Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Exciting new research project

We've been lucky enough to win some EU funding for a project related to H809. openED 2.0 "Designing for participatory learning in open educational environments" starts from noticing that the Web 2.0 world shows that great things are possible when openness is a guiding philosophy. We want to find out to what extent open online collaboration can foster open online informal learning communities.

Building on the design and materials of H809, the project team aims to collaboratively generate a series of free and open pilot modules. That's "open" not just meaning "public", but also meaning "modifiable by others".

The Open University will be making the initial materials available and developing one of the pilots, but the pilots aren't "OU courses". The focus for the pilots will be more related to business and management than H809, and there won't be any accredited assessment or personal tutoring. If you want that, you'll need to pay to do H809!

In studying how the pilots develop, we're hoping to explore a number of research questions:
  • How do materials generated by such open initiatives and the designing communities develop over time? What pedagogical exchanges occur? What are the drivers of change?
  • What learning takes place? What are the drivers of learning? To what extent is the resulting learning determined by the designers, by the learning community or by the individual learner?
  • What issues arise associated with cross-cultural and multilingual settings?
  • How are differences between formal and informal education exhibited?
  • What are the factors affecting the speed, effectiveness and sustainability of such initiatives?
The Open University is one of six project partners. The other five are SPI, Portugal; IBM, Belgium; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; the Hellenic Management Association, Greece; and the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, Fribourg. Here are some introductory slides.