Topic 1: What do we mean by Open Education?

Hi All,
It is not my wish to be prescriptive on topics, but for this first week I will ‘seed’ the discussions to see what themes we will then explore.

So let’s start by discussing what do we mean by Open Education? What is common to our understanding and what differences might there be? Perhaps you can reply to this (and other messages as they appear) and share your understanding and experience of Open Education.

I look forward to reading your posts,


Open education: those institutions who are providing Digitised educational resources for the users in form of audios, videos and word or PDF materials can be categorized under open education

Open distance education reaching everyone, allowing flexibility, no age bar, student can choose their own way of learning ay their own pace and can even have on demand exam policy. Teaching Learning methods are vary from print material, soft PDF, MOOCS, ppt, audio books, links, face to face contact sessions, hands on training etc.

Open education is an open philosophy about the way people should produce,share and build knowledge where everyone in the world should have access to high quality educational experiences and resources.

Open Education see No Barrier to Learning. The following issues are challenging when defining Open Education;Access,Resources to support learning, Funding & costs,Continue Learning and What are we learning?

The concept of open education can be considered a movement that seeks to provide flexible education to individuals regardless of their physical and/or geographic locations and circumstances within their unique contexts with no restriction or bias.

Open education is an environment where education is accessible to everyone

Open education includes resources, tools and practices that use a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness accross the whole world.

Open Education combines knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology to create a large pool of openly shared educational resources, while harnessing today’s collaborative spirit to develop educational approaches that are more responsive to learner’s needs.

Definitions given already by @pd967305, @ @neerjasood, @perse400, @sandrasizom88, @grigadan, @grigadan, and @drnyaribo are so brilliant. I’ll put mine this way: Openness of education involves removal of restrictions on educational resources, admission requirements, teaching and learning methodologies, learning spaces, teacher professional development and so on and doing away with all society’s values and practices that make it difficult or impossible for any members of society to have quality education in any direction and at any level.

I agree - some brilliant definitions already. I will summarize these at the end of the week.

There’s another wonderful one by Justin here: Spirit of the forum.

Open Education to my understanding is allowing everyone the opportunity to learn across the world regardless of location, race or creed. With Technology we are able to achieve this outcome of Open Education.


That is really comprehensive

Literature pertaining to ODL defines openness but my experience of ODL tells me that openness is not just about admission but it extends beyond admission , into the teaching- learning phase. An ODL institution ceases to remain open when students struggle without support.

Open education is a flexible mode of teaching learning system with a package of multi-media instructional materials and technology. In this system, learners are independent and mostly learn by themselves with the help of technology and print and electronic course modules which are self-instructional, self-learning, self-directed, self-motivating and self-evaluating. In open education the tutor helps helps learners to develop the skills needed to study, understand and assimilate the subject content.

Thinking deep about our submissions, especially that of Chandraiah @esampallyc9, adult learning flashes into my mind steadily. HE (higher education) is an advanced stage of education. Many learners in HE are adults. An American educator, Malcom Shepherd Knowles (1913 – 1997) was reputable for 5 assumptions and 4 principles of adult learning which he regarded as the same as andragogy


Reflecting on Knowles’ 5 assumptions and 4 principles, watching this video, and knowing also that many HE students are teenagers who fall under child learning (pedagogy) the following questions come to mind:

  • How far have higher education institutions (HEIs) recognized andragogy in practice?
  • How do we harmonize andragogy and pedagogy in opening up higher education?
  • How can the situation be improved if recognition of andragogy is low?

Personally I would actually challenge how universal Knowles’ principles are.

Whilst I am sure they are true for some, there are plenty of adults who are interested in learning subjects for reasons of academic interest, even if they have absolutely no immediate relevance or impact for their job or personal life. Likewise, there are significant numbers of adult learners who have a strong preference for content-oriented learning.

I wonder if this is more about “lifelong learning” in the sense of focus on career change or development? Obviously these are extremely important motivations, but they are certainly by no means the only ones.

Sound argument, Cath @CathB. I agree. Just as we have adults who have some child-learning characteristics, there are young students who prefer problem-solving, real-life experience approach to learning. I read about a young university student who expressed dissatisfaction with teaching and assessment methods used in their courses, although he graduated with 1st class degree. While theories and principles are often based on general observations or thoughts, they don’t usually overrule exceptions. I think what we’re pointing at is that methods of teaching and learning in HE as we have them today in most places do not accommodate every person interested in HE. They need to be open. If you read the posts on Mixed Technologies in a Diverse Society, and What Are The Strengths and Limitations of Current Education Systems?, you may get further insights on this.

Do you think that adult, teenage and child learners who don’t find fulfillment in our current education systems should be left out? If you don’t think so, what suggestions can you give for carrying them along?

I don’t think there’s ever an easy solution to educating in a way that suits everyone.

But we can start, perhaps, by not assuming based on someone’s age (or any other characteristic) what their motivations are, their interests are, and their preferred way of learning is.

Sometimes educational institutions do research and say “method X works best” - well, it may for 60% of students or even 90%, but it is rarely everyone.

So being ready to listen to and work with the learner to enable them to find their own path and approaches, and making the programme as flexible as is feasible, strikes me as a good starting point. Another example of “open”!