When are Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices too open?

In this unit’s readings, Bates and Merrill present rather polarizing viewpoints. For the sake of brevity, I’ll take some license in summarizing. The blog post from Bates (2019) suggests an open approach to learning where the learner and instructor roles are interchangeable. Whereas, Merrill (2002) paper focuses on a more traditional and structured approach of instructor-led design.

Interestingly for me, as an instructional designer who has worked in the field of corporate training for over a decade, it’s challenging to envision how open educational resources (OER) and open educational practises (OEP) could be incorporated. The challenge being the organization’s resistance to allowing such a level of openness in the realm staff training where certain considerations have to be evaluated. In particular the idea of compliance and regulatory practises that influence what can and cannot be ‘open’ within a corporate environment. That said, however, there are indications that my organization is moving towards a customizable, learner-centric approach to training which may act as precursor to a more open, learning platform in the future.

I was therefore intrigued when I read Bates’ (2019) blog post and how the ideas presented could be applied in a corporate environment. In particular, this statement resonated with regard to the emerging trend in new skills common to all learners, “…a learner-centered teaching approach that focuses on students accessing content on the Internet (and in real life) as part of developing knowledge, skills and competencies defined by the instructor, or learners managing their learning for themselves; however, content would not be restricted to officially designated open educational resources, but to everything on the Internet, because one of the core skills students will need is how to assess and evaluate different sources of information…” After all the students who are in K 12 and higher education now, will ultimately be the future learners in our organization. Their experience and expectations will shape how corporations educate and support employees in the future.

At the moment, I have more questions than I do answers, but I am very intrigued to explore this course to discover what opportunities are there for me as an educator as well as my organization to support our staff. Particularly as we move increasingly towards a mobile workforce, these questions and considerations become paramount in ensuring that we are successful in the larger reaching and longer-term strategic initiatives as they relate to developing and supporting our people.


Bates, A. W. (2019). Chapter 11.4 Open Pedagogy. Teaching in a Digital Age. [blog post] Retrieved from https://www.tonybates.ca/2019/09/26/chapter-11-4-open-pedagogy/

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43-59. Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/article/10.1007/BF02505024

Photo by Nuno Antunes on Unsplash

2 Replies to “When are Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices too open?”

  1. Hi Sue, it is really interesting to experience all of these peripheral factors spinning all around us that will ultimately affect the way we design in both traditional educational institutions, and in corporate settings. As you point out, the future workforce is currently enrolled in K-12 and post-secondary, and are experiencing a radical shift in pedagogical approaches – as we ride this wave of change, perhaps those peripheral details will come into focus.

    Thanks for posting!
    Lisa Gedak

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Indeed, interesting times, and your metaphor of riding the wave of change is an apt one! Like you, I’m optimistic that the dizzying array of options available settle into some type of pattern that provides direction and focus with regard to the next [best] step(s).
      Looking forward to learning more with you!

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