7 Tips To Use Open Educational Resources In Online Training
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How To Use Open Educational Resources In Online Training

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are readily available resources, that is, they are free for the masses. These online materials help corporate learners expand their knowledge and deepen their understanding of specific topics or tasks. eLearning professionals can also use Open Educational Resources to enrich their online training courses, even if they are pressed for time and on a tight corporate eLearning budget. Here are 7 helpful tips for using Open Educational Resources in your online training course.

1. Verify Usage Rights

Most Open Educational Resources have a Creative Commons license. This means they are generally free to use. However, there are different variations of this license, as well as different stipulations. For example, certain Creative Commons online resources require an attribution. This means that you must include a link or credit if you decide to use the online training content in your corporate eLearning materials, while others come with no copyright strings attached. You generally won't have to provide any attributions for online training content that is not modified or reused. For example, if you simply include the link to the resource in your online training course.

2. Ensure That Online Resources Pass The Quality Assurance Test

The online resources may be free. But is it really worth adding them to your online training course? Every Open Educational Resource should first pass the Quality Assurance test to ensure that it's factual, and aligns with your learning  objectives. Does it contain statistics that are supported by reliable sources? Does it feature high-quality writing and graphics? Will it clarify concepts or cause cognitive overload? The online resource must meet all the requirements to earn a spot in your online training program. It's wise to have your Subject Matter Expert examine every Open Educational Resource before you consider it for your online training course.

3. Create An Open Educational Resource Repository

The secret to Open Educational Resource success is making them convenient. Employees should be able to login to the system and have immediate access to valuable online training resources. For this reason, it's wise to create an Open Educational Resource repository, such as a master list that features hyperlinks and categories. As an example, one section of the repository may be for compliance procedures, while another provides "moment of need" online resources for work-related tasks or skill-building tools. This also gives employees the ability to create their own personalized online training paths. For instance, a member of your sales staff can pick-and-choose the Open Educational Resources they need to improve their negotiation and communication skills.

4. Use Open Educational Resources For Inspiration

Open Educational Resources are also ideal for eLearning professionals who develop online training courses. You have the opportunity to use them as inspiration for your next corporate eLearning project, or to brush up on the subject matter. For example, you need to create a task-based scenario which provides real-world online training experience. You can research the steps and skills involved in the task with the help of Open Educational Resources, especially if these online resources were developed by Subject Matter Experts and specialists in the field. This saves you the time and expense of outsourcing the work, as you have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal. Take it a step further by offering your eLearning team a list of helpful Open Educational Resources for your upcoming online training project.

5. Repurpose Resources To Create Comprehensive Courses

If the Creative Commons license does specify that you can modify the online resource, repurpose the online training content to suit your needs. For example, only one aspect of the Open Educational Resource aligns with your goals and objectives. As such, you can pick-and-choose which elements you'd like to include, and discard the rest. This is ideal for organizations on a tight corporate eLearning budget or with limited online training experience. Simply find resources with unrestricted Creative Commons licenses, then use a rapid eLearning authoring tool to develop effective online training materials.

6. Encourage Self-Guided Exploration

One of the most beneficial online training activities is self-guided exploration. Employees have the opportunity to build their knowledge and skills at their own pace. Likewise, they can focus on their goals and needs, which allows them to fill personal performance gaps. To facilitate this process, provide your employees with targeted Open Educational Resources and then let them set the schedule. This is yet another reason why Open Educational Resource repositories are valuable online training tools. Employees have constant access to instructional aids that can help them upskill and improve workplace productivity, even if there aren't any formal online training sessions scheduled. You can even incorporate Open Educational Resource discovery "missions" in the form of online group collaboration activities. Break employees into teams, and invite them to compile a list of topic-centered Open Educational Resources. Then they can share it with their peers, who can also benefit from the newly expanded online resource library.

7. Host A Live Open Educational Resource Workshop

The two most common challenges associated with Open Educational Resources in online training is lack of awareness and tech know-how. Many employees may not even know that there are Open Educational Resources available which can help them improve their workplace performance. Even if they do, they may still lack the necessary tech experience to find and access these online training resources. For these reasons, you should consider a live Open Educational Resource workshop or webinar. Take the opportunity to inform your employees about the benefits of Open Educational Resources and how to use them. Offer walkthroughs and online tutorials that show them how to access the materials and find the information they need. Above all else, offer them ongoing support so that they can overcome common obstacles.

Open Educational Resources can cut your online training costs and enhance the benefits for your employees. However, you must use them wisely in order to achieve the desired outcome. Otherwise, you may end up confusing corporate learners instead of simplifying complex concepts.  Follow these 7 tips to use Open Educational Resources effectively to improve your online training ROI.

Are you an eLearning professional looking for more free eLearning resources? Read the article Over 1000 Free eLearning Resources to explore over 1000 free eLearning resources for both new and experienced eLearning professionals.

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