Creating tools that help make Open Education Resources better

The Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University is conducting research and development into creating tools that help make Open Education Resources better meet the needs of unique learners. We all learn differently in different contexts, and with different preferences for mode (e.g. text, audio, video, all). The Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University is conducting research and development into creating tools that help make Open Education Resources better meet the needs of all of us unique learners.

Learners learn differently, and today’s society needs diverse, self-aware, life-long learners. FLOE (flexible open education) provides the resources to personalize learning and to address barriers to learning. FLOE supports learners, educators and curriculum producers in achieving one-size-fits-one learning design for the full diversity of learners by leveraging the variants made possible by Open Education Resources (OER).

The team of designers and developers at the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD University is interested in creating tools that make technology and content adapt to the needs of individuals, not the other way around. We have the power to adapt digital content – in the area of education doing so can mean the difference between achieving a learning outcome and not, of being marginalized as a learner or being included. Language, pace, path, delivery method, pedagogical approach, motivation, feedback forms, social support, degree of structure are all areas where education can adapt to meet the needs and preferences of individuals, acknowledging that education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

The team at OCAD University is working within a global network to develop, design, and conceptualize ways that education (methods, content, etc.) can be customized to meet the needs of individual learners. In addition to creating tools that can be easily integrated into existing websites and web applications, the team is working with curriculum creators to build in inclusive features as they create content.

Collaborating with global network of technologists, educators, etc. in Europe, Africa and other regions enabled the team to see the applicability of solutions across a variety of cultures and contexts. The international team had the realization that those in remote areas in Ontario have overlapping needs with those in remote populations in Europe. During this collaboration, the movement of refugees particularly to countries in Europe was at the forefront of the news and conversations around this humanitarian crisis reminded the researchers of the importance of internationalization (e.g. language) and accessibility of content. The IDRC continues to help address the challenge of these so called “edge cases” in a new international collaboration that will utilize developments in floe, cloud4all, Outside-In and other projects to bring training and work opportunities to populations moving through refugee camps.

Collaboration