Open Ed Conference: Cognitive and Cultural Barriers to Openness

Speaker: Steve Hargadon

Steve HargadonImage by jdlasica via FlickrWhat are the cognitive and cultural barriers to openness, and how does understanding them help to promote broader openness?

A conversation with the desire to identify the core ways in which people are naturally or culturally conditioned to be suspicious of or opposed to openness; then to use that information to think about ways to build bridges to individuals or institutions locked into closed mindsets.

He open talking about all the open projects that he has participated have folded up due to lack of interest, funding, and institutional support. His favorite quote is Jefferson’s “My sharing my light does not diminish my own.” Why do we close off when we feel that there is no trust? He feels that on some level that he failed with open source software.

He used the example of an online Facebook study group in Chemistry who was busted by the instructor for starting an online study group.

What are the cognitive biases around how people feel about open eductation?

  • Competition compensation
  • Cowboy culture
  • Cultural influences (vs. Rationhality)
  • Narrative driven

Possible Examples of Solutions

  • What has OCW done

Conclusions/Ideas to Encourage Understanding and Adoption

  • Acknowledge and address proprietary concerns (OCW)

More at

There are also selfless acts, cooperation, and sharing as motivations. There are also those who use seemingly altruistic acts as self-promotion.

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