Opening Up Foreign Language Education Through OERs

Learning, teaching, and research materials in any format or medium that are in the public domain or are protected by copyright and published under an open licence, allowing free access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others, are known as open educational resources (OERs) (UNESCO, 2022). OER grants users rights that are typically only granted to authors and publishers due to an open licence, including the freedom to modify the original work and the ability to distribute derivatives for free. The OER movement began as a global, grassroots phenomenon at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, when educators aspired to develop intellectual content that was accessible to the Internet public (Blyth, 2017). As an alternative to traditional textbooks and pricey web-based learning resources, open educational resources (OERs) in language learning have recently attracted the attention of language educators, curriculum creators, and academics. OERs provide access to controlled language practice, self-study, engagement, and learning satisfaction, among other advantages for language learners. Additionally, these resources can support cutting-edge teaching strategies that address constructivist and interactionist theories of second language acquisition (Scott & Cherrez, 2022). Open educational resources are a unique instrument for fostering learning and information sharing, both of which are required to establish inclusive knowledge societies and fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Open Education Revolution

The open education (OE) movement/ revolution is founded on a set of intuitions that a remarkably broad range of academics share, including the belief that knowledge should be free and open to use and re-use, that collaboration should be easier rather than harder, that people should be recognised for their contributions to education and research, and that concepts and ideas are linked in unexpected and surprising ways rather than the straightforward linear forms that most textbooks present. OE promises to radically alter how writers, teachers, and students communicate around the globe (Baraniuk, 2007, p. 229). This OE revolution has given to the rise of open content, a term used to refer to any published digital content that can be freely used. Open content in terms of pedagogy comes as open access and open source. Open access refers to material that is made publicly accessible on the Internet without specific authorization to edit it. Open-source content, on the other hand, enables users to reuse and repurpose the content to create original creations. To address escalating expenses, OER proponents concentrated on creating and disseminating free resources throughout the first ten years of the movement. However, the movement has started to concentrate on empirical research to determine the effect of OER on student learning, including Foreign Language (FL) learning, in its second decade. Additionally, open educators are starting to investigate various methods for integrating OER into the mainstream of education. 

To sum up, the open education movement has four main objectives: (a) to democratise education and hence expand the “knowledge ecosystem,” (b) to lower the high prices of pedagogical materials, (c) to speed up the production of materials, and (d) to let students and teachers modify materials to make them more suitable for particular circumstances in their communities (Blyth, 2012). Here we present few suggestions and reputable repositories of OERs (ROERs) to the individuals in the FL learning who are new to OER and find it difficult to recognise credible resources among plethora of the OERs:

How to become an informal language learner: learners must expose themselves to the target language as much as feasible while learning a foreign language. When learning occurs in non-immersive settings where the target language is underutilised, it is extremely crucial to remember this. Additionally, learning a language involves much more than just learning its grammar and vocabulary; as a result, pragmatic and sociocultural elements must be included in the language learning curriculum and learners must chose to learn through the resources that facilitate their language learning. 

How to navigate & locate OERs: internet is undoubtedly flooded with resources for FL learners. To begin with learners can chose CC Search CC Search Portal ( where learners can find open content in different formats: images, music, texts and videos. Besides OER Commons (OER Commons) is another public digital library of OERs. 

Join the reputable ROERs: A few well known ROERs for Fl learners are as follows (Perifanou, M., & Economides,2021):

COERLL: The Centre for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning creates and disseminates Language OER in the following languages: Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, K’iche’, Malayalam, Nahuatl, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, and Yoruba. It sponsors initiatives for language OER and teacher professional development, plans events for open language education, publishes textbooks, and does much more. It aids the Language OER Network (LOERN), a network of ambassadors, makers, reviewers, and teachers of open educational resources.

MERLOT: Multimedia Education Resource for Learning and Online Teaching offers peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Over 3,000 World Languages resources are listed, including animations, quizzes, drill and practice, e-portfolios, online courses, journal articles, presentations, simulations, and tutorials. The following languages have OER available in them: Less Commonly Taught Languages, Multilingual Resources. Portuguese, Russian, Spanish  and Arabic, Chinese, ESL or EFL, French, German , Greek, Hebrew, Italian , Japanese, Korean, Latin, Russian, Spanish  and more. It aids the Language OER Network (LOERN), a network of ambassadors, makers, reviewers, and teachers of open educational resources.

OpenLearn: The Open University in the UK, which is supported, offers more than 1,000 free courses in eight different topic areas. The courses also include interactives, quizzes, audios, and movies. The learner can access and download a free statement of participation after successfully completing a free course to use with a digital badge (if the course offers one). The majority of courses have reviews and a Creative Commons (CC) licence. There are 67 language e-books and 79 language courses (44 introductory, 14 intermediate, and 15 advanced) for studying the following languages: Welsh, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, English, French, Gaelic, and more languages.

Everyone has the right to the opportunity to study, and society can help people exercise this right by ensuring that education and knowledge are accessible to all. Open education is a strategy that organisations and individuals can utilise to learn practically everything, address current issues and embrace upcoming opportunities.

If you enjoyed reading above article, feel free to leave your feedback below. Stay up-to-date with the LFLO project for useful resources that will support you on your socially-distant language learning journey. You can find out more at don’t forget to follow us on our social media channels: 



  1. Baraniuk, R. (2007). Challenges and opportunities for the open education movement: A Connexions case study. In T. Iiyoshi & M. S. V. Kumar (Eds.), Opening up education. Boston: MIT Press
  2. Blyth, C. (2012). Opening up foreign language education with open educational resources: the case of Français interactif. Hybrid language teaching and learning: Exploring theoretical, pedagogical and curricular issues, 196-218.
  3. Blyth, C. (2017). Open educational resources (OERs) for language learning. Language, Education and Technology. Encyclopedia of Language and Education. New York: Springer, 169-80.
  4. Perifanou, M., & Economides, A. A. (2021). Challenges for finding language OER: suggestions to repositories’ Administrators.
  5. Scott, C., & Cherrez, N. J. (2022). Supporting Language Learning With OERs and Open-Authoring Tools. In Policies, Practices, and Protocols for the Implementation of Technology Into Language Learning (pp. 186-198). IGI Global.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *