Mechanisms of international policy influence: The role of Intergovernmental Organisations (IGOs) in the development of governmental Open Educational Resources (OER) policies

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


Numerous researchers and International Organisations (IOs) have focused on the link between Open Educational Resources (OER) and Lifelong Learning (LLL) emphasizing the positive role of OER in fostering LLL opportunities (Mulder, 2007; Kozinska 2013; Orr, Rimini and van Damme, 2015; European Commission, 2013). Several international organizations have established clear links between LLL and OER in their key OER policy instruments recognizing the role of governmental OER policies in advancing LLL opportunities. The most recent example includes the UNESCO 2019 Recommendation on OER that calls on governments to create supportive policy environments for OER to foster “use and adaptation of OER in support of high quality, inclusive education and lifelong learning for all…” (p. 2).

We present findings from interviews with Intergovernmental Organisation (IGOs), as part of a PhD research study exploring how IOs have influenced the development of governmental OER policies. The following research question guides this study: How did selected IOs influence the development of governmental OER policies in selected countries from 2002 to 2019? A combination of methodological approaches have been applied, including a literature review and semi-structured interviews. We focus on four IGOs namely the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the European Commission (EC). This research is positioned within the literature that examines the effects of globalisation on educational public policy. This phenomenon is described as an emergent global education policy field or community (Lingard et al., 2005; Rizvi and Lingard, 2010, Jakobi, 2009).

We provide an overview of the OER policy instruments used by the four IGOs. Using a typology of policy instruments developed by Jakobi (2009), we classify the identified OER policy instruments into five distinct categories and provide relevant examples under each category. These include “discursive dissemination, standard setting, financial means, coordinative functions, and technical assistance” (p.4). Following the overview of the identified OER policy instruments, we report on the perceived or observed successes and challenges with the efforts of these IGOs to influence the development of governmental OER policies.


European Commission (2013). Communication on Opening up Education: Innovative teaching and learning for all through new Technologies and Open Educational Resources
Jakobi, A. P. (2009). International organisations and world society: studying global policy development in public policy (TranState working papers, No. 81). http://
Mulder, F. (2007). The advancement of Lifelong Learning through Open Educational Resources in an open and flexible (self) learning context. Retrieved from:

Kozinska, K. A. (2013). Supporting lifelong learning with Open Educational Resources (OER) among diverse users: motivations for and approaches to learning with different OER. PhD thesis. The Open University. Retrieved from:

Lingard, B., Rawolle, S., & Taylor, S. (2005). Globalising policy sociology in education: working with Bourdieu. Journal of Education Policy 20 (6), 759-77.

Orr, D., Rimini, M., & van Damme, D. (2015). Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from
Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalising Education Policy. Routledge.

UNESCO. (2019). Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER). Retrieved from
Period16 Feb 2023
Event titleLillehammer Lifelong Learning ICDE Conference 2023
Event typeConference
LocationLillehammer, NorwayShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • ntergovernmental Organisations
  • Policy influence
  • OER
  • OER policy
  • Governmental OER Policy