Knowledge is in a state of constant change and expansion. It can be difficult to keep up.

Both teachers and students require many resources that will provide adequate content for their educational aspirations.

For some, these textbooks and other learning materials are expensive and unattainable. The prominent growth of open educational resources (OER) has inspired many initiatives for free learning and openly sourced knowledge. Here are some of the basics you should know about open educational resources:


Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research resources that are accessible through a public domain for free use or re-purposing. The goal of OER is that anyone can access knowledge — in the form of high-quality and credible content — from anywhere in the world. The philosophy behind OER is that knowledge is a public good and should be shared free of charge. The growth and expansion of the Internet has made the access of OER more common around the world.



Open educational resources have helped provide developing countries with educational support. OER online materials and courses have served as educational resources for teachers in sub-Saharan Africa. This content strengthens teachers' knowledge and helps them impart what they’ve learned to the students.

OER even helps teachers in first-world countries. Many U.S. schools employ OER as supplemental resources to curriculum. Kahn Academy, for example, has open-access, in-depth instructional videos and practice quizzes, which help the learner refine their understanding of the subject at hand.

Open educational resources are beneficial for self-sufficient learning. An individual may carry aspirations for a career, though can’t afford courses that will give them competency in the subject. They can access academic, online knowledge of their desired subject and teach themselves.

Learning resources that relate to computer science and coding will help raise the bar of technological literacy among the general population. This is especially important given the evolution of the workplace, which requires enhanced computer literacy. Employers can direct employees to OER that will help them meet the new workplace standards.

OER Examples

Any educational tool can be considered OER. Some of the most common examples of OER include comprehensive courses, instructional materials, learning modules, textbooks, online videos, testing material, computer software and other educational support tools. Here are some of the top online resources to find OER:

Lumen Learning

Lumen provides fully-customizable courses on more than 60 subjects. They help replace the high school textbooks that were once required. Educators can now work with Lumen and customize a course that utilizes OER for the needs of their classroom. Lumen is ideal for educational facilities that lack funding for expensive textbooks. Their provided course materials help cut textbook spending by 90 percent. Lumen will provide course materials and also track student performance through metrics that analyze passing rates, persistence and course completion.


Busy Teacher is a resource for educators that provides worksheets and resources. Teachers can explore the sitemap and choose from topics like grammar, vocabulary, ESL essentials, speaking and writing. The free printable worksheets are excellent resources to measure classroom comprehension or as practice work. There are over 10,000 printable worksheets that are applicable towards various learning levels — beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Kahn Academy

Khan Academy has over 3,000 videos in subjects ranging from math and biology to chemistry and economics. The subject levels include K-12, collegiate and post-collegiate. The videos display accredited teachers who provide a detailed lecture or lesson, paired with self-paced exercises.

Students and teachers can analyze and track the progression of students and assess their learning level. Teachers can break down the analytics and identify which areas of the subject are the most difficult. This allows quick identification for how the teacher can help improve the students' comprehension of the subject.

Khan Academy content is provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate, NASA, Dartmouth College, California Academy of Sciences, Standford School of Medicine, NOVA Labs, the Aspen Institute and many other prestigious institutions.

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