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Technology in open education refers to technological infrastructures and software which facilitate opening up education.

The degree to which the technology used by an institution is open or not reflects its openness culture. Institutions which are committed to the greatest possible level of openness will opt for open standards and open source technologies which are interoperable with other platforms.

They will also build or use platforms which allow learners to interact with one another, upload and share content, download, peer-review and modify existing content.

Open education today is not always implemented by using open source software. However, its use has added value. Open source software solutions can make personalization possible by adapting previous developments of technological solutions to specific institutional needs.

In addition, openness in technology eliminates barriers to inter- and intra-institutional collaboration in the development of technological solutions for open education.

Software and platforms

To a certain extent, the affordances of the technology set the boundaries of what can and cannot be done in open education. For example, the commitment to certain commercial (or non-commercial) platforms for the offer of MOOCs and free/open online courses may mean that the institution has to adhere to certain business models. On the other hand, it makes it possible to reach global audiences more easily, due to the findability that these platforms provide. Another example is the tools that particular software may provide to learners and how customisable and interoperable it is. All these factors shape the learning experience and the institution's engagement with open education in different ways. A decision on software and platforms must be an integral part of the strategy of the institution.

Maintenance and development

Content repositories, courses and programmes need to be within their lifecycle to be meaningful to the open learner and have a positive impact on the institution's reputation in open education. When designing a strategy for open education, periodic updating of the open education offer needs to be planned. In addition, open education provides possibilities for technology sharing and the development of new tools and systems, such as personalised learning environments.


New technologies often require user training. It is essential that staff training in the use of technologies be included in the institution’s open education roadmap.

Institutional Vision and Audience

The choice of technology for open education is also largely dependent on the initiative’s target audience and the institution’s vision in relation to open education. For example, technologies adapted to mobile learning or content shared on platforms which allow remixing may appeal to different audiences (e.g. teachers and open learners on the go). The institution’s vision for open education must be related to its mission. The choice of technology must be aligned with the institution’s open education vision, because technology shapes audience appeal.

Source: OpenEdu Framework, 2016