4 Does OER Really Work?

4. Is OER Effective?

There are many benefits to using OER:

  1. OER allow revising and remixing of content so that faculty can teach exactly what they want to teach and how they want to teach it.
  2. OER remove price barriers, saving students money and making it possible for everyone to have their own copy of required course materials from the first day of class. No more waiting for delayed orders to arrive at the campus bookstore!
  3. Several studies show that students and faculty who have used OER before believe that they are as good or better than commercial textbooks.


The video below, which summarizes a meta-analysis conducted by John Hilton III (Links to an external site.). Hilton’s work synthesizes the results of 16 OER studies that examined the influence of OER on student outcomes, or student and faculty perceptions of OER. Key findings include:

  • Students generally achieve the same learning outcomes when OER are utilized and simultaneously save significant amounts of money
  • Both students and faculty are generally positive regarding OER


Textbox: Hilton III, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: A review of research on efficacy and perceptions, Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 2016, 573-590. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9 (Links to an external site.) (CC BY 4.0 (Links to an external site.))

Video: “A Review of the Effectiveness & Perceptions of Open Educational Resources As Compared to Textbooks” (Links to an external site.) by Research Shorts (Links to an external site.) is licensed under CC BY 4.0


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OER Subject Librarian Toolkit Copyright © by Jennifer Beamer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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