CoverLicensing InformationI. FoundationsOpen Educational ResourcesDefining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational ResourcesCopyright and Open LicensingThe Difference Between an Informational Resource and an Educational ResourceExcludabilityRivalryII. ResearchOpen educational resources and college textbook choicesThoughts on Continuous Improvement and OERContinuous Improvement of Instructional MaterialsContinuous Improvement DashboardsA/B Testing on Open TextbooksThe Rise FrameworkOpen Science in Education SciencesIII. Future DirectionsWhat is Open Pedagogy?OER-Enabled PedagogyOpen Pedagogy: The Importance of Getting it in the AirA Look at the Future of Open Educational ResourcesPragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER AdvocacyRecognizing and Overcoming Obstacles: What It Will Take to Realize the Potential of OERAssumptions and Challenges of Open ScholarshipThe OER DilemmaCultural Knowledge and OERMake Out Like a BanditIV. AppendicesChapter AuthorsGlossaryKeywordsIndexV. Student PresentationsA Brief Overview of Open EducationWhat I Know Now About Open EducationFalling 4 OEROpen Education Q & A Observations and Learnings About OERWhat is OER?Overview of Open EducationAdopting Open TextbooksCommunity Members Should Create OEROpen textbooks for MSED facultyConsider OER A Pitch for Open Textbook AdoptionThe Case for Open Textbooks in SFLA Call To Action for InstructorsLessons LearnedA Pitch for K-12 Teachers and Their Students to Create O.E.ROER in English Language TeachingIntroduction to Open EducationWhat is Open Pedagogy and Why Does it Matter?A brief and open letter about OER to my friends in K-12 Education
An Introduction to Open Education

The Difference Between an Informational Resource and an Educational Resource

Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between an informational resource and an educational resource. I’ve had the sense that an educational resource is an informational resource with a little something extra and have enjoyed coming back to this thought again and again over the last several weeks, trying to reduce this “something extra” to its simplest form.

Keeping the discussion informal, it seems that an informational resource is simply a compilation or collection of information – ideas, facts, processes, procedures, &c. I think of an encyclopedia as being the quintessential information resource – comprehensive, accurate, and well-organized. If you accept that definition (for sake of this argument), what would need to be added to an informational resource to make it an educational resource?

Many people think of a textbook as the quintessential educational resource. And I first started thinking about this question in the context of institutional open textbook grants. In the typical program, a faculty member proposes to write a textbook and receives funding to do so. As an expert in the discipline, the faculty member is likely highly qualified to create a resource that is comprehensive, accurate, and well-organized. However, in my formulation above, this would be an informational resource. What would need to be added to convert this book into an educational resource?

If the faculty member who received the grant did their graduate work in the United States, the odds are extraordinarily high that they never had a single university class in the science of teaching and learning. Even if they have attended the occasional hour-long lunchtime professional development seminar, they likely learned something significantly more tactical – like how to use their campus LMS – than anything pertaining to the science of teaching or learning. And here is a helpful hint about what it might take to change an informational resource into and educational resource: how might that grant-funded book be different if the faculty member who received the funding was required to truly partner with an instructional designer / learning scientist during the creation process?

Thinking about it this way, it seems like the minimum addition you would have to make to an informational resource to turn it into an educational resource is practice with feedback. Obviously, there is much more you would do if you bringing the full power of the teaching and learning research literature to bear on the design of the resource. But to be minimally educational, I think a resource needs practice with feedback. Without practice with feedback, it would remain a comprehensive, accurate, and well-organized an informational resource.

Suggested Citation

(2021). The Difference Between an Informational Resource and an Educational Resource. In , , , , , , , & (Eds.), An Introduction to Open Education. EdTech Books.

Previous Version(s)

Wiley, D. (2021). The Difference Between an Informational Resource and an Educational Resource. improving learning.

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