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Beyond Academia: Joe Wicks "The Body Coach" – An Innovative and Commercial Open Education Practitioner

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Edited by Sarah Alcock, Monday, 8 Feb 2021, 16:17

I will be participating in the H818 Networked Practitioner conference, Open Education in an Open Landscape in February 2021. My time slot is 12:30GMT on 11 February.

My multimedia poster can be viewed on YouTube (2 minutes) and this includes links to download the pdf version of the poster from GoogleSites:

Abstract (Updated 8 February 2020)

The movement to Open Educational Practice (OEP) is growing in the academic world, buoyed by the affordances of a technological age. But beyond academia, in the commercial education institutions that are more usually the source of everyday professional and lifelong learning, the monetary and time investment required for open education remains a real barrier. Why should experts share their hard-earned knowledge for no compensation? Why should they spend precious time on social media, publishing learning material, answering questions, and guiding others – especially with the risk of being challenged or attacked for a different approach? In a commercial world, equity of learning is simply not enough of a motivation.

This multimedia website demonstrates that it is possible to be an OEP in a commercial education institution, whilst remaining financially and educationally successful. It examines how Joe Wicks “The Body Coach” has changed the health and fitness education industry, using technology to innovate his way to becoming a commercially successful OEP, albeit with some concessions to the academic definition.

Aimed at sceptical commercial education managers, it demonstrates how Joe Wicks “The Body Coach” educational activities can be mapped to academic theory and standards, including Cronin’s (2017) definition of OEP and Hegarty’s (2015) 8 attributes of open pedagogy (with some adjustments for a commercial enterprise). It examines how this might fit into lifelong learning using Cormier’s theory of Rhizomatic learning (as described in the YouTube video “Rhizomatic Learning as a Metaphor of our Educational development_Dave Cormier”, 2018).

Joe Wicks "The Body Coach" is a prolific content creator, and the website examines how this output can be used as Open Education Resources (OER). The business revenue streams are identified, explaining how OEP/OER are sustained in this context.

An online presence is not always positive. Coughlan's 'Five risks for educators using social media' (2017) are used to frame this area of concern, demonstrating the choices users need to make. Finally, a 'what now?' section gives tools and ideas for the reader to use in deciding how to benefit from openness in practice. 

Ultimately this multimedia website encourages new ways of thinking about sustainable open education practices in a commercial world with online, lifelong and community learning at its heart. With Joe Wicks “The Body Coach” as an example, commercial education managers are invited to consider how they might use OEP alongside traditional and not so traditional revenue streams to take their place at the heart of their learning community.

Key words: Open Education Practices, OEP, Openness, Open Education, Open Pedagogy, Commercial Education, Learning Community, Community of Practice, Rhizomatic learning, Technology, Technology Enhanced Learning, Education Managers, Lifelong Learning, Joe Wicks, The Body Coach.


Coughlan, T. (2017) ‘Five risks for educators using social media’, Netsafely, 23 October [Blog]. Available at https://netsafely.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/five-risks-for-educators-using-social-media/ (Accessed 2 January 2021).

Cronin, C. (2017) ‘Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education’, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol 18, no 5.

Hegarty, B. (2015). ‘Attributes of Open Pedagogy: A Model for Using Open Educational Resources’. Educational Technology, vol July– August, pp3 – 13 [Online]. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281286900_Attributes_of_Open_Pedagogy_A_Model_for_Using_Open_Educational_Resources (Accessed 1 January 2021).

Rhizomatic Learning as a Metaphor of our Educational development_Dave Cormier | UOC (2018) YouTube video, added by UOC – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5khGN3A7EF4 (Accessed 2 January 2021).

Permalink 7 comments (latest comment by Sarah Alcock, Tuesday, 23 Feb 2021, 21:32)
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