Monday, June 22, 2009

Wiley calls it “dirty secret” of OER

Just picked up a fresh PhD study by S. M. Duncan from USU, a student of D.Wiley's. The study is called Patterns of Learning Object Reuse in the Connexions Repository. The punch line is that there is very little reuse of LOs among the repository studied.

What new? Similar findings have been discovered here in Europe (end elsewhere) for a while now. Ochoa (2008), for example, found in his PhD dissertation that reuse in general remains low, about 20%, across all sizes of collections. This was interesting not only for how low the reuse is (20%, common!), but also because since forever folks have been saying that resources with smaller granularity are more reusable, as they lack context, etc (insert here the infamous graph of "modular content hierarchy", the most used LO). Well, according to Ochoa (2008), this was not the case.

I also looked at the reuse on 2 different platforms: LeMill and Calibrate from European Schoolnet. My twist was to study the cross-boundary use and reuse, i.e. teachers reusing learning resources that are in a language other than their mother tongue and originate from different countries than they do. I used the same reuse definition as Ochoa (2008), which basically is the same as in Duncan's study.

The finding was that the general reuse was around 20%, but NOT across all collections. For example, in LeMill, "Multimedia material" was used more often, but in Calibrate, the smaller granularity was seldom added to Collections. The cross-boundary reuse was notably less (37% to 55% of it). Moreover, in some of the collections only around 10% of resources were ever added to a collections, which makes you really think hard about the efficiency of this all..

Anyway, the good news in Duncan's study is this:

There was a common author in 3,722 module uses, while there were only 1,013 module uses where there was no common author. This means that modules were included in collections 3.67 times more often when there was at least one person in common with both the module and the collection.p.32

So if people know each other, they are more likely to reuse material from each other! This shows that social is important when we are talking about the use and reuse of learning resources! This is similar to what I am saying in my PhD thesis, which hopefully will come out one day soon. My twist of course is that tags can make those social connections between people, and by taking advantage of these underlying social connections, we can make the learning resource discovery much better - and hopefully also more useful for teachers.

Vuorikari, R., Koper, R. Evidence of cross-boundary use and reuse of digital educational resources. Link to a revised version of the paper, not reviewed yet!


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