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Thursday, April 26 • 10:30 - 10:55
Australian Teachers’ Experience of Professional Learning through Open Education

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This study explored Australian K-12 teachers’ experience of professional learning through open education. In this context, open education is associated with resources, tools, practices and culture enabled through open Web technologies. In an attempt to increase student engagement and achievement in STEM subjects, the Australian Government seeks to improve the capacity of teachers and the quality of their STEM teaching, through professional learning. However, professional learning is often perceived by teachers as ineffective and irrelevant to their needs. Since beliefs impact on practice, this was considered an important area to explore in terms of meaning rather than effectiveness. Meaning is central to the field of adult education and, in this study, teachers are viewed as adult learners. Despite professional learning being widely researched, studies from the teacher’s perspective, and the perspective of teachers as adult learners, are limited. Similarly, the concept of open education is widely researched, but limited in the context of K-12 teacher professional learning. This gap was addressed by asking: what are the qualitatively different ways in which Australian teachers experience open education for professional learning? A phenomenographic approach was used to explore this question. Firstly, demographic data and information regarding teachers’ knowledge of open education was collected through an online survey. Secondly, data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 20 Australian primary and secondary teachers involved in STEM education and learning through open education. This study revealed the meaning of professional learning through open education is related to: having autonomy, information, other people, being creative, permeable classrooms, complexity and personal change. This study provides new knowledge about the meaning teachers attribute to professional learning through open education. It also contributes to research into adult learning through exploration of experience, a concept central to transformative learning theory.


Thursday April 26, 2018 10:30 - 10:55 CEST
Commissie 2