Existing OER research has largely focused on the creation of OER repositories and promotion of a sharing culture among academics in HEIs to release their resources as OERs. EVOL-OER, however, addresses a lack of understanding of how the OERs accumulated in the repositories are being modified and reused over time.

The project will address the following research questions:

  • What are the drivers and barriers for reuse by academics in HEIs?
  • As OERs are reused, how do they evolve over time?

Previous research

Existing OER projects tend to use statistical tools to track quantitative evidence in terms of number of downloads of resources, time spent on the site and geographical location of visitors. These projects also use comment and rating systems to gather additional feedback from users. This evidence is not sufficient to understand how these resources are reused or how they evolve after subsequent reuses.

There is limited previous research into the detail of OER reuse. For example, based on the research conducted as part of the SONET project, Windle et al. (2010) identified reuse patterns in terms of how reuse spreads from one institution to another. Patterns include: transfer effect, relational effect, nodal effect, ripple effect, and cloning effect.  Wiley (2007) categorised types of pedagogical reuse engaged in by the end users in terms of: as-is, technical adaptations, linguistic adaptations, cultural adaptations, pedagogical adaptations, and annotation as adaptations.

The ongoing ORIOLE project aims to tackle other questions around reuse. For example, what types of resources are likely to be reused, what makes resources reusable, and concerns associated with reusing resources.

These initial investigations into reuse have provided preliminary evidence on which this SCORE project will be based.


  • Windle, R. J., Wharrad, H., McCormick, D., Laverty, H., & Taylor, M. (2010). Sharing and reuse in OER: experiences gained from open reusable learning objects in health.  Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME)http://jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2010-4
  • Wiley, D. (2007). 'On the sustainability of Open Educational Resource initiatives in Higher Education'. Paper commissioned by the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) for the project on Open Educational Resources. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/33/9/38645447.pdf

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Dr Ming Nie

SCORE Fellow

T: 0116 252 3740

E: mn79@le.ac.uk