Our collaborative research with organisations, initiatives and projects who create or use Open Educational Resources (OER) is structured by eleven hypotheses or statements about the impact of OER. We align hypotheses to all of our collaborative activity whilst also remaining agile and responsive to exploring additional areas of impact identified by individual collaborators. This approach has several benefits: it enables consistency across our research whilst simultaneously facilitating comparative research.

Two of these hypotheses are central to all our research activity:

  • Use of OER leads to improvement in student performance and satisfaction;
  • The open aspect of OER creates different usage and adoption patterns than other online resources.

In addition to examining if, and how, “open” is making a difference and examining specific areas of the impact OER has on students, we are also examining the following hypotheses about OER impact:

  • Open education models lead to more equitable access to education, serving a broader base of learners than traditional education;
  • Use of OER is an effective method for improving retention for at-risk students;
  • Use of OER leads to critical reflection by educators, with evidence of improvement in their practice;
  • OER adoption at an institutional level leads to financial benefits for students and/or institutions;
  • Informal learners use a variety of indicators when selecting OER;
  • Informal learners adopt a variety of techniques to compensate for the lack of formal support, whichcan be supported in open courses;
  • Open education acts as a bridge to formal education, and is complementary, not competitive, with it;
  • Participation in OER pilots and programs leads to policy change at institutional level;
  • Informal means of assessment are motivators to learning with OER.

You can review background research on each hypothesis by clicking on the links above.

This page was last updated on 16 September 2014