Open learning has promise and will contribute to education in the future. To me, that is not the essential question. The question should be how profound an effect will it have on education? Educators and Hypesters (a pun on hipsters) are always looking for the next new tool that will take over education to make it easy and flawless. The actual reality is tools do come out that have a profound effect on changing education, but nothing has risen to the level of revolutionizing education. It is still and messy and difficult business. Once you realize that truth you can take all the hype and put in perspective. When a new technology comes out, I look to see how it might help me with my job and how it might help students learn.
The second educational truth is that one size does not fit all! I am a Principal in a small school with declining enrollment, but I am eternally grateful that our students have access to online, alternative schools, charter schools, blended learning, flipped learning, GED, home schools and open source learning. I would like to be able to meet the needs of all students, but the structure of a traditional school doesn’t allow me to do that. I end up referring many student each year to these other options and I enjoy seeing these students be successful in a different location.
The point of that paragraph above is that Open Source Learning has its place like all the other options listed above. With how education is structure now, it won’t be taking over the world any time soon, but it will still have an impact. Unfortunately, you still need a diploma or some credential to do a job and that will be a large limiting factor to Open Source Learning. I do see this as a very powerful tool for people who need more training in a job they are already doing. They can get the education they need to move up or out.
For those people who don’t know what Open Learning is, it is a (mostly) free online learning environment for both college and professional development. (2015, https://www.openlearning.com/About) Some courses are provided or you can create your own course. The most famous version of Open Source Learning is provided by MIT. They offer all of their courses for free online. If you need to learn or are just interested this is a great opportunity. If you need a degree you will still have to pay to get the credential. You can find out more information on this at http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.
Here is short video on Open Learning if you are interested. This video was found at https://youtu.be/cmixkhEkQp4.
MIT Open Courseware. (2016). Retrieved on 5-25-16 at 8:50 am. Found at http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.
Open Learning Welcome Video. Retrieved on 5-25-16 at 8:40 am. Found at https://youtu.be/cmixkhEkQp4.