Summary of recommendations
Multilateral and Technical Agencies
Multilateral agencies that fund large projects that include the creation of manuals and resources, could improve efficiency if they use base resources (OER) that have been created in other projects. Likewise, manuals and resources created by multilateral and international agencies could be put to more productive use if they show, by example, that all the resources they produce are being shared free of charge. Donor coordination can help to ensure that each development investment made is productive and not duplicated at all by other investments by other or their own agencies. Development and technical agencies that implement projects funded by governments and international and multilateral agencies, can make a significant difference in ensuring that investments do not get diluted by being repeated in more than one activity. Agencies that provide grant funding or other project support can encourage use and re-use of existing OER and require an open license for any resources created with agency support. A long-term plan is needed to inform international and multilateral agency staff of OER and the benefits of using OER. Further work is needed in forming global curriculum guidelines so that when an OER is created in one country, it is a good base OER for another country. Examples from the finance and medical fields could prove useful in understanding how this might be accomplished. Technical methods to share OER across multiple platforms, using different technologies is needed. While we become more diverse around the world, we need technology to support the freedom of making personal and institutional choices that differ between regions, countries, communities, institutions and individuals. Technologies must remain in support and not become the ‘masters’ of OER.
Some governments have started to make changes to policies that support the creation and sharing of learning resources. As more governments recognize the benefits in terms of cost savings and improved quality, it is likely to become a norm to publish learning resources as OER in all countries. Governments can facilitate the sustainable implementation of OER by creating incentives for use and re-use, removing barriers to OER adoption, and funding technical infrastructure to increase access to OER. They can also encourage openness as a component of public policy by requiring all publicly funded materials to carry a public license, publishing educational research through open access journals, making more government data publicly available and supporting open source software.
Institutions, especially those that face financial challenges, could benefit from reviewing the potential savings in costs of improving or creating quality learning resources through the use or OER. Institutions of learning have the potential to increase numbers of learners they support, if they invest in the technologies that enable learners to access learning materials that are available free of charge online.
The more educators share learning content with the world, that helps to cover all curriculum at all levels, the better the chance of all teachers being able to offer better education (if they have the necessary minimum equipment and bandwidth). In the same vein that learners are encouraged to actively participate and share in the learning process, educators are also encouraged to actively participate and share in the creation of learning resources and especially OER.
Information specialists, including librarians and knowledge workers need to provide support for OER in a similar way in which they do for journals, textbooks and online information, both for learners and educators.
Where OER are available, learners need to know and have the resources to access it to enable OER to be optimally used.