5×5 R’s of Ours (An OER17 Flashback)

Michelle laughed when she walked into The Advocate pub, seeing Irwin and me at a table with sheets of paper covered in “R” words amidst the empty pint glasses. Shaking her head, “you guys really have a strange way of spending a sunny day in Edinburgh.”

There was no reasonable way to disagree. What had begun as a bit of speculative wordplay brought on by a blog post from David Wiley had turned into… something else. We knew that the 5 Rs were a useful and powerful shorthand to capture the permissions inherent with open educational resources… But were there other Rs that captured the messy, energizing, frustrating and life-affirming elements of being a live human being that is learning? That might be a stupid question to ask, but it was enough to get Michelle to sit down to join us.

What followed was what might be described as a drinking game, if it was designed by instructional design nerds. We engaged a long brainstorming process, realizing that a whole lot of words can be applied to learning in one respect or another — we were grateful for the constraint imposed by the letter R. We applied a few processes for clustering, reducing and ordering sets of 5 Rs (we quickly realized we’d never get it down to just one set), and I have to say I was really digging the approach and attitude that Michelle and Irwin brought to the table. We created rules and heuristics, but never hesitated to adapt or refine them if a change might guide us to a better result that all three of us could live with…

The 5 sets of 5 Rs for learning that we came up with are below. I’m sure you and yours would come up with other ones. If you decide to try, I wish you as much provocative and reflective fun as we had.






Licensed with Copylove.

Irwin wrote a post reflecting on OER17 and the 5×5 Rs of Ours shortly after…


Part of what motivated this demented educational word game was what had been a remarkable experience at OER17. From this point on, the draft that has been sitting unpublished in my posts folder attempted a wrap-up of that wonderful conference, but as I do so often when trying to capture a meaningful experience, I got tangled up in knots. So I am going to bail on that objective, and just publish this here as is… There are so many other great recaps, I don’t feel too guilty…

But I am glad to get this much up at least. In less than two weeks, I will be heading back to the UK for OER18, as well as my third year running visiting with the fantastic Digital Media Learning Lab at Coventry. Here’s hoping I blog the experience a little more promptly this year.

3 thoughts on “5×5 R’s of Ours (An OER17 Flashback)

  1. D’arcy, this was already supposed to be a new song back in summer of ’17. I do believe lyrics have been scrawled on a napkin and chord progressions lost to memory… like tears in the rain.

  2. Pingback: Irwin | Abject

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.