OERs save time for learning designers

This morning I spoke at the National Association of Distance Education and Open Learning in South Africa (NADEOSA) annual conference. In my presentation, I looked at the landscape for open and distance learning in the 21st century, with a particular focus on the issues for developing countries in terms of resources, connectivity, etc. (As if to drive home the point, the Skype connection between Leicester and Pretoria kept dropping!)

One of the ‘threads’ in the tapestry I described was Open Educational Resources, which I believe can enable educators to produce high quality teaching materials both cost-effectively and within reasonable time frames. The audience picked up on this point in the Q&A session:  the importance of critically reviewing OERs before using them was noted, and some concern was expressed about the time involved in finding suitable OERs and modifying them for the context in which you teach.

Tony Mays from SAIDE/UNISA then made a great point: he described two studies that had been carried out in different parts of Africa. These studies found that, whereas designing learning materials from scratch took an average of 100 hours per notional learning hour, sourcing and modifying OERs took only 40-60 hours. Still time-consuming, but a significant saving.

Does anyone know of other studies to this effect?

Gabi Witthaus


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5 Responses to “OERs save time for learning designers”

  1. Tessa Says:

    Wish I’d been sharp enough to engage with this blog before giving a paper at the NADEOSA conference myself – on Working with OER in AFrican contexts – following on from your video and Skype response to the questions and comments. I thought your responses to the questions were really helpful, especially your advice on how to manage a blog for NADEOSA.

    But to the point of this blog – studies on time saving through the use of OER.
    In the ACEMaths project, the process of requesting release of a UNISA module under a Creative Commons licence and then adapting it to fit a revised set of outcomes decided by the Community of Practice took six months, and the materials were immediately used by lecturers in six institutions. Usually this process takes at least double the amount of time.

  2. projectotter Says:

    Thanks Tessa for sharing this great example.


  3. Heather Williamson Says:

    Hi Gabi

    The ReVIP project had a similar experience – their final report is available here http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearningcapital/reproduce/revip.aspx, and I’m sure they would be more than happy to give you any further info you were interested in.


  4. projectotter Says:

    Hi Heather – thanks for this link. I love the idea of virtual patients for medical training, and it’s easy to imagine how much time could be saved by ‘repurposing’ these patients. This is very inspiring!


  5. Online Conferences: Why waste a good economic crisis? « Beyond Distance Research Alliance Blog Says:

    […] and Open Learning in South Africa (NADEOSA) annual conference. (See Gabi’s OTTER project blog post about this.) This conference, while not an online conference, was online for me and Gabi – […]

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