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Access in open education relates to all practices that prompt the removal or lowering of economic, technological, geographical, physical and institutional barriers which may obstruct the doorway to knowledge. These open educational practices are designed to grant permission to learners to engage with educational content, courses, programmes, communities of practice, networks and other types of knowledge sharing environments, media and activities in formal and non-formal education. It is also about enabling informal and independent learners to seek and get recognition of their learning.

Expanding access to information and knowledge is a core value of openness and a key enabler of formal and non-formal education. Consequently, it is one of the main goals of open education. In practice, from an educational institution’s perspective, this broad conception of access can be promoted at three interrelated levels: access to programmes, access to courses, access to educational content (free of charge content or OER), and access to their related communities of practices and networks. This is inclusive of all applicable educational services offered by the institution, as well as access to teachers and other learners.

Source: OpenEdu Framework 2016, Access Dimension, pg. 35 and 36 (ANNEX I)