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8 November 2010 / Erik Duval

Removing Friction in Open Education

Last week at the OpenEd conference, I suffered a bit from “the strange case of the unconnected conference“, but that is not the topic of this post…

In my keynote, I tried to explain how I think Open Educational Resources can help to achieve abundance of learning resources, and how we can make that abundance work for us by removing some of the friction between people and resources.

(BTW, we are getting to this abundance – GLOBE now offers access to more than 1 million objects! Not enough by a stretch, but we added 150.000 in the last two weeks, whereas it took us 5 years to add the first 5000!)

I sketched three ways to remove friction:

  1. We can integrate into the workflow of teachers or students: a typical example is not requiring them to go to a ‘web portal’ to find resources, but to integrate search into a VLE/LMS like moodle or authoring tools… We do that for instance with the CGIAR moodle we host.
  2. Visual means can help to create a much more fluid interaction with resources: maeve is one of the nicer examples of a rich exploration space for large numbers of resources we’ve been involved in.
  3. Tracking user interactions enables us to leverage learner attention and can help learners to contextualize their efforts. As an example, we visualize attention in our monitor widget that also recommends relevant learning material based on what peers have used.

At the start of my talk, I mentioned that I am comfortable experimenting with my students, because we do not really provide that much value in many of the classrooms anyway. At the end of my talk, I explained how I fundamentally believe that learning should be part of the real life of learners (and teachers!), rather than something that happens in a closed garden. Otherwise, the result is more often shallow or fake learning than real learning. Maybe the start and end of my talk was more interesting than the middle part, because those two statements were the ones that got tweeted more than anything else. Or maybe they were just more sloganesk tweetable?

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and went home with contacts of three organisations that want to connect with our Ariadne infrastructure… Maybe you want to do so too?

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