Harnessing OER requires leaders who are flexible, open to new ideas, and willing to make decisions. Thus there is a need to build capacity in leaders to ensure that leveraging OER is both a top-down and bottom-up process. This includes capacity building of educational stakeholders (policy makers, educators, students) to support capacity building to share materials created under an open license and the need to facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER through the development of user-friendly tools to locate and retrieve OER that are specific and relevant to particular needs.
In addition, building capacity requires relevant ongoing professional development activities to be made available to educators to enable them to acquire the skills and competencies necessary to use OER. There is also a need for necessary digital and media literacy skills to find, share, create, and re-mix OER effectively. As available OER may not always match methods or subject matter as taught locally, there is a need to train staff to source and adapt OER. Further skills required are the ability to ‘see value’ in someone else’s work that could be used in a new context, technical skills to effect changes to the OER, translation skills, and the ability to distribute and share the new version of the OER to students and the open community.
There is also a need for capacity to focus on intellectual property rights issues, and developing a good understanding of open licenses, its implications, and understanding how these work in practice. Mechanisms to recognize the time, effort and skills required to develop and adapt OER by educational staff needs to be developed.
Simplifying and popularizing OER storage and retrieval systems (UNESCO, 2016) to have the necessary tools and information to develop OER is needed. Currently there are no standards for accessibility when accessing, using and re-using OER. Furthermore, the available tools to share resources are limited and there are a few options available, with current platforms often being difficult to use.