Currently, the number of professionals working on a freelance basis is increasing around the world. Freelancers and independent contractors don’t have salaries—their payment structure is based on short-term jobs, or gigs. A gig economy is beginning to emerge, versus the traditional long-term, full-time job market. And that has some profound impacts on learning and development (L&D).
Established freelancers have busy schedules. They may work from home, while traveling, or at any time of the day in any time zone. Therefore, freelancers are great consumers of training that they can take anytime and anywhere they want.
Clients hire freelancers because, among other reasons, they’re highly knowledgeable, experienced and specialized. That’s one of the main motivations for freelancers to invest in training throughout their careers. Another reason for freelancers to invest in training is the low income they run on at the beginning of their careers. Frequent training is one of the career development strategies that beginner freelancers use to enrich their knowledge. In turn, they diversify their service portfolio and attract more clients, therefore more income.
The availability of training material without time or location restrictions is one key benefit of open education. Another benefit is that it fills a need for freelancers’ and independent contractors’ career growth, while taking into account their limited training budgets.
What Is Open Education?
Open education is a concept relating to how people should create and access knowledge. Given current technology availability, everyone around the world should have access to high-quality training experiences and materials.
In open education, there’s no room for costly or outdated learning resources. Open education involves collaboration by sharing information and knowledge with others. Careers grow from the knowledge that others have acquired and share. The same goes for the growth of skills, reasoning and understanding.
Open Educational Resources
Open educational resources (OERs) are learning materials that anybody can change and improve. This is possible because the creators of those resources give others legal permission to do so through copyright licensing, such as Creative Commons licenses.
The materials span a wide range of types: presentation slides, lecture videos, images, podcasts, eBooks, worksheets, syllabi and lesson plans.
Collaboration on the production of training materials creates a chain reaction. Knowledge generates more knowledge. So, when a trainer changes and improves learning resources, others may build more knowledge on top of that in future versions of those materials.
Massive Open Online Courses
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) consist of OERs in the form of online courses that anyone can take. All the learner needs is a desktop, laptop or mobile device with internet access. Then, they can register and participate in the MOOCs through an online learning platform.
Online courses with this type of access allow massive enrollment from learners all over the world, something that traditional course models can’t accommodate. A single MOOC may enroll thousands of learners worldwide.
What Can Open Education Do for Freelancers?
Open education allows everyone to change and improve training resources. In other words, it offers the freedom to reuse, translate and modify those learning resources. Consequently, open education has the power to:
- Cover a wide range of languages spread across the globe by using translated materials
- Reach many more learners than restricted-access materials from traditional training models
- Increase the customization of L&D resources to learning audiences with distinct needs and characteristics
Open education encourages trainers to work together on the same learning resources. That way, trainers make a joint effort to achieve high-quality learning content. As a result, not only do training materials improve in terms of quality, but also consistency. And trainers feel more engaged in producing those materials because they’re actively contributing to the goal of more accurate, updated and, above all, affordable training resources.
Now, consider open educational resources versus the cost of printed learning materials. With learning platforms offering open education programs online, it’s less expensive to produce and distribute these learning materials. When compared to OERs, printed materials are tremendously expensive to create and publish.
On a final note, open education grants freelancers access to trainers from across the globe. In short, any trainer in any country can develop and publish MOOCs or OERs. And freelancers can access those through open education platforms from any country in the world at no charge.
CoreAxis can help provide high-quality training for freelancers. If your goal is to develop an open education platform that trainers around the world can contribute to with their OERs, check out our custom learning solutions and drop us a line.