Informal Learning

Informal Learning occurs outside of the formal education system (e.g. schools, colleges and universities).

The OER Research Hub is currently working with two collaborations in this area: School of Open who provide a range of facilitated and non-facilitated courses on “open” practices and the Bridge to Success project which provided whole course OER in mathematics and learning/personal development skills to community colleges in the USA.

Our work with School of Open (Creative Commons and P2PU) has focused on assessing the impact of a selection of facilitated courses. Research is centered around two hypothesis: G and K. These hypothesis focus on what learners look for when choosing an OER and what kinds of motivators encourage them to persist with their studies. School of Open courses contain badging and our research is particularly interested in looking at whether the possibility of being rewarded a badge motivates learners. Further planned work includes evaulating the impact of the non-facilitated courses.

The OER Research Hub work with Bridge to Success is twofold. First, we are working with ex-piloting institutions (such as colleges) to examine how Bridge to Success OER was/is being used post-project (see Hypothesis I on whether OER compliments formal education and Hypothesis D on at-risk students) and evaluating any impact the project has had (e.g. institutional change occuring as a result of being involved in the project: see Hypothesis J).

Second, we will also be inviting current users of the Bridge to Success materials to participate in a questionnaire to find out more about who, how and why users are engaging with the courses. Since the project ended in Autumn 2012 we have continued to see large numbers of visitors from across the world access the Bridge to Success materials. In September 2013, for example, over 3,000 unique visitors accessed either/both Succeed with Math and/or Learning to Learn. It is anticipated that this questionnaire will become a template for others who produce complete course OER and are interested in the impact of their materials.

Both collaborations also provide evidence for both of our core hypotheses (A and B) which examine student satisfaction/performance with OER and look at whether “open” makes a difference to how this type of course is used.

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