Effective Didactical Practices in Open Education

Objectives and competences

The aim of the course is to give an overview of the theoretical basics of learning and teaching, while also enabling students to master specific pedagogical, didactic and methodical approaches to the OL and to be able to choose appropriate approaches according to learning objectives and specific context.

Students will develop:
• In-depth knowledge about the specific pedagogical, didactical, and methodological approaches in the context of OL and the ability to critically assess pedagogical and didactical approaches in the existing OL courses;
• Knowledge and understanding of the broad landscape of learning theories, psychology of learning, competency and skill development and contemporary and emerging approaches in OL context;
• Profound knowledge and skills to critically evaluate various solutions and approaches in OL and to match them properly with the OL strategies and learning goals;
• Ability to construct OL solutions based on effective didactical approaches and reasonably utilizing the best affordable technologies.


Students should:
• have general understanding of the scope and importance of pedagogy, didactics, and methodology in education;
• be familiar with the open education (OE) ecosystem, actors and basic Open Learning (OL) processes;
• be able to use communication and collaboration tools, and should be prepared to work in interdisciplinary teams.


• Effective pedagogical practices.
• Pedagogical methods, didactics and methodology. Pedagogical principles applied in OL, didactics for OL, and methodology used in OL.
• Theories of learning, theories of knowledge, psychology of learning, cognition and cognitive processes, learning styles, and influence of cultural and historical backgrounds on learning.
• Matching proper approaches to learning goals, individual, group and organisational learning strategies.
• Model of learning objectives based on taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing. Taxonomy of educational objectives (knowledge dimension, cognitive process dimension).
• Concepts of openness and transparency in learning, cooperative and collaborative learning, personalised learning; motivational approaches, competences and skills.
• Innovative approaches and best practices in OL.
• Assessing, evaluating and validating proper approaches with respect to the defined OL strategy and OL learning goals.
• Business and organisational learning, including competency and skills development in relation to the organisational business strategies, organisational principles and global innovation, and market and business trends.

The following topics will be explored in more detail:
1) General learning theories and methods
2) Psychology of learning
3) Education goals, instruction and assessment
4) OL applied learning theories and methods
5) Pedagogy for OL
6) Didactical approaches for OL
7) Methodology for OL
8) Student centered and self-regulated learning
9) Data interaction for learning
10) Life-long and life-wide learning
11) Discipline-based cases for e-learning
12) Technology Enhanced Science Learning
13) Case studies and critical assessment
14) Innovative approaches and practices.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:
• have a good overview of the theoretical bases of learning and teaching
• master the specific pedagogical, didactical, and methodological approaches for OL
• master the selection of proper approaches and relate them to learning goals and individual/group preferences in OL
• be able to evaluate, validate and critically assess the pedagogical, didactical, and methodological value of OL, taking into account various possibilities and limitations
• be able to reflect on personal performance in implementing OL with proper methods and approaches.


  • Beetham, H. & R. Sharpe, R. (Eds.) (2013). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing for 21st Century Learning (2nd Ed.). Routledge. E-version
  • Clark, R.C., Mayer, R.E. (2016). e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning (4th Ed.). Wiley. E-version
  • Rao, K., Edelen-Smith, P. & Wialehua, C. (2015) Universal design for online courses: Applying principles to pedagogy. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 30(1), 35-52. doi: 10.1080/02680513.2014.991300 https://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2014.991300 E-version
  • Teräs, H., & Herrington, J. (2014). Neither the frying pan nor the fire: In search of a balanced authentic e-learning design through an educational design research process. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 15(2), 232-253. http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v15i2.1705 E-version


• Interim presentations, seminar, tutorial; peer- and self-evaluation. • Final exam: The assessment of theoretical knowledge and a practical session on applying proper approaches to an OL course

Lecturer's references

Dr Jako Olivier is an Adviser: Higher Education at the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada. Before this he was the holder of the UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) and was a Professor at North-West University, South Africa until August 2022. His research interests include: ODL, self-directed learning, multimodal learning, open educational resources, open pedagogy, renewable assessments, microlearning, individualized and contextualized blended learning, e-learning in language classrooms and online multilingualism. After some years teaching languages and information technology at secondary school level in South Africa and the UK, he joined the North-West University as lecturer in September 2010. In 2018 he received the Emerging Researcher Medal from the Education Association of South Africa, and he is rated as an established researcher with the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Selected bibliography:

