Motivation: Open content for management education
Management is a large education and training business field in Europe. Training topics range from general management and leadership to very specific issues like managing risks in banking industry. The need for related training content in a full spectrum of application domains is increasing. Companies are aware of these requirements but often cannot afford expensive trainings that offer good quality specifically tailored to the needs of each employee. On the other hand a large amount of open educational resources on management topics is already available but this open content is significantly underused in the business sector and particularly in SMEs. For managers and trainers in their daily business it is difficult to find suitable online material, to access and re-use it and to judge whether the material addresses the respective learning needs. OpenScout has reduced these usage barriers. Here, OpenScout has been inspired by the observation that there are many applications where openly accessible material is already creating business opportunities, for example Web 2.0 applications and services like open source software development, product ratings or personal networks. These areas provide promising models.
Objectives: User-friendly access to open management content
To exploit the full potential of open content for management education and training OpenScout provides an educational internet service with the following main objectives:
- Enable user-friendly search and access to open management content. »» OpenScout Portal
- Identify and connect existing repositories containing open management content. »» Integrated Repositories
- Enable easy re-use and adaptation of open content to the need and context of learners and providers. »»Tool Library
- Enlarge the group of learners and providers that utilize open content for management education. »» Community
Results: Internet services for open management content
OpenScout’s wide and large scaled education service consists of the following components:
- Web Services Infrastructure. To enhance access to open content OpenScout provides to end users federated, competence-based search and retrieval web services. The can also be integrated into existing LCMS systems as well as social network platforms through extensions and plug-ins.
- Federated Content Base. To make accessible content of different types from many disciplines of management science OpenScout inter-connects a large pool of different open content repositories to form a federated content base on which OpenScout’s web services operate.
- Tool Library. To facilitate (re-)use and improvement of open content in real-world educational scenarios OpenScout provides a set of integrated tools and support mechanisms that enable users to modify, adapt and localize materials to their need and context.
- Open User Community. To achieve large scale adoption in real contexts of use OpenScout establishes an Open User Community (with a focus on content providers and users) that open up their content to the Web Services, contribute metadata (such as skill-data, user evaluations, ratings etc.) and furthermore support design and evaluation of OpenScout’s prototypes.