Essential question: What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?
First lets start with what open learning is. "Open learning is described as learning that occurs in a shared and transparent manner in which others can reuse, revise, remix, and/or redistribute the evidence of learning with others. Open learning encourages collaboration, connections, networked learning, and interdependence between educators and learners" (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O'Byrne, 2014).
So a huge benefit in open learning is the flexibility it provides. There a not many barriers with this type of learning. This means that students have access to anything they or the teacher can find. It really opens up a whole realm of possibility as far a learning goes.
With this flexibility learning becomes more open to everyone. There is such diversity in a population it is hard to meet the needs of all learners. Higher education is starting to see a greater diversity of students than in the past and they must accommodate all. As Fraser & Deane (1997) state, "Institutes of higher education are also facing the challenges of large numbers of learners, each with differing educational, ethnic and cultural backgrounds and hence, foundations upon which the learning experience can be based." Even though this is an older article, I believe this is still true. Open learning allows for more differentiated learning as learners take charge of the learning they encounter. The video below shows a school designed around the open concept. I like how the teacher explains that it forces her to differentiate.
Another huge benefit to the surge in open learning is Open Education Resources (OER). OER's "are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license permitting their free use or re-purposing by others" (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O'Byrne, 2014). According to the article titled Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup (2015), "High-quality OER can save teachers significant time and effort on resource development and advance student learning inside and outside the classroom. Further, open sharing of resources has the potential to fuel collaboration, encourage the improvement of available materials, and aid in the dissemination of best practices." So really this is a win for everyone. These resources save time and can be changed many times for the better. I just couldn't resist posting this video, so enjoy! It was in a playlist on the Edutopia article I read.
Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., & O'Byrne, I. (2014). Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.academia.edu/10311797
Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup. (2015, December 4). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/open-educational-resources-guide