A model for integrating UK voluntary sector training around OERs

Here’s a model that would address the confusing fragmentation of training provision for the voluntary sector. It places an online Third Sector Institute at the centre of Skills – Third sector’s National Skills Network .


The Institute would be a free online arena where educators and trainers exchange knowledge and resources to support their work in the field. A key component would be the repository, which could be thought of as a national library for the voluntary sector.    

As a free Institute, I’ve placed the charged-for zone outside. Some visitors will be satisfied with what is available for free, while others will want to follow signposts to charged-for courses and services. Active contributors should expect to attract increased charged-for business in return for their very visible, public activity at the Institute. 

The free 14-week openED course ‘Business and management competencies in a Web 2.0 world’  exemplifies one type of education that would be available through the Institute, and demonstrates the role for trainers in enhancing the basic free course with charged-for services. An attraction of the openED format is the way individuals form learning communities who provide peer support and peer assessment of one-another’s assignments; these bonds should endure and help to overcome the fragmentation of the sector.

About Tony

Tony is a regional academic at the Open University in the South West and a Fellow of the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education.
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