Which free resources are people actually using with adult learners?

Using free resources 

Where are they?

I have just been preparing an article for a German publication on Open Educational Practice (OEP) and they have asked me to add some examples of Open Educational Resources (OER) used by teachers of adults in the UK.

I had my own views on the scene, and indeed started my own list and then I thought it would be rather smarter to ask a few leading practitioners so  I went to the NIACE Digital Special Interest Group. As I expected, there were plenty of ideas flowing.  There was a strong view among many, that they would use ‘all the free stuff that is out there to be found lurking on the highways and byways of the web’ (quote from posting by Terry Loane) . They were less concerned about seeking materials which strictly met the definition that OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.  What mattered was that it was free and available!  The approach seemed pragmatic and pretty sensible in terms of meeting immediate needs.



The conventional OER approach is for the creator to retain the copyright of their work this  to be licensed for use and adaptation with a Creative Commons licence.

I guess the number one source for finding available content is the OER Commons site but hard on its heels are other popular sources of material such as the TES Teaching Resources site and use of the Advanced Google Search where users can filter to find sharable content

One way to look at digital resources is to consider the level of ‘granularity’ . I have set out some examples below under Digital Assets, Instructional / Information material and Learning Activities.


Digital assets

These  are  probably most commonly sought sharable resources as teachers seek individual images, sound files, video  which can be incorporated in materials they are creating themselves. Popular sources are:

Images can be sourced at  http://www.sxc.hu/

Music is available at   Jamendo

Photographs from Flickr Creative Commons (many Flickr images have attribution sharing licences)

Wikipedia and Openlearn also contains assets which may be used.

Instructional and information material


The web has plenty of sources of instructional materials often on video.

This is of course the Stuff of learning (the raw material contributes to the process of knowledge construction)

These include:



Dave’s Easy Tutorials

Learning Activities

Sense ofMIT

These are full learning activity This is after all the Stir of learning and frankly less used by adult educators as they more commonly prefer to create their own tailored learning activities using assets or following on from instructional content. .

The Open University Openlearn

TES Teaching Resources 

  • Can you recommend a top resource or a top source of usable content whether or not it is strictly  OERs?
  • Should we be more careful to promote proper licensing and greater clarity about rights over shared content or does that get in the way of ‘getting on with it’?  

Please post a comment below.


3 Responses to “Which free resources are people actually using with adult learners?”

  1. Cable Green Says:

    Definition of OER is important: “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”

    For something to be an OER – it must be (a) free to re-use AND (b) you must have the legal rights to: reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.


  2. German adult educators go for Web 2.0 and explore OERs | Stirring Learning Says:

    […] My modest contribution to the latest edition is a piece on the role of Open Educational Resources in Adult Ed. Although OERs are not necessarily Web 2 the OER movement is certainly under-developed in adult ed. Indeed when I sought suggestions for OERs used with adult learners, many of the most popular resources quoted were not strictly OER as pointed out very firmly by Cable Green in a response to an earlier post! […]

  3. youtube.com Says:

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