Recent article and book chapter publications

OLIVIER, Jako. 2016. Blended learning in a first-year language class: evaluating the acceptance of an interactive learning environment. Literator, 37(2):a1288. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/lit.v37i2.1288
OLIVIER, Jako. 2019. Short Instructional Videos as Multimodal Open Educational Resources for a Language Classroom. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia (JEMH), 28(4):381-409.
OLIVIER, Jako. 2020. Self-directed open educational practices for a decolonized South African curriculum: a process of localization for learning. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 16(4):20-28.
OLIVIER, Jako. 2021. Online access and resources for open self-directed learning in Africa. In Burgos, D. & Olivier, J.eds. 2021. Radical Solutions for Education in Africa: Open education and self-directed learning in the continent. Singapore: Springer. pp. 1-16. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-4099-5_1
OLIVIER, J., BUNT, B.J. & DHAKULKAR, A. 2022. Open educational practices for self-directed learning: A staff fellowship as a case study. In Olivier, J., Du Toit-Brits, C., Bunt, B.J. & Dhakulkar, A., eds. Contextualised open educational practices: Towards student agency and self-directed learning. Cape Town: AOSIS. pp. 1-17.
OLIVIER, J., AMIEL, T., DE MESQUITA, R. D. C., & BDAIR, F. 2023. Mapping Open Education: an analysis of the Open Educational Resources landscape in Brazil and South Africa. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 19(2), 52-59. https://je-lks.org/ojs/index.php/Je-LKS_EN/article/view/1135722
TLILI, A., ALTINAY, F., HUANG, R., ALTINAY, Z., OLIVIER, J., MISHRA, S., JEMNI, M. & BURGOS, D. 2022. Are we there yet? A systematic literature review of Open Educational Resources in Africa: A combined content and bibliometric analysis. PLOS ONE, 17(1):e0262615. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262615

WITTMANN, Gerda-Elisabeth & OLIVIER, Jako. 2021. Blended learning as an approach to foster self-directed learning in teacher professional development programmes. The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning, 16(2):71-84.
WITTMANN, Gerda-Elisabeth & OLIVIER, Jako. 2021. Implementing an online collaborative learning teacher professional development programme for teachers of German SAL in South Africa. Acta Germanica, 49(1).

Edited books

OLIVIER, J., ed. 2020. Self-directed multimodal learning in higher education. Cape Town: AOSIS. https://doi.org/10.4102/aosis.2020.BK210
BURGOS, D. & OLIVIER, J., eds. 2021. Radical Solutions for Education in Africa: Open education and self-directed learning in the continent. Singapore: Springer. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-4099-5
MENTZ, E., LAUBSCHER, D. & OLIVIER, J., eds. 2021. Self-Directed Learning: An imperative for education in a complex society. Cape Town: AOSIS. https://doi.org/10.4102/aosis.2021.BK279
OLIVIER, J., OOJORAH, A. & UDHIN, W., eds. 2022. Perspectives on Teacher Education in the Digital Age. Singapore: Springer. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-4226-6
OLIVIER, J., OOJORAH, A. & UDHIN, W., eds. 2022. Multimodal Learning Environments in Southern Africa: Embracing Digital Pedagogies. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97656-9
OLIVIER, J., DU TOIT-BRITS, C., BUNT, B, & DHAKULKAR, A., eds. 2022. Contextualised open educational practices: Towards student agency and self-directed learning. Cape Town: AOSIS. https://doi.org/10.4102/aosis.2022.BK345
OLIVIER, J. & RAMBOW, A., eds. 2022. Open Educational Resources in Higher Education: A Global Perspective. Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-8590-4
OLIVIER, J. & BAROUD, F., eds. 2023. Open educational resources and open pedagogy in Lebanon and South Africa. Potchefstroom: Axiom Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8139675
HAVENGA, M., OLIVIER, J. & BUNT, B.J., eds. 2023. Problem-based learning and pedagogies of play: Active approaches towards Self-Directed Learning. Cape Town: AOSIS. https://doi.org/10.4102/aosis.2023.BK409