Open Educational Resources

distance learning in Mozambique

A distance learner attending a tutoring session in Mozambique. The Open Educational Resources portfolio makes grants to make high-quality educational materials available for free, anywhere in the world. Photo: Rosario Passos


Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge. They also demonstrate great potential as a mechanism for instructional innovation as networks of teachers and learners share best practices.

OER defined:

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Since 2002, the Hewlett Foundation has worked with OER grantees to improve education globally by making high-quality academic materials openly available on the Internet. The Education Program continues to work toward establishing a self-sustaining and adaptive global OER ecosystem and demonstrating its potential to improve teaching and learning.

The Education Program invests in organizations that:

  • Develop OER for K-12 and community colleges, expand OER networks, and develop guidelines and tools for the field
  • Promote policies or strategies creating funds and incentives, or provide communications and technical assistance to policymakers, that will advance greater access to learning through OER
  • Research and evaluate the impact of OER on teaching and learning
  • Develop innovative OER models

The Program's OER investments will focus primarily on supporting:

  • The infrastructure needed to sustain a well-functioning open educational ecosystem
  • Demonstration projects that strengthen student access to deeper learning in K-12 and community colleges

For more information about the Education Program's support of OER, please read the Program's strategic plan and refreshed OER strategy.

The Education Program does not accept Letters of Inquiry for its Open Educational Resources grantmaking.