Community-based Continuous Improvement to Improve Learning

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

How Can We Improve Student Learning?

Herb Simon wrote, “Improvement in post-secondary education will require converting teaching from a solo sport to a community-based research activity.” We believe this is absolutely true. We also believe that this kind of activity doesn’t spontaneously happen on its own – it needs proactive facilitation in order to succeed at improving student learning (see Benkler, 2005 and Steinmacher, 2015).

Lumen provides this proactive facilitation through a community-based continuous improvement process that works as follows:

  1. We conduct RISE analyses of our Waymaker courseware at the end of each term.
  2. We publish the results of these analyses so the community knows which OER are most in need of improvements to better support student learning.
  3. Lumen’s learning engineers begin improving the OER to better support student learning.
  4. Members of the community suggest improvements to the OER to better support student learning.
  5. Lumen’s learning engineers work with members of the community to get their suggestions integrated into Waymaker courseware. These new improvements, whether created by Lumen or by community members, are licensed CC BY and attributed in the courseware.
  6. In many cases, these improvements are available immediately for all students using the courseware. Remaining improvements become available when a new version of the courseware is released. All the course content, including improvements, is available freely and openly through Lumen’s course catalog.
  7. Repeat.

How Do We Begin?

The whole process takes place within Google Drive.

  1. Visit the Community-based Continuous Improvement site.
  2. Click into the course you’re interested in improving.
  3. Read the “START HERE – Review the RISE Analysis” document and choose one or more learning outcomes to work on.
  4. Open the document whose title matches the learning outcome you want to work on and follow the directions at the top of the document.

Are There Tutorials to Help Me Get Started?

Of course! If you need help, video tutorials are always available at

Where Do I Ask Questions and Get Help?

Join the mailing list at!forum/improvinglearning to talk about all aspects of improving OER to improve student learning – questions, comments, critiques, ideas about how the process can be improved… anything related to OER and continuous improvement.

Tenure and Promotion Documentation (Yes, Really)

When your contribution is integrated into Waymaker courseware, it supports learning for a wide range of formal and informal learners. Lumen can provide you with documentation for your Tenure and Promotion binder about the impacts of your contribution, including:

  • The process by which your contribution was reviewed prior to acceptance
  • The number of students in classes where your improved material has been formally adopted
  • The degree of change in student learning on the outcome(s) you worked on from before your contribution to after your contribution
  • The number of visits your contribution(s) received from informal learners online (Lumen’s OER were viewed over 43,000,000 times in 2018)

If you have an ORCID, please reference it in your contribution so we can include it in your attribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where are the rest of the Waymaker courses? I only see some of them here.
A: This preliminary set of Waymaker courses is based on RISE analyses from Spring 2019. After Fall 2019 we will archive the Spring 19 materials and publish an update with RISE analyses from Fall 2019. That update will include more Waymaker courses.