For me, innovation works with creativity to produce new ideas and solutions that meet the current and future needs of learners. Innovation is transformative and will undoubtedly introduce change for our learners and our educational establishments.
In terms of my definition of innovation I would judge OpenLearn as being part of a tool kit which helps build creativity and innovation. OpenLearn has been able to build its resources upon existing work of the OU (and its reputation as a market leader in providing quality graduates). OpenLearn created an open source learning environment which offered a chance for self-study embedded within a supporting site, rather than just a transfer of materials. These self-study materials became ‘Learning Objects’ (Rehak and Mason, 2003) and as Ilich (1971) envisioned enabled students to gain access to any educational resource which may help them to define and achieve their own goals. Together these provided opportunities for students to work unrestricted alongside peers of similar or slightly advanced skills allowing individuals to improve their own performance and taking them through their Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky). In 1995 Brunner spoke of a world where learners can act directly and interact with others as this could help provide the ideal cross-over from the restricted models of teacher-based education to more independent and holistic approaches. OER needs to contain transformational elements which have educational merit and openness has offered a way to respond to this constructively.
We are working towards demand-pull learning where the learning shifts focus to enabling participants to ‘learn to be’ through enculturation into practice along with collateral learning. This new learning environment will provide access to rich (OER supported) learning communities which may be virtual. Learning will be motivated through the student’s needs and wants and will be informal, reflective and will develop through working with others in a shared learning environment.
McAndrew, Patrick and Farrow, Robert (2013). Open education research: from the practical to the theoretical. In: McGreal, Rory; Kinuthia, Wanjira and Marshall, Stewart eds. Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice. Vancouver, Canada: Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University, pp 65-78.
Seely Brown, John and Adler, Richard, P. (2008). Minds on Fire. Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 43, no.1, pp. 16-32; also available online at http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0811.pdf (last accessed on 8 February 2016)