By Jim Jubelirer, an independent management consultant working with EDF to help speed the transition to a sustainable economy.
Open Education‘s philosophy is that knowledge is a common good and should be made widely available. The Open Education Resources or “OER” movement has gained a significant presence in academia. Over 200 universities, worldwide, participate in the OpenCourseWare Consortium and contribute materials from over 13,000 courses.
Environmental Defense Fund is exploring the possibility of sharing education and training materials on business sustainability across organizations to encourage production, increase distribution and accelerate improvement. Ideally, the process would work like open source software – materials would be contributed, used and improved by others, re-contributed, and continue to evolve and broaden over time.
Why Are We Doing This?
EDF has been at the forefront of the fight to preserve the environment by partnering with leading companies and encouraging the business world to become more efficient and innovative. Nonetheless, the rate of environmental challenges and threats is increasing at a rate faster than business’ responses and we need ways to dramatically reduce business’ environmental footprint.
Education, training and development are vital to support an organization’s human capital resources. The question we are asking is “Do open education resources for business sustainability hold promise of speeding up business transformation by disseminating better tools and training to a wider audience?”
In July, we will host a meeting of thought leaders in OER, sustainability and/or corporate training to evaluate the opportunity for sharing sustainability training materials more widely. As a result of the meeting we hope to determine whether this is a fertile field, where we should be plowing, and who might partner to provide seed and labor.
Some of the key questions we will discuss include:
- What organizations produce training materials related to sustainability? Would producers be willing to release materials and allow reuse by others?
- Who would use such materials? What would be needed to make them widely used?
- How would materials be organized, evaluated and circulated?
- What are the incentives and disincentives organizations would experience around sharing and using shared materials?
- How could such a system be jump-started and made productive?
Let us know if you would like to learn more about this initiative.
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