2036: The Evolutionary Revolution of Open Education Realized

Open Education 2016

Author: Catherine Casserly, Aspen Institute, United States

In 2036, new cultural practices will have been sufficiently embedded in the fabric of society to support the global acceptance and adoption of open education and its practices in the reclaimed commons. The default license in education will be Creative Commons, albeit with the standard simplified to CC0. With technological advances, the continuous loop of Open Educational Resources used in context for learning, with immediate assessment and feedback data on learning outcomes, will be realized. Rapidly, useless content and assessments will be reworked and improved. Pedagogical data gathered, stripped of individual identifying information, will be openly available to accelerate the next stage of innovation. Efficiencies in both in learning and cost will be achieved.

Part of Open Education’s success in 2036 will be yielded from the clearly understood need for continuous lifelong learning resulting from the emerging gig economy. While university degrees will continue to be offered for those privileged to access, the vast majority of humanity will engage in learning through what we now call supplemental resources, the preponderance being OER of various forms. Mobile devices will the primary vehicle for digital engagement.

Open Education will sit at the cultural space built on high levels of engagement and transparency. Learning, in both formal and informal settings, will be deepened, peer-based and collaborative, and extend to broader networks. The evolution of these new cultural norms in learning will be reflective of a larger societal transformation.

This transformation will be realized because Open Education will be a supported public good. With philanthropies bearing the early risk seeding the field, in the next two decades, government (i.e., taxpayer) funds will be allocated to support the necessary infrastructure, including mechanisms for updates and maintenance. Improved tools and workflows will reduce existing barriers to ready adoption and implementation.

In 2001, when the OER field was launched, the practices of sharing in education were almost nonexistent. A quarter-century and a decade later, the combination of a fiercely dedicated OE community, robust research on the efficacy of OE, technological breakthroughs, simplified standards, and public commitment will shift traditional structures to evolve to a widely accepted phenomenon.

Creative Commons License
This work by Catherine Casserly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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