Degrees for Open Learning?
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Open Educational Resources (OER) can be analysed in relation to the basic tension apparent in the modern educational system: by contrasting pedagogical function with the process of selection. On the one hand we expect knowledge to be open, and for its own sake; while on the other, we expect to use it as means to develop a personal career.
OER, freely accessible on the Internet, falls within the realm of educational functionality, facilitating learning processes outside of formal structures characterised by selection processes like degrees and diplomas. However, OER are lacking an associate service industry (such as Open-Source Software distributors) which could improve their usability and develop their overall economic impact.
The article explores the possibility of finding marketable services in relation to the selection function, arguing that degree-providing institutions can offer learners credits for the competences acquired during open learning, in other words, re-formalizing the process. Such accreditation would be an asset, it could provide access to better careers, and as such it might be possible to price this service in a more or less cost-efficient way. Different current developments, like the French ‘validation des acquis de l’experience’, show that this scenario is realistic.