The ecology of the open practitioner: a conceptual framework for open research

Adrian Stagg


Open Educational Practices (OEP) have gained traction internationally over the last fifteen years, with individuals, institutions, and governments increasingly interested in the affordances of openness. Whilst initiatives, policies, and support mechanisms are evident, there is an ever-present danger of localised contexts being unintentionally unrecognised, which has a negative effect on mainstreaming the practice sustainably. This paper presents a conceptual framework for open research based on Bronfenbrenner’s’ Ecology of Human Development (1979) and asserts that it is through an understanding of complex influences and contexts of practice that strategic and operational processes to enable open education are manifested. It presents the framework through the lens of an emerging research project examining the experience of OEP in four Australian universities which will apply the framework as a guide for not only survey and interview question design, but also data analysis with the aim to inform broader policy development locally and nationally.


open educational resources; open educational practice; theory of ecological development; higher education; academic development; affordance theory

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