Introduction: Open educational e-resources (OERs) are one of the informational resources that are openly available to all. Open educational e-resources provide learners with free access to high-quality educational content and materials. Learners should be able to use, read, adapt, and share these resources freely. In this study, we aimed to examine academics’ open educational e-resources usage intentions. We also tried to understand behavioral differences by collecting data from two different countries: Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Methods: The study employed a cross-sectional approach, which is one of the quantitative research designs. In cross-sectional studies, several variables (characteristics, behavior, attitude, etc.) are measured simultaneously. Data were collected using a questionnaire based on the quantitative research paradigm. In order to address the research problem, the two researchers of the current study developed this questionnaire based on field expert opinion, a literature review, and from the researchers’ experiences. The questionnaire was initially developed in Turkish and then translated into English. In the current study 67 participants from Turkey and 18 from the United Kingdom have answered all the items of the questionnaire.
Results: In this study, the academics were found to be more inclined to use existing resources (81.39% for Turkey, 72.72% for the United Kingdom) than to generate e-resources of their own (47.67% for Turkey; 50% for the United Kingdom). The frequency for the usage of open educational e-resources for Turkey is 97 and 6 for the United Kingdom. The frequency number of open educational e-resources per participant from the United Kingdom averaged as less than one. Similarly, academics did not find beneficial the use of social media (frequencies for Turkey and the United Kingdom is 136 and 45) and video-hosting sites (frequencies for Turkey and the United Kingdom is 93 and 31). We can see that the academics expressed benefitting from e-resources whilst preparing new content (X̄TR=1.12, 82.09%; X̄UK=0.78, 77.78%, respectively) or enriching current content (X̄TR=1.25, 88.06%; X̄UK=0.94, 83.33%, respectively); engaging existing content (X̄TR=1.10, 80.60%; X̄UK=0.89, 72.23%, respectively) or for preparing interactive course content (X̄TR=0.73, 74.63%; X̄UK=0.94, 83.33%, respectively). The participant academics from Turkey generally reported finding e-resources to be useful in the long term (X̄TR=1.13, 83.59%), and think that they will contribute to their interdisciplinary studies (X̄TR=0.81, 71.64%). Like the academics in Turkey, academics from the United Kingdom reported finding e-resources to be useful in the long term (X̄UK=0.67, 66.67%). The academics from both countries stated that if they had more time (X̄TR=1.13, 80.59%; X̄UK=1.11, 83.34%, respectively), and if e-resources were customized more according to their needs (X̄TR=0.61, 64.18%; X̄UK=0.44, 55.56%, respectively), and they had a basic level of technology literacy (X̄TR=0.76, 68.66%; X̄UK=0.89, 68.34%, respectively), they would likely use and benefit from e-resources more frequently.
Discussion: Being familiar with open educational e-resources positively affects attitudes towards open educational e-resources; therefore, academics should be encouraged to become better acquainted with the development of open educational e-resources. However, academics are ready to use and develop open educational e-resources. Managers could help to incentivize academics in this regard. In the current study, open educational e-resources preferences seem quietly low. We can especially say that the academics from the UK stated that they rarely use open course materials to learn something. It may be necessary to increase the general awareness of academics about OERs for social media and video-hosting sites as they are among the less preferred OERs. In short, the habits of academics to use OERs can vary culturally. When we compare the results for the two countries, we can say that academics from Turkey have a more positive view of using e-resources for learning purposes compared to those from the UK. Academics from both countries find the use of e-resources useful in the long term, but especially participants from the UK have neither positive nor negative opinions (approximately 50%) about utility perceptions in terms of means of working interdisciplinary, contributing their career, getting certificates, enhancing their professional recognition, making different them from their colleagues, and increasing their level of professional satisfaction. When the necessary conditions are met, academics tend to use e-resources more, and they do not overestimate the problems they face, such as the language barrier.
Limitations: As one of the limitations of the current study, the data collected from the United Kingdom was considerably less than that collected from Turkey. Despite periodic reminders having been sent out with regards to the data collection form to academics working in the United Kingdom, only 41 instructors intended to answer the form and only 18 of those gave answers to all items of the questionnaire.
Conclusions: This research study has shown that academics both intend to and utilize educational e-resources (including open educational e-resources) for the purposes of their own professional development; however, the results of the study have also revealed the need to increase usage more widely in this area. The current study has shown that academics working in Turkey had slightly higher e-resource usage than those working in the United Kingdom. Additionally, it can be said that the open educational e-resources usage intentions of the academics from Turkey was higher as well. Whilst the results of this study are not generalizable due to the limited sample size, academics’ open educational e-resources usage intention is a promising topic of study for the future. Furthermore, it is clear that educational e-resources could be more widely employed for the purposes of professional development, regardless of the country or level of education.