Weller et al (2015) conduct a large, mixed methods study to evaluate six of the eleven hypotheses articulated by the Open Research Hub to describe the key "beliefs and motivations regarding OERs" (p. 352). The six hypotheses explored are (1) OER lead to improved student learning and satisfaction, (2) open access leads to different usage and adoption patterns, (3) OER foster more equitable education that reaches a larger group of learners than traditional education, (4) OER can help retain at-risk students, (5) OER helps teachers reflect critically and improve their practice, and (6) OER produces financial benefits for students/institutions. To test these hypotheses, the authors conduct an extensive survey administered at 15 different institutions, as well as complimentary interviews and quantitative analysis. In their conclusion, the authors indicate that although it is difficult to obtain clear student outcome data, there is no evidence that suggests OER negatively impacts student performance, and their study suggests that OER positively impacts students' attitudes towards learning and is perceived as beneficial for student learning. Furthermore, the authors add that OER improves teacher practices, allows students to supplement or experiment with formal education, and offers obvious financial benefits.
Martin Weller, Beatriz de los Arcos, Rebecca Pitt, Patrick McAndrew
Primary educational sector
Secondary educational sector