (Germany), the European Distance and ELearning engagement of learners with digital content, tools Network (Hungary), the FernUniversität in Hagen and services in the learning process. (Germany), the Mediamaisteri Group (Finland), the Open University of Catalonia (Spain) and the project Recommendations for Open Educational co-ordinator Salzburg Research, EduMedia Group Practices and Resources (Austria). The OLCOS Roadmap 2012 provides recommendations The project aimed at promoting OER through on measures which stakeholders from educational different activities: OLCOS produced a roadmap to policy makers and funding bodies to individual teachers provide educational decision makers with orientation and students can apply to promote and support open and recommendations on how to foster the further educational practices and benefit from sharing and re- development and use of OER. This study can be using OER. Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 15
  18. 18. Recommendations for educational policy makers and contracts of employed researchers and educators funding bodies should acknowledge the IPR of authors, but require • Promote open educational practices that allow for non-exclusive copyrights for the institution to make acquiring competences and skills that are necessary to accessible educational resources under appropriate participate successfully in the knowledge society licenses. • Foster the development of OER, e.g. through creating Recommendations for teachers a favourable environment for Open Access to • Clarify the professional role, appropriate approaches educational content and required skills of a teacher in a knowledge society • Support the development of widely used, state-of-the- • Employ open educational practices to help learners art and sustainable open access repositories acquire competences for the knowledge society • Demand public–private partnerships to concentrate • Make use of tools and services that support on ventures for innovating educational practices and collaborative learning processes and learning resources communities In particular, educational policy makers and funding • Share proven learning designs, content and bodies should demand that academic and educational experiences through open access repositories and resources that have been fully or to a larger part publicly open licenses funded are made freely accessible under an appropriate license (e.g. Creative Commons or similar). With In particular, teachers should change their role respect to educational open access repositories, funding from dispensers of knowledge to facilitators of open criteria should demand an in-depth understanding educational practices that emphasise learners’ own of how an as broad as possible active usage of the activities in developing competences, knowledge and repository can be established. Funding schemes should skills. Hence, teachers should favour learning designs provide for a longer-term perspective, through initial that make use of novel, low-barrier tools and services funding for achieving full operation, and further (e.g. Weblogs, Wikis, RSS-based content provision, funding based on a critical assessment of factual usage. etc.) for collaborative learning and sharing of ideas, experiences and study results. Recommendations for boards, directors and supervi- sors of educational institutions The roadmap also suggests that teachers should share within a community of practice experiences, lessons • Scrutinise whether educational institutions are learned and suggestions on how to better foster employing innovative approaches beyond teacher- the development of students’ as well as their own centred knowledge transfer competences and skills. This would be part of a new • Promote the sharing and re-use of Open Educational understanding of teachers’ professional work that Resources and experiences from open educational includes a permanent questioning, evaluation and practices improvement of educational practices and resources. • Establish reward mechanisms and supportive Recommendations for learners and students measures for developing and sharing Open • Demand educational approaches that allow for Educational Resources and experiences acquiring competences and skills for the knowledge society • Clarify copyrights and define licensing schemes for making Open Educational Resources available • Suggest open learning practices using new tools and services A very critical element in OER initiatives are reward mechanisms and supportive measures that stimulate the • Develop an own ePortfolio and make study results development and sharing of resources. Boards, directors accessible to others and supervisors will need to question established values, traditions and practices, for example, the greater value • Respect IPR/copyright of others and make one’s own that is often attached to research publications than creative work accessible under an open content license to teaching material, particularly when it comes to Students should demand educational approaches that academic promotion. ensure that learning experiences are real, rich and The roadmap also urges that in many institutions it relevant, for example through addressing real world is far from clear who owns IPR/copyrights and what problems, working collaboratively, using new tools and licenses should be employed when making resources information services, and critically discussing content available to others. A recommendation here is that and study results. Students will also benefit from an own 16 elearningpapers | 2008
  19. 19. e-portfolio for documenting and reflecting the progress and allow for making use of a variety of information and results of their study work, and to make results sources. Such practices do not require large, centrally they are proud of accessible through an open access managed systems; rather, they will make use of easy repository under an open content license (see also to implement and manage tools and services such as Attwell, Chrzaszcz, Hilzensauer, Hornung-Prähauser & Wikis, Weblogs, Web-based e-portfolios, RSS feed Pallister 2007). aggregators, and others. Recommendations for educational repositories How-to Guidance through Tutorials • Do not follow a top-down strategy of delivering Besides the roadmap and recommendations, the learning objects; empower teachers and learners OLCOS project developed a series of free online tutorials for practitioners (Córcoles, Ferran Ferrer, • Support individual content creators and communities Hornung-Prähauser, Kalz, Minguillón, Naust-Schulz of practice with useful tools and services & Schaffert, 2007). These tutorials provide information • Make licensing of content as easy as possible and guidance on how to plan, search, produce/re- use, share and publish open educational content for • Allow for easy discovery of and access to resources eLearning. In addition, an OLCOS collection has been • Assist open content initiatives in the creation of rich built, presenting and providing links to many online metadata and provide semantically enhanced access to resources such as OER repositories. resources To support the idea of OER, the OLCOS tutorials The key point with respect to educational repositories had to be open, free and collaboratively developed. is that they should abandon the currently dominant The project team decided to use the WikiEducator top-down approach of trying to deliver learning objects project as a suitable platform to collaborate with to teacher-centred education, as this reinforces the still authors external to the project and involve other dominant knowledge transfer model of education and interested parties. The WikiEducator is a community will not promote innovation in teaching and learning. project “working collaboratively with the Free Culture Instead, repositories should promote open educational Movement towards a free version of the education practices and empower teachers and learners to do curriculum by 2015”. Its technical infrastructure is and achieve something themselves. This is not about supported by the Commonwealth of Learning, which repository users as consumers but as potential co- is an intergovernmental organisation created by creators of shared, commons-based resources. Commonwealth Heads of Government to “encourage the development and sharing of open learning Recommendations for developers and implementers and distance education knowledge, resources and of eLearning tools and environments technologies”. (WikiEducator, 2007) • Involve teachers and students in the development of The choice of this platform has been fruitful for both learning tools parties, as can be seen from the fact that the launch of the OLCOS tutorials in September 2006 was a • Promote open educational practices through help in highlight for the WikiEducator team with an average setting up appropriate tools of 1000 hits per day; today, the hits are often even • Favour institutional learning environments that higher (WikiEducator 2007). In December 2007, support group-based, collaborative learning practices Steven Downes in his Weblog named WikiEducator as “best educational wiki”: “Numerous educational • Closely observe the development and consider testing wikis could have taken the podium here – Curriki, of Learning Design based systems Wikiversity, more. WikiEducator is chosen as the At present there is a considerable gap between most (apparently) active of these initiatives.” (Downes developers of eLearning tools and teachers and 2007b) students. Developers should actively seek to involve Concerning the content of the OLCOS tutorials, the teachers and students in collaborative development, basic concept is that through practical information which could help greatly in making tools more usable and case descriptions the learners should be enabled in educational contexts. In fact, for the adoption of to themselves solve some concrete assignments. a tool it will be important that the users develop a The didactical templates of the WikiEducator (e.g. sense of ownership and take an interest in its further assignment, web-resources) as well as links to existing development. content on the Web have been used. The tutorials Within educational institutions, implementers of have been tested and evaluated in several workshops. eLearning tools should favour environments that Originally written in English, since August 2007 they support collaborative, self-managed learning practices also are available in German and Spanish. Promoting innovation in lifelong learning 17