Welcome to OpenLearn – the home of free learning from The Open University. Are you looking for a new topic to explore, or want to dig deeper into something you’ve already discovered? Whether it’s a 60-second animated video or a 24-hour course you are after, you will find it on OpenLearn for free.
Who we are
OpenLearn is a free learning platform, delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community.
Since its launch in 2006, OpenLearn has become an integrated part of The Open University, with the site attracting more than 69 million visitors – many of which go on to make an enquiry about becoming a formal student, strengthening the journey between informal and formal learning.
The OpenLearn team originate, commission and develop content that unites faculty and University priorities with areas of topical and general interest. This is in support of our own student population in their academic, skills and career and personal development (CPD) endeavours, delivering quality assets openly available for teaching and learning.
What we do
We deliver bite-sized learning experiences designed to fit easily into daily life, so whether you’re a busy parent looking to get promoted at work, or back-packing across Africa and wanting to increase your learning, we are open with no requirements to access our free materials.
Some of our academic-led content includes:
- 900+ short courses (ranging from 1 – 100 hours of study)
- thousands of articles, quizzes and interactive games
- hundreds of videos and audios, ranging from Greek history to modern-day politics, and everything in between
- printed posters and booklets made for our TV & radio programmes co-produced with the BBC.
Our content covers a wide range of subjects, with many of our free courses being adapted extractions from OU modules. All of our courses enable you to earn a Statement of participation and some also allow you to earn a free digital badge. You can use your badge or statement of participation to share your achievement with others although they do not carry any formal credit towards a qualification.
Looking for study tips or life advice? Then look no further as our ‘For Study’ and ‘For Life’ resources will help prepare you for study, aid your progression to keep you on track, and then when you are ready, offer guidance towards a fulfilling career.
Why we do it
Our vision is to break down barriers to education by reaching millions of learners each year, through free educational resources.
Free learning resources are core to our social mission as we believe that the main barriers to starting education are access, lack of confidence and cost. The Open University aims to remove these barriers through:
- Building on formats and platforms that are available offline and online, improving our discoverability and access.
- Eliminating cost through underpinning the delivery of free learning through sound and sustainable business models.
- Improving learner esteem and confidence through the gaining of badges and statements of participation.
The Open University has a radical and pioneering approach to access. Matching its refusal to place qualifications barriers in front of our own students, it also has a commitment to release and promote free learning content and systems for others. In addition, we exploit these materials and systems in developing localised solutions. Through grant and donor support and by working closely with local stakeholders we have developed a number of projects that offer open educational resources to targeted groups in deprived populations.
What you can do
You can use OpenLearn to:
- browse the subject categories to discover articles, watch videos and interact with features and games created by our academic experts and guest contributors
- explore new topics to build your personal knowledge or look for reference material for a course you are already studying
- join the debates – hit the Comments area on all our pages to make your voice heard, rate how we’re doing and share with your friends
- take one of our free courses
- earn a digital badge or statement of participation as evidence of your learning
- check out our resources and guides For Study and For Life
- find out What’s On TV and radio – great Open University programmes on the BBC
- Check out our other initiatives such as our collaborative courses with the Social Partnership Network and OpenLearn Create, where individuals and organisations can publish their own free courses and resources
- follow us on social media – @ouopenlearn on Facebook, @oufreelearning on Twitter and @openlearn on Instagram
- subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get the latest from OpenLearn.