Educational Science

Some Reflections on the Impact of OER on a New Learning-Culture

StructureMindMapToday I found – thanks to Twitter and George Siemens (@gsiemens)– a really great website and project: The GDELT Project: “The entire GDELT database is 100% free and open and you can
download the raw datafiles, visualize it using the GDELT Analysis Service, or analyze it at limitless scale with Google BigQuery” ( It is both; a resource on data for my research, and by the same time a perfect example for the idea of a new learning culture fostering OER and creative common licenses to become established.

So I’d just like to share the link but also my thoughts evoked by it:

The understanding of »a new learning culture« as a culture that

  • generates knowledge instead of “transferring” it
  • changes and merges traditional roles, such like learner/teacher or user/produser (of knowledge)
  • enables to reframe patterns of thinking; to permanently include new contexts and to set new context-markers

needs learning-materials; learning environments and information that are not only free accessible but that allow (and invite!) to be altered, enlarged and distributed. This is what the idea of Open Educational Resources (OER) and a Creative Common License (cc) is about.
In my last post on the introduction of my M.A. Thesis I reflected the idea that a “traditional” way of quoting scientific resources (or what is allowed to be regarded as such) and fostering a new learning culture as described above does not fit together. One cannot proclaim knowledge and learning as being networked and permanently altering and enhancing processes and exclude information (that wait to be generated to new, improved, reflected and commonly altered knowledge) like it is found in weblogs and wikis that »live« this culture of sharing knowledge (posts); re-thinking, discussing and altering it (comments; cooperative work on wikis). And: Not to exclude these information in a scientific paper does not at all mean not to reflect on arguments, not to include backgrounds like the context of posts and writers; quite the contrary takes place in including such »landscapes of knowledge« into scientific papers and theses as only by doing so the fostering of such a learning-culture can come into being, can become disruptive and therefore lead to learning environments where the use of OER and the idea of cc will become well established.

This leads to further questions dealing with using OER to foster global learning-processes: OER recently still remain in great parts local respectively national projects. Following the ideas both of OER as well as of the creative-commons-license, going as far as allowing to transform and build upon texts, it would be consequent to do the next step by making them available not only to a learning community speaking the same language (and therefore having common, or at least similar) cultural learning-background but to make them globally available and usable?
This cannot be done by “just” translating it into as much languages as possible, as “only” translating does not necessarily lead to transporting meaning. There has to be reflection on the contexts before, on the different meanings languages respectively their underlying social-cultural premises bring with them. So in the forefront of any translation has to be reflected and so brought into consciousness the subliminal contexts of the terminology used in the original text. There has to be (meta)communication between the authors of the original text and the translators and this would automatically lead to not only an adequate accessibility of the text for people reading it in an other than the original language, but also a revision of the original text, as such a meta-communication – as shown in figure 2 – is a process that leads to the consequent and permanent regeneration of knowledge. These reflections also acknowledge and make clear the importance of the above shift in eLearning through digitalization as it enables to revise and expand commonly created – respectively generated – knowledge.

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