A Journey Through Technology

What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

on May 25, 2016

According to Open Education Week (http://www.openeducationweek.org/), “Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.” To me, this means that anyone with a desire to learn has access to the materials they need, at little to no cost to them. Open education would allow anyone to follow their dreams and learn anything that they want. Below is a video I found online that I think does a very good job of describing open education. (Bukola, 2012)


I see open learning as an opportunity for people of all ages to come together and learn using open education resources. “Open learning encourages collaboration, connections, networked learning, and interdependence between educators and learners.” (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, Osterhout) I found a website, OpenLearning.com, that offers a variety of open learning courses that anyone across the world can take part in.

“In an online community environment like OpenLearning, the power of the teacher and their materials (as an expert authority) is diminished, and the role of a teacher becomes more of a mentor, to guide, prompt and facilitate discussion. OpenLearning’s pedagogy borrows from constructivist teaching methods (e.g. Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky) with a primary goal for students to learn how to learn, by giving students the power to take initiative for their own learning experiences.”

The pedagogy behind OpenLearning.com is very similar to what I use my classroom. I consider myself a constructivist, so I want to see my students learning how to learn by taking a more active role in their education. When students take the lead in their learning, they take ownership of their education and it becomes more important to them. “An open learning environment and course should offer youth an opportunity to personalize their learning, to make it meaningful, authentic, and engaging.” (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, Osterhout)

If we consider open learning as an emerging technology, I can see this having an immense impact on the education system. Last week we talked about emerging technology being something that positively affects education, and open learning can definitely have a positive effect. Teachers always want students to be engaged in learning, and allowing students to learn from a variety of free, open resources, and giving them a choice in which resources they can use, might just be the key to creating a more meaningful classroom.

Open learning also allows students to connect the learning they do at school with what they can accomplish at home. “Open learning and courses in K-12 need to offer an opportunity to bridge the gap between what is being learned at home and school.” (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, Osterhout) With open learning, students don’t stop learning just because they leave the school. Open learning allows students to continue their learning anywhere they have access to the internet. One of my goals as an educator is to help my students to become lifelong learners, and open learning could be the key to getting them started on that path.


Bukola, O. (2012, October 28). Why Open Education Matters. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHQp33rbg5k

Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (n.d.). Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.academia.edu/10311797/Open_Learning_in_K-12_Online_and_Blended_Learning_Environments

What is Open Education? (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.openeducationweek.org/page/what-is-open-education

What is OpenLearning? (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from https://www.openlearning.com/Pedagogy

4 responses to “What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

  1. waclawskid says:

    I like that you included the connection to constructionist and life long learning. I do think that Open Learning has potential to be a power in education. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. waclawskid says:

    So we have all this opportunity. Now they need the motivation and access to make use of this resource. It seams crazy that open learning isn’t a bigger deal yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like your comment about the constructivist approach and students “learning how to learn.” I do see this as central to the open learning philosophy. And your absolutely right, this creates lifelong learners because the students have responsibility over their learning. What do we do about unmotivated learners? I’m sure the choice involved with this philosophy adds another element of motivation. . . but that’s always a question I get from skeptics, and I like to try to plan how to answer it 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • akedtech says:

      I think with open learning we have the opportunity to motivate even the most unmotivated. Motivation, as defined by Piaget (Weiner, 1972) is when new knowledge falls close enough (in the existing schema) to existing knowledge so that in some sort of meaning making activity they might be connected. If students can be active and not just listen – if they are working toward a real world goal not an artificial “schoolwork” task – and if they are allowed to work at their level not at frustration, then cognitively – motivation will happen.


      Weiner, B. (1972). Theories of motivation: From mechanism to cognition.

      Liked by 1 person

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