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Lumen Learning Grant Challenges Applicants to Improve OER

Open education company Lumen Learning has introduced the Improve It Challenge, a new grant program inviting applicants to improve existing open educational resources for particularly difficult learning outcomes. The goal: to tackle areas that students most struggle with and revise, remix or create new openly licensed learning activities that help them succeed.

Based on aggregated, anonymized student data from its RISE Framework, a matrix for evaluating the effectiveness of OER in supporting student learning, Lumen has identified 10 specific learning outcomes that are most in need of better learning materials. For example, the current list includes "Identify and describe the diagnostic criteria and major symptoms of schizophrenia" (an outcome for Lumen's Abnormal Psychology course), "Distinguish between the four classes of macromolecules" (from Biology for Majors I) and "Calculate the contribution margin" (from Introduction to Business). Grant applicants must select an outcome from the list, and then submit a written proposal summarizing how to improve the OER. Proposals must be rooted in instructional design principles and learning science research, and address accessibility and inclusion.

The best proposals will receive $250 toward the redevelopment of the learning materials. The Lumen team will review the new materials for accuracy and quality, and then conduct randomized controlled trials to test their effectiveness compared to the original content. If the new content is found to significantly improve student learning, grantees will receive a $2,500 bonus and the changes will become the default OER for all future students. Changes that have no impact on student learning (positive or negative) will be made available as alternative materials that offer other perspectives on the subject matter.

The deadline for the current round of proposals is May 31, 2022. For more information, visit the Lumen Learning site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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