In this section we shift our focus to explore the benefits of OER from the learner’s perspective. Apart from the obvious benefits of savings related to the direct cost of textbooks and free online learning opportunities, we should ask: Does the “opening” of educational materials generate additional benefits for learning? What does OER enable that closed resources can’t deliver for learning in a digital age?


Spot poll - Personal learner experience with OER

Complete the spot poll on regarding:

  • Your prior use of OER for formal courses
  • Any formal courses where you did not purchase the prescribed textbook due to cost.

web resources

Stimulus resources

The following video mashup of Kennedy and Nixon debating the merits of blogs and wikis was produced and shared by students as part of their official course work.



The concept of OER-enabled pedagogy refers to those teaching and learning practices that are only be possible because of the 5R permissions of OER. Consider for example:

  1. The impact on achievement and course completion for courses that use open textbooks, especially for learners who cannot afford proprietary textbooks because they have access to all the course materials from the start of the course.
  2. The impact on the quality of learning by getting rid of “disposable assignments“, that is those essays that are disposed of once the assignment has been graded.
  3. The impact of authentic open assignments where the outputs can be reused in the real world, for example activities where learners produce OER for future use.
  4. The impact of open environments where learners establish and build professional learning networks that continue after the course has been completed.


Forum - Solving real-world problems with OER

Closely related to OER, is the concept of “open pedagogy” which is an access-oriented commitment to learner-driven education and a process of designing architectures and using tools for learning that enable students to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part.

Stimulus resource


  1. Scan the list of Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. Think of an idea for a learning project that could be incorporated into an OERu course where learners work on real world problems releasing their outputs as OER.
  3. Share your project idea by posting on the solving real-world problems forum
  4. “Favourite” or “like” good ideas posted in the forum.
  5. Join the discussion by posting replies and suggestions for refining project ideas.

The OERu international partnership will endeavour to integrate outstanding ideas into future courses (with attribution).