Sharing Behavior: Teacher’s Attitude for Open Educational Resources

By Meenu Sharma (Research Associate)

“Whatever we possess becomes of double value when we have the opportunity of sharing it with others.”

(Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (1763-1842); Writer, Politician)

This above quote seems very much appropriate when we talk about Open Education Resources (OER). The four “R” i.e. Reuse, Redistribute, Revise, and Remix are the principal components of open education and is the essence of OER. The philosophy behind OER is that knowledge is unique to each individual and comes from direct personal exploration of each person. Of late, we are slowly realizing that learning is not only about knowing facts but is also about knowing how to share and transfer so that others can take benefit of it.

Indeed, open education has emerged as one of the most pioneering teaching-learning practices. Consequently, for transmission of knowledge, a teacher in open education system needs to enlarge the scope of possibilities that learners can explore. In this context, the place of teachers, their attitude towards and their role in structuring open education environment is crucial to make their leaners active participants. Teachers are also expected to share their knowledge with learners. But the question arises here, are all teachers sharing their work? What are the key motivating characteristics which help them to share their resources and what are the different constructs in sharing behavior?

To answers these questions, I reviewed some researches to explore possible determinants of sharing behavior. I understand that OER is largely based on an individual’s desire to borrow and share resources. By itself, sharing is an appreciated human nature. It is considered as knowledge-sharing behavior and an effective method to help teachers with professional development.

It is also emphasized that teachers may have motives other than commercial rewards to share learning materials. One possible reward for sharing OER could be the prestige a teacher acquires or the recognition one gets for the shared work. Self-efficacy is another sharing behavior. When teachers consider themselves to be sufficiently skilled in developing OER and believe that their contributions will provide an added value, they are more inclined to share (Cabrera et al. 2006; Lee et al. 2006).  In addition, reputation, altruism and reciprocity were identified which may motivate teachers to share. Reputation refers to the standing of a teacher amongst his/her peers.  It is believed that teachers may have a way to show their competencies to other colleagues, thus improving their reputation. Wang and Noe (2010) mentioned that “impression management” may be an important reason why an individual chooses to share knowledge. Similarly, altruism implies that teachers see OER sharing itself as being pleasant. Teachers who share OER for altruistic reasons usually have a good feeling about sharing itself and do not need any external rewards to accomplish an act. Reciprocity entails that teachers share OER because they believe others will do so as well. In a sense they believe that their colleagues will somehow reciprocate in exchanging teaching and learning materials developed by them. Teachers’ attitude towards sharing is a fascinating area of research. While teaching per se is about transmitting the knowledge or cultivating knowledge, when it comes to recorded knowledge in the form of text-books, journal article, and other types of materials, not all teachers are equally motivated to share. We know little about this phenomenon….


  • Cabrera, E.F. and Cabrera, A. (2005). “Fostering Knowledge Sharing Through People Management Practices.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 16, pp.720−735.
  • Hars, A and Ou, S. (2002). “Working for Free? Motivations for Participating in Open-Source Projects” International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Vol. 6, No. 3, Communities in the Digital Economy (Spring, 2002), pp. 25-39. Available at
  • Wang, S. and Noe, R. (2010). “Knowledge Sharing: A Review and Directions for Future Research.” Human Resource Management Review 20, pp.115−131.