Open Access

New Pathways to Learning: Leveraging the Use of OERs to Support Non-formal Education

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201310:10010327

https://doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v10i1.1562

Received: 15 June 2012

Accepted: 15 October 2012

Published: 15 January 2013

Abstract

The growth of non-formal education is expanding teaching and learning pathways for the delivery of global education. This growth, in concert with the expanded use of Open Educational Resources (OERs), is creating a potential synergy between non-formal education and OERs to strengthen the continuum of education and training for people who live in underserved and economically disadvantaged regions of the world. The author’s central theme is that OERs provide a valuable educational resource for use in non-formal education that needs to be expanded, researched and refined. OERs are not formal or non-formal resources. Rather, it is how OERs are used in formal and non-formal education settings that define their context and application for teaching and learning. A basic conceptual framework is provided to offer the reader an initial approach for conceptualising the use of OERs in non-formal education. The author suggests that the process for evaluating non-formal educational activities is similar to the basic design principles used in formal education. These include identifying goals, objectives and competency-based outcomes; developing instructional design parameters; analysing the context and culture of instruction; and evaluating and measuring non-formal teaching and learning. Moreover, the author advocates that further research on OER use in non-formal education, in concert with visionary university leadership, will be critical to maximising the potential of using OERs in non-formal education. The final summary highlights the key issues and points of the article.

Keywords

non-formal education open educational resources formal education distance education e-learning