Overview and Analysis of Practices with Open Educational Resources in Adult Education in Europe

Isobel Jessie Falconer, Lou McGill, Allison Littlejohn, Eleni Boursinou

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report synthesizes the findings of the "OER4Adults study", a study conducted in 2012-13 by a team from the Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University, under a contract with the European Commission Joint Research Centre IPTS, and in collaboration with DG Education and
Culture. The project aimed to provide an overview of Open Educational Practices in adult learning in Europe, identifying enablers and barriers to successful implementation of practices with OER. The report identifies over 150 Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives, and develops a typology that classifies them primarily by their main activity type. A survey based on the typology drew 36 responses from initiative leaders, and these are analysed against a context of developments in adult learning to arrive at an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing OER in adult learning in Europe. The analysis reveals six tensions that drive developing Open Educational Practices in adult learning; open versus free; traditional versus new approaches; altruism versus marketisation; community versus openness; mass participation versus quality; add-on versus embedded funding. The report recommends: 1. Recognising that ‘learning’ takes place everywhere; 2. Extending the range of people and organisations that produce and use resources; 3. Thinking about OER more broadly than as content; 4. Promoting awareness of open licensing and its implications; 5. Improving the usability of OER; and 6. Planning for sustained change.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJoint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Commissioning bodyEuropean Commission
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • open educational resources
  • OER
  • adult education
  • lifelong learning


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