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ADOERUP was a study project being carried out by Sero to produce a "Note" (short briefing report) to the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee on the use and potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) for Adult Education/Adult Learning.

The Study is now available at

The Executive Summary (with Table of Contents) is available at


In 2013 the European Commission published a communication on OER and MOOCs. This highlighted the potential of OER in adult learning. OER in fact make use of large scale digital technologies and the aim is to support a radical development of new teaching methodologies based on the use of ICT. The Communication emphasizes that, likewise, in adult learning ICT and OER offers huge potential for structural change. Therefore efficient tools and methodologies will prove decisive in handling future funding needs. In the Communication, the Commission mentions that it plans to create a new network called EPALE (Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe).

The communication was the subject of an INI report in the EP’s CULT Committee, which was accompanied by a public hearing on the subject on 20 January 2014. In this context the EP pointed out that "OERs geared towards the needs of adult learners should be developed so as to ensure greater lifelong learning opportunities for low-skilled European citizens, bearing in mind the fact that many learners have low ICT skills". It also stressed "the growing importance of adult education, particularly in the context of lifelong vocational training, and calls for the Europe-wide recognition, strengthening and promotion of all adult education organisations".

The goal of this study was to highlight the possibilities offered by the employment of OER with the overall aim to:

  • Review the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning, and
  • Make suggestions for possible action to be taken.

The study was thus expected to serve three distinct functions: Description, Assessment and Recommendations.

Research Questions

With regard to the general objectives outlined above, the following general questions will be addressed and answered in the study:

  1. What is the availability and feasibility of OER in adult learning?
  2. What possible actions may be taken in order to enhance the use of OER in adult learning?

While answering these general questions, a few more specific ones will be addressed, as well:

  1. How can OER be integrated into certified courses provided to adult learners? What is their sustainability (in terms of work and funding)?
  2. What quality aspects may be considered in the use of OER in adult learning? What quality assurance issues may be considered? How OER can improve the quality and efficiency of training and education in adult learning?
  3. Is management of Creative Commons licenses specific and in what respect?
  4. Do OER improve the knowledge base on adult learning and contribute to a better monitoring of the adult learning sector? If yes, how?
  5. How OER can contribute to raising participation rates in adult education?
  6. What are the implications for educational planners and decision-makers of use of OER in adult learning? In particular what issues of accreditation/validation of skills and competences acquired via OER could be considered?
  7. How existing policy tools to support adult learning can best be used for the inclusion of OER?
  8. What is the role of educational establishments (particularly universities) to design, plan and implement education based on OER?

Study countries

There are not the resources to study each EU Member State specifically. Instead eight Member States, chosen to represent a mix of size and location, were studied at an appropriate level of detail, taking into account the amount of OER activity and the depth to which they were analysed in POERUP and related study projects. These are:

  1. United Kingdom – large population, north, world language also an official language in one other Member State (Ireland); but with minority languages (Welsh, Gaelic) and very different traditions of adult education in the home nations; very active in OER though mostly in England
  2. Spain – large population, south, world language; but also with minority languages (Catalan, Basque) and strongly autonomous communities
  3. France – large population, west, world language spoken in one other Member State (Belgium) and in other nearby countries (Switzerland, Monaco etc)
  4. Sweden – medium population, north, Scandinavia, regional language spoken in one other Member State (Finland)
  5. Latvia – very small population, east, Baltic States, less used language, and a substantial Russian-speaking minority
  6. Hungary – medium population, central, regional language spoken in several other Member States (Romania, Slovakia, Austria) and other nearby countries (Ukraine, Serbia)
  7. Romania - large population, east, Romance language spoken also in several nearby countries (Moldova, part of Serbia, etc)
  8. Germany - large population, central, regional/world language spoken in several other Member States (Austria, Italy, Belgium etc) and nearby countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein)

Study team

The study was led by Paul Bacsich, with Sara Frank Bristow as reviewer and editor. Country reports were done by Paul Bacsich, Giles Pepler, Sara Frank Bristow and others, using POERUP and UNESCO IITE reports as a basis.

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