Open educational resources improve academic performance

Students using open books

According to a study, open educational resources not only reduce the costs of pursuing a university degree, they also improve academic performance and lower dropout rates.

Image: Bigstockphoto

There are not many studies regarding the impact of open educational resources, and it seems that their importance is diminished as just means for reducing the cost of school materials. Also, these assets, for example, open books, are perceived as low-quality texts, and vast repositories of information go unnoticed.

The University of Georgia conducted a large-scale study in which revealed the potential of open educational resources. The researchers compared the academic performance of 11,681 students in traditional programs with commercial textbooks, versus 10,141 students in courses with free digital books.

The analysis of data collected over a period of six years showed that the group of students with free books obtained better results than those in traditional programs. It was proved that, if all the students start the courses with the necessary materials, the learning performance improves significantly.

According to the study, 42.52% of respondents who studied with free books achieved A and A-, compared to 29.29% who used commercial textbooks. In turn, the rate of students who deserted or received D or F grades was 2.68% lower in those who worked with free materials.

Many students can't afford expensive educational materials. Sometimes they complete their educational programs without the required texts or worse, they quit the university because of the high costs.

The academics of this research suggest that open educational resources not only reduce the costs of pursuing a university degree. also, they can help improve academic performance and lower dropout rates.