Open Education Resources: bestie for nonformal and informal learning

Education mainly refers to sharing or dissemination of knowledge with others in contrast; most educational materials are costly with having persuasive copyright issues for accessing, reproducing or reusing. Doesn’t it violate the central concept of “sharing” in the definition of education?

Online materials are gifted with the capability of easy sharing, and in the earlier stage of WWW (Web 2.0), most of the static web pages had free and easy access. But with the evolution of the web from 1.0 to 2.0 transferring static web feature to dynamic the free access of web materials were restricted with the authenticated access.

Online learning sites have been vastly created using sophisticated Virtual Learning (VLE)/ Learning Management Systems with high access security. All the educational materials were inside the box. Institutions always tried to prevent exposing their educational materials for unauthorised people. Documents were with high restriction of copying or printing.

The theme of “Education for all” got simplified during the 21st Century lessening the high restriction of online materials. Therefore open education concept has been introduced by introducing free access for specific course materials without any access restrictions, including a price also. Open education has been established through Open Educational Resources (OER). Open Education Practice (OEP) is referred of following the open course materials and developing the OER. Initially, there were different issues such as accuracy, trustworthy, fidelity issues in the OER which prevent access the OER. Therefore those materials were mostly used for nonformal and informal education. But now some of the universities are using those materials of formal education also.

Mainly you can reuse OER materials for your teaching and research purposes. But you have to identify whether the e-material you are accessing with open access privileges. The copyright symbol of the content tells us what can we do with that e-material. There are 5’Rs you can do with OER materials.

  1. Retain – the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content.
  2. Reuse –  can reuse in its original form.
  3. Revise – can modify, alter or adapt
  4. Remix – content can be extracted to combine with other content to form a new material.
  5. Redistribute – can share the copies with others in original, altered or combined format.
OER 5R Permission-original picture

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), I rate those as one of the most significant formations of open education, and I could cover most of my informal learning through the MOOC courses which are freely available in different websites.   Especially most of the MOOC courses are developed by prominent universities with veteran academics in various fields. The MOOC courses cover vast subject areas. Most of the courses are very user-friendly, professional and high-quality materials. The following list shows some of the MOOC courses which I followed in different areas.



(Click the relevant subject to access the course)


Teaching with web 2.0 tools

Blended Learning Essentials

Inferential Statistics

Machine Learning

Further to the about sites you can search for very good MOOC courses in the following sites also.

MIT Open Courseware

Open Learn from Open University UK


However, there may be some issues and challenges in open education when applying for formal education