OER and Alternative Certification Models: Bridging Boundaries Between Formal and Informal Learning
10.16.12 OER and Alternative Certification Models: Bridging Boundaries Between Formal and Informal Learning Cynthia Jimes, Lisa McLaughlin ISKME 2012: Open Education Conference October 16-18, 2012 Vancouver, BC
About This ProjectIn working with OER teacher champions, ISKME has been looking at how OERsupports alternative learning pathways for students. This work, funded by theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is meant to help foster new strategies forhow existing open education resources can inform credit-earning pathways.Contributors to this project include:•Lisa Petrides•Cynthia Jimes•Lisa McLaughlin•Clare Middleton-Detzner•Rudy Rubio•Amee Evans Godwin
The Education ContextSetting the stage for alternative models The rising costs of education Decreases in funding that reduce the number of classes available for students The need to better align workforce needs with the needs of students The demands of a service-based knowledge economy A demand from employers for a stronger focus on core competencies An increasing number of students for whom college becomes less affordable each year An increasing number of students demanding flexible class times to meet their varied learning needs and life contexts
The Education Context, cont.Setting the stage for alternative models – what the literature says New technologies and web-based community spaces shifting the ways in which students and teachers access and interact with, and even create, new information and data An environment in which learning becomes more community-based, with no traditional start and end points Emerging modes of assessment as a means of recognizing informal learning and competency-based learning
A Working DefinitionWhat we mean by OER and alternative certification models Support student learning through the use of OER or freely available content Offer courses or content bundled into topic or knowledge areas Guide learners as they build their knowledge through, for example, feedback mechanisms and increasingly challenging content Reward learners for mastery of content Have been publically launched and are currently available for learners
The Questions We Asked What OER and open access-based pathway models exist and how do they work? How can these new pathway models best be categorized and understood? How are these models distinct from formal education pathways? What gaps do they fill? What gaps remain? What are the possible implications of these new models for teaching and learning? If these new models really took off, what would it mean for education as we know it?
Approach Review of the literature to capture recent thinking on the factors driving the emergence of new learning pathways, and how they differ from traditional, formal education pathways (see list of references) Examination of OER and open access-based alternative pathway models to assess how they support and recognize learning through technology, content, pedagogical approach, and other factors Development of an analytical framework for assessing and categorizing the models that helps to answer our key study questions
Mapping the Models: Big PictureAn early framework o Use OER Use freely available content Learning Recognition of Achievement Model Degrees/Credit Certificates of Badges Completion Instructor Led o Open High School o OLI Carnegie Mellon o Open University UK Udacity, edX o U of the People Coursera, Venture Sophia Lab o P2PU Self-guided or ALISON Codecademy Peer-Led Learning o Saylor Khan AcademyNote: This framework is a work in progress, and is not intended as a comprehensive map of alternative pathway models. Itincludes 14 models from our analysis, selected as representatives for our study’s working definition of alternative pathwaymodels.
Recognition of AchievementOverview of where the models fall For the models reviewed, three types of recognition emerged: 1) degrees or credit, 2) certificates, and 3) badges On the whole, the type of recognition offered is related to the model’s level of affiliation with a formal institution. Specifically, degrees are offered by models that are under the umbrella of formal institutions, certificates are offered by models that have partnerships with formal institutions, and badges are offered by grassroots models with limited or no ties to formal institutions
Recognition of AchievementA move toward accredited learning pathways Although only four of the models offer accredited courses (OHSU, OU UK, Sophia, OLI), several other models are moving toward accreditation (U of the People, Saylor, P2PU, Codecademy) For two of models that currently offer accredited courses, learners are charged for enrolling in the credit-granting courses (Sophia, OLI); For one of the models, learners may be charged for receiving credit based on where they live, income, qualifications, course offered, etc. (OU UK) For those that are moving toward accreditation, new solutions are beginning to emerge, including Codecademy’s recent partnership with NYU to offer a programming course that may be later incorporated into NYU’s accredited curriculum
Learning ModelAn emphasis on ‘learner-driven’ learning and content The majority of the models reviewed Examples: rely more upon self-guided or peer- Khan Academy: Learners navigate their own based activities to support student learning path by working through topics learning, with no or limited within a ‘knowledge map’ interaction with instructors Venture Lab, P2PU: Assignments and Most of the models that do rely projects are completed in groups more heavily on instructors to guide P2PU, U of the People, Coursera: Learners learning, also incorporate peer- provide feedback on their peers’ assignments based learning activities P2PU: Learner assignments are openly licensed and shared back with the P2PU A few models also support learners community, for others to use and reuse as content creators and curriculum developers
Learning ModelUse of learner data to gauge and personalize learning Several models are collecting data Examples: about the ways learners are moving OHSU and Khan Academy: Collect learner data through and using content, and how on time spent on resources and topics, and on they are performing areas of weakness/proficiency. Data are shared with educators and learners to support learning These data are made accessible to instructors and learners, and are fed OLI: Collects student performance data through quizzes and assessments. Data are back into the overall learning model shared with educators to tailor classroom time to support the personalization of and content, and are used to provide feedback learning, through, e.g., changes to to students on areas of weakness content and to how learning is edX: Collects learner data about number of supported attempts at answering questions and resources used to solve them. Data are used to improve the development of course offerings
Learning ModelA trend toward competencies and soft skills Several models offer courses that are Examples: aligned to the needs of specific fields and support learners in gaining core Udacity: Offers courses in mathematics, competencies needed to succeed in computer science, and technology to help learners transition into the tech field the workforce ALISON: Focuses on preparing learners for Two models plan to support learners specific professions (nursing, childcare), and in connecting with potential aims to help employers connect with learners employers upon completion of their who have demonstrated content mastery curriculum Codecademy: Has partnered with NYU to A few models are emphasizing the offer programming courses that help to build development of ‘soft skills’ students’ skills in “flexible thinking”, alongside coding
What This All MeansKey implications that we see New, alternative pathway models are helping to bridge boundaries between formal and informal learning—through new modes of recognizing and supporting informal learning, and through partnerships with formal institutions As alternative models continue to gain legitimacy, they will likely play an increasing role in supporting (and even putting pressure on) formal institutions as they seek efficient, innovative solutions to meet needs of their stakeholders in the face of constrained budgets Alternative pathway models will need to remain flexible enough to respond to students and employers in terms of curriculum that emphasizes competencies, and that is recognized by employers The emphasis on personalized learning will be enhanced through learner data
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Cynthia Jimescynthia@iskme.orgLisa McLaughlinlisa@iskme.orgInstitute for the Study of KnowledgeManagement in EducationHalf Moon Bay, California
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