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

Nuevas líneas de aprendizaje: potenciar el uso de recursos educativos abiertos para reforzar la educación no formal


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.


El desarrollo de la educación no formal está expandiendo las líneas de enseñanza y aprendizaje de la prestación global de servicios educativos. Esta expansión, junto con un mayor uso de recursos educativos abiertos (REA) está generando una potential sinergia entre la educación no formal y los REA para reforzar la formación y el aprendizaje en todas las etapas educativas de las personas que viven en regiones marginadas y económicamente desfavorecidas. El principal argumento del autor es que los REA constituyen un valioso recurso educativo para la educación no formal que debería expandirse, investigarse y perfeccionarse. Los REA no son recursos formales o no formales por sí mismos, ya que lo que define su contexto y su aplicación a la docencia y al aprendizaje es la forma en que se usan en entornos educativos formales y no formales. Este artículo facilita el marco conceptual básico para conceptualizar el uso de RAE en la educación no formal. El autor sugiere que el proceso para evaluar actividades educativas no formales es similar a los principios básicos de diseño utilizados en la educación formal, entre los cuales están la identificación de objetivos, finalidades y resultados basados en competencias; el desarrollo de parámetros de diseño pedagógico; el análisis del contexto y la cultura pedagógica; y la evaluación y medición de la docencia y el aprendizaje no formal. Además, defiende que investigar el uso de REA en la educación no formal, junto con un liderazgo universitario visionario, será esencial para maximizar su potential en la educación no formal. En el resumen final se destacan los principales puntos y temas tratados en el artículo.


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Correspondence to Don Olcott Jr.

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Olcott, D. New Pathways to Learning: Leveraging the Use of OERs to Support Non-formal Education. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 10, 327–344 (2013).

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

Palabras clave

  • educación no formal
  • recursos educativos abiertos
  • educación formal
  • educación a distancia
  • aprendizaje virtual