Feature Story

A Closer Look at Open Learning

There is little doubt that the education system in the form classroom schooling is insufficient to meet every individual need. To this end, many approaches to reform the education have been sought. The concept open learning has been around since the 1970’s and has continued to evolve into its current 21st century form. At the core of open learning is the individual themselves, who is at the center of the education experience -creating an individualized learning environment.

Open learning as it was originally conceived, is defined as ” an innovative movement in education that emerged in the 1970s and evolved into fields of practice and study. The term refers generally to activities that either enhance learning opportunities within formal education systems or broaden learning opportunities beyond formal education systems.” Since its inception, the concept has begun to evolve, and better integrated into the robust technological capabilities that are available today.

In its current form, open learning provides the student with the option to select from a range of education services that can provide access to a broader range of industry-relevant skills than ever history. The greatest potential for open learning is generation of a global marketplace for education. With the advent of online schooling and the global threat of COVID-19, open learning represents a new way forward for education in all its forms without some of the previous limitations of the past.

In the past, factors like school bullying, violence and class sizes affected the learning environment of students. These problems affecting school learning would then be compounded by outside factors such commuting time, geographic availability and regional separation. With proper leveraging of technology and awareness of new education approaches, many of these factors can be circumvented today; while concurrently providing a more enriches and individualized learning environment and pace. It can also open the door for allows adult students into industry specific roles through micro-credentials and short courses faster than traditional approaches.

As we progress towards a brave new post-COVID world, the ownership of responsibility is on the shoulder of educators who are aware new education approaches like open learning- and to remedy the flaws in the current education system for the future. With a more powerful and empowering education approach, open learning can be a valuable tool in creating the next generation of leaders who can shape a better collective future for everyone.

Cited: D’Antoni, Susan (2009). “Open Educational Resources: reviewing initiatives and issues”. Open Learning. 24 (1 (Special Issue)): 3–10.