insights

OPEN EDUCATION

Conversations – Chiara Moroni interviews Fabio Nascimbeni from Universidad Internacional De La Rioja C. M.: Could you tell us about Open Education, briefly summarising the state of the movement and explaining what it is? F. N.: The Open Education movement is a relatively complex movement with one part dedicated to research and innovation, another to Advocacy and, lastly, a part through which individuals from our society, representing teachers and professors, try to change things a little. A movement that was actually founded in the seventies by the Open Universities, but came to prominence a few years ago (about ten), thanks to the opportunities that technology provides with regard to the creation, use and reuse of online material. For many, Open Education is synonymous with Open Educational Resource and, indeed, they are capable of bringing about significant changes to many aspects of the learning process, in schools, universities and companies, on their own. In truth, the movement is evolving, achieving a number of major successes. It is maturing and over the last few years has begun working on the issue of opening to and legitimising resources, both in terms of licences and technological use. It is increasingly working on open pedagogy, open design and open research, in fact everything to do with Open Access in research. It has begun facing different problems, including the issue of technology, which has been resolved in part. Much progress has been made on the legal issue regarding licencesand I think that the main issue is a question of sustainability, followed by the Business Model for open education and, at the same time, innovation. Once these goals have been achieved, the question will become what Open Education can do to change matters, not just to improve them to some extent. C. M.: Is Open Education something exclusively within the university environment or can it also have an impact in the corporate sector? F. N.: The university and school environments, which is to say formal education, are undoubtedly the areas in which there is more research, more things regarding Open Educational Resource. One of the keywords is Mooc, an open, massive course that allows hundreds of thousands of users to take part, a phenomenon that has afforded visibility to both open education and e-learning as such since 2009 and, especially, since 2012. The Mooc phenomenon can clearly be adapted to corporate needs, as can the use of open methodologies and resources. The Open Education movement will become prominent in companies over the coming years, because now the concept of open (opening resources) is being linked to the concept of collaboration. We often talk about open and network scholars or teachers, then add the amount of open resources to the amount of collaboration online and this clearly has the potential to be of great interest to companies, because it not only allows you to open and improve cooperation regarding learning for the creation of skills within a company, but also within the supply chain. What we need to learn from the universities is how to do things in an open manner, producing not only short-term results, and therefore lower costs and greater transparency, but also long-term results. It seems that online collaboration, when based on open practices, works better. This is being explored, or will need to be explored, by companies. C. M.: Are there any difficulties that could make it more difficult for this type of paradigm to be accepted or prevent it from being adopted? F. N.: A US study found that, in businesses, the people who offered the most resistance to open approaches (the use of Mooc, for example) are not the users of this new type of training, but those who have to implement training, the Learning Officers. This mirrors exactly what happens at universities, where the main resistance is not so much on the part of the decision makers, those running the universities who, in order to keep pace with the times, want to have their own Mooc or e-Mooc, nor on the part of students who are used to working in a network and sharing resources, but on the part of teachers and tutors, because they see themselves being replaced, they perceive a danger. Research shows that teachers are still unable to become accustomed to a role as mediators of the learning process and it seems – from the little that I managed to gather – that this will represent the main challenge. Another problem is that of the role of informal learning within companies, since when open or network approaches are adopted all tacit knowledge becomes less tacit, it becomes available, thereby changing the balance of power relationships, established relationships. C. M.: How is certification managed in both universities and companies? F. N.: There are many examples of innovative certifications that run parallel with traditional certifications, for example, the Open Badge movement or portfolios. The Open Badge movement, introduced by Mozilla a few years ago, can probably be transferred and is already used in some cases in companies. Meanwhile, traditional certifications by Corporate Universities, with regard to companies, is struggling. There are many intermediate situations that recognise participation to a course. Skills are recognised, albeit without an official certificate, since it would entail too high a cost. There are instances, such as the OER University in New Zealand (a consortium of universities with many partners around the world), which is experiencing its first year of online college education completely free-of-charge with a low-cost certificate. This way forward is being introduced and, should it work, would have a significant impact both at university and company levels. C. M.: That’s really interesting. What are the scenarios on the horizon? What can we look forward to if this approach is adopted by companies over the next few years? F. N.: One scenario is most certainly a greater integration between formal learning and experiential learning in companies. Seventy percent of the creation of knowledge and skills that occur after courses, once transparency increases thanks to the use of open resources or open practices, should become more relevant and more visible. This, added to new certification practices both inside and outside companies, aimed at potential talents that companies wish to attract, will have an impact in terms of efficiency and the reusability of resources and practices. An approach that is slightly more constructivist: not the beginning courses from scratch, but from the knowledge that was produced during the previous edition together with the students. This causes a change in the perception of oneself in both the student and the trainer, in the latter’s role as mediator, rather than trainer in the traditional sense. The revolution is under way in Higher Education, but we are far from the tipping point. The corporate environment is a little further, but I don’t see a drastically different dynamic. The corporate environment can learn a lot from what’s going on in universities. The skilla staff

Scritto da: Staff skilla

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