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Keywords:

  • open educational resources;
  • technology-enabled learning;
  • OER definitions;
  • alternative learning models;
  • knowledge society;
  • Hayekian benefits;
  • future of learning;
  • societal functions of education

The extremely rapid expansion of open educational resource (OER) initiatives and the millions of learners they attract can be understood as an indicator of an emerging revolution in education and learning. This article describes recent developments in this area and develops conceptual foundations for studies and policies on OER. We describe four different types of OER, locate these in a field of learning theories, and discuss how the wide adoption of OER may constrain and accelerate the transformation of learning and education in the knowledge society.