Designing an online learning environment on Open Educational Resources for science education

Shironica Karunanayaka (The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka)
Chandana Fernando (The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka)
Vajira de Silva (The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka)

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal

ISSN: 2414-6994

Article publication date: 1 March 2013

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The concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) is a major breakthrough in education, which promotes sharing, adaptation and contextualisation of course content. Promotion of using OER can be very cost effective, since development of new course content would be both expensive and time consuming. However, awareness raising and capacity building of teachers and learners is crucial, in order to exploit the full potential of OER.

The Faculty of Education at the Open University of Sri Lanka, initiated a research project to create an Online Learning Environment (OLE) on OER for science education, witha view to raise awareness, develop competencies and enhance adapting, adoption and creation of OER by teachers. This is developed in Moodle Learning Management System, as a supplementary material for science teachers enrolled in a distance mode professional development programme. The research team, together with a group of science teachers and teacher educators, who are their students, is engaged in this action research conducted in several stages: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. This paper discusses the first three stages, concerning the following objectives: to identify sources of OER for science education, to make key design decisions of the OLE, and to design and develop the OLE on OER for science education.

The analysis of need, learner, task and context, resulted in making decisions on information, instruction, interaction and interface design. Some initial design decisions are: Structuring of information on finding, using and creating OER related to teaching science, while making it relevant and meaningful for teachers; Use of exploratory instructional strategies enabling teachers to select OER; Incorporate frequent interactions encouraging teachers to adopt, adapt, create and share OER; and Use of different media elements to make the visual layout motivating. A prototype will be pilot tested with science teachers with a view to revise and improve the OLE on OER. Allowing student teachers/teacher educators to work collaboratively with their instructors, as a team, enable both parties to face challenges together, in this novel experience of designing and developing an OLE on OER.


Karunanayaka, S., Fernando, C. and de Silva, V. (2013), "Designing an online learning environment on Open Educational Resources for science education", Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 1-11.



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