Are open educational resources the key to global economic growth?

John Daniel, Jul 08, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Here's the argument, in a nutshell: "there is mounting evidence that learners can be trained more quickly using OER... this means that OERs can be used to create a better trained, more flexible global workforce for the 21st century." All other things being equal, I think the argument is successful. I have in the past talked about the load societies carry, and of how responsible social policies have the effect of lightening this load. But not all other things are equal. Educating the bulk of society means a shift in power and wealth, one that those who currently own all the power and wealth do not support. As we have seen since 2008 (and currently in Europe) they will leave scorched earth behind, rather than give up their privilege. So in implementing OERs and open education generally we need to be cognizant of the social changes that will be needed in order to support the changes in education.

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