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Free open online resources in workplace and community settings – a case study on overcoming barriers
Cannell, Pete and Macintyre, Ronald

PublishedJanuary 2017
Type of workResearch Article
JournalWidening Participation and Lifelong Learning
Volume 19, Issue 1, Pages 111 - 122
PublisherOpen University

This paper explores whether, in the light of ubiquitous digital technology and the availability of free online courses, it is helpful to revisit well-established understandings of the barriers facing non-traditional students. We begin with brief reviews of the literature on barriers to higher education and the largely distinct literature relating to digital inclusion. We then report on a large-scale action research project that has aimed to understand whether it is necessary to rethink barriers to participation in a world of pervasive digital technology. In particular we focus on work undertaken with a group of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs), which illuminates some of the complexities of thinking about barriers in this context. Through the findings of this research we reflect on the opportunities and challenges involved in using Open Educational Resources (OER) in workplace settings, whether it is necessary to reconsider the way in which barriers to participation are conceptualised and suggest some areas for further research.

Keywords barriers · online · open education · pedagogy · widening participation

RightsNo part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or without the written permission of the publisher
Other informationwide particip lifelong learn
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