The Open University in Scotland (OUiS) operates a programme of Open Learning Champions, working in partnership with a range of voluntary sector organisations, community learning groups, libraries and others. The aim is to provide open learning in familiar spaces, using OER on OpenLearn and OpenLearn Works. In using OER to engage people who may not otherwise consider themselves ‘learners’, and who may face significant barriers to accessing formal education, our work addresses the OER17 theme of participation and social equality.
The OUiS has run a series of workshops for champions to introduce them to OER, develop their confidence navigating the platforms and supporting learners, and explore different pathways from OER into higher education and other positive destinations. Since June 2015, 16 workshops have taken place and as of November 2016 there are 124 champions from 47 organisations. Initial evaluation of the model (Ryan, Hewitt 2015) suggested each champion may reach eight learners. This presentation will present findings on the impact of the first year of the programme, based on detailed evaluation with learners and champions which suggests that it is an effective model for widening participation.
Cannel, P (2016). Revisiting barriers to participation. In: HE: Transforming lives through life-wide learning? conference papers. CICP, pp89-92.
Lane, A (2012). Widening participation in higher education through open educational resources. In: Okada, A; Connolly, T; and Scott, PJ. eds. Collaborative Learning 2.0: Open Educational Resources. IGI Global, pp1-15.
Ryan, G and Hewitt, L (2015). Developing a flexible model of Open Learning Champions: report on findings from pilot sites in Dumfries and Shetland. The Open University in Scotland.