Impact of integrating OER in teacher education at the Open University of Sri Lanka
This chapter reports on a research project implemented in the Faculty of Education at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) which investigated the impact of integrating Open Educational Resources (OER) in the teaching-learning process by secondary level student teachers in Sri Lanka. The research questions this study seeks to answer are: What are the impacts of OER integration on the use of instructional materials by teachers? What are the impacts of OER integration on teachers’ pedagogical perspectives? What are the impacts of OER integration on teachers’ pedagogical practices?
The study adopted a design-based research approach. An intervention programme was implemented with 230 participants who were student teachers registered in the OUSL Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme in nine OUSL centres across the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. Data were collected at multiple stages through the following quantitative and qualitative strategies: survey questionnaires, analysis of lesson plans, concept mapping, self-reflection, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, usage data from the learning management system and narratives in the form of “stories”. While descriptive statistical methods such as percentages were used to analyse the quantitative data, the authors employed an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis approach to analyse the qualitative data.
Findings showed that the integration of OER had a substantial impact on changing teachers’ instructional resource use, pedagogical perspectives and pedagogical practices. The careful and systematic design of activities facilitated a shift from a “low” to a “high” degree of innovative use of instructional resources as well as creation of OER by teachers, while their pedagogical perspectives and practices shifted towards more constructivist, context-centric and collaborative patterns, as well as to a participatory and sharing culture, in favour of Open Educational Practices.
This kind of capacity-building of teachers in the adoption of OER has the potential to strengthen the school education system in Sri Lanka. Motivating teachers through provision of further opportunities, and recognition of their initiatives through incentives and appreciation, would enhance empowerment of teachers to act as “change agents”. It will also provide insights to inform recommendations for the formulation of evidence-based guidelines to support OER adoption.