Research · Editorial

IET scholars lead ground-breaking Open World Learning research

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Recap the OU and Leverhulme Trust Open World Learning research showcase.

The knowledge exchange event hosted an audience of world-leading experts in open world learning who have completed the OU and Leverhulme Trust’s Open World Learning programme, whose research has been recognised in the launch of a new open-access Open World Learning Book which is available in hardback and digital download, published from Routledge.

The Open World Learning programme was funded by the Leverhulme Trust to train a cohort of PhD student, supporting the production of ground-breaking research in the field of open world learning and addressing barriers to access globally. As a result, researchers have explored a wide range of open world learning topics, covering theoretical and methodological discussions to empirical demonstrations of how open world learning can be effectively implemented, evaluated, and used to inform theory and practice.

As learning and teaching practices continue to transform, with the prolonged impact of digital, network technologies, open learning can play a role in providing unprecedented access to educational information, in a global context. Despite this, access to formal and informal learning remains a complex barrier.

Discussing the programme and the motivations of the doctoral scholars who have studied at the OU, Professor Bart Rienties, Programme Lead of the Open World Learning programme at the OU's Institute of Educational Technology, commented:

"Open world learning seeks to understand access to education, structures, and the presence of dialogue and support systems. It explores how the application of open practices and educational technologies can be used to create opportunities for open and high-quality education."

“This book presents the leading research from a cohort of scholars who have completed the award-winning Leverhulme doctoral training programme. The book consolidates several perspectives from 18 scholars who have been supported by world-leading experts at the Institute of Educational Technology and Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) at The Open University”.

"The book, which has been published by Routledge, brings together a range of innovative uses of technology and practice in open world learning from a combined 387,134 learners and educators, across 136 unique learning contexts, globally."

"The book also considers the enablers and disablers of openness in learning, ethical and privacy implications, and how open world learning can be used to foster inclusive approaches to learning across educational sectors, disciplines, and countries."

Access the Open World Learning Book here (available from Routledge in hardback and free e-access digital download), and keep up to date with @IETatOU on twitter where we will be sharing some new videos which our open world learning post-graduate researchers.