Localizing OER in Afghanistan: Developing a Multilingual Digital Library for Afghan Teachers

Lauryn Oates, Jamshid Hashimi


The Darakht-e Danesh (‘knowledge tree’) Online Library is the first open educational resource (OER) initiative in Afghanistan, established to enhance teacher subject-area knowledge, access and use of learning materials, and to foster more diverse teaching methodologies in order to improve learning outcomes in Afghan classrooms. This paper describes our experience developing this local language digital library, buildings its responsiveness to our audience of users as we progressed, customizing both the interface and the resources for Afghanistan’s education environment. We innovated methods to devise relevant local content, localized usability, developed different access models to reach different populations of users, integrated impact measurement, and opted to openly license material in the library’s collection. By making digital educational content open from the first introduction of digital repositories of learning objects in Afghan languages, we have an opportunity to establish the principle of openness and to promote open practices in teacher professional development in Afghanistan. The paper aims to share lessons on how OER can be customized for multilingual, resource-scarce contexts drawing from our experience to date in Afghanistan, and seeking to contribute to the literature on localization and multilingual OER.


OER; open access; teacher education; teacher professional development; localization; teaching and learning materials; Afghanistan; language

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.288


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