Free courses

Free courses

Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across 8 different subject areas. Our courses are available to start right away.

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A growing selection of our courses offer a free Open University digital badge. Badges demonstrate your interest in a subject, a commitment to your career or provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Lunchtime learning

Got a few spare minutes? Brush up on your knowledge with our range of free bite-size courses and activities.

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Results: 106 items Grid List
Childhood in the digital age Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © boggy22 (via iStockPhoto.com) free course icon Level 1 icon

Education & Development 

Childhood in the digital age

This free course, Childhood in the digital age, delves into the lives of children and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of technology in their lives.

Free course
12 hrs
Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control

What should we eat before and after exercise? This free course, Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control, examines the importance of nutrition in physical activity, sport and weight management. The role that physical activity has alongside nutrition in controlling body weight will be discussed, as will considerations for pre-exercise and post-exercise nutrition and hydration.

Free course
6 hrs
Improving aerobic fitness Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Improving aerobic fitness

Aerobic fitness is integral to successful sports performance and to maintaining good health. But what sort of exercise should you be doing to develop your aerobic fitness? This free course, Improving aerobic fitness, will help you to answer this question by introducing you to principles of aerobic exercise prescription.

Free course
2 hrs
Exercise and mental health Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Exercise and mental health

Each year thousands of pounds are spent on medications to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. These medications often have negative side effects. Exercise is an alternative treatment that is low cost and has few side effects. In this free course, Exercise and mental health, we will look at the links between exercise and improved mental health and psychological well-being. This will include consideration of the role of exercise in combating stress, anxiety and depression, and in enhancing mood.

Free course
2 hrs
Challenging ideas in mental health Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Challenging ideas in mental health

Take a new and different look at mental health. This free course, Challenging ideas in mental health, invites you to think differently about life's dilemmas by taking account of the views of all concerned, especially people experiencing mental distress. It explores ideas and practice in mental health, and will appeal to a wide range of people.

Free course
18 hrs

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Understanding depression and anxiety

In this free course, Understanding depression and anxiety, we consider some risk and causal factors for some depression and anxiety disorders – that is, the possible aetiology of such disorders. A multitude of genetic, neurobiological, psychological and social factors are likely to be relevant.

Free course
8 hrs

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Applying social work skills in practice

In this free course, Applying social work skills in practice, you will explore the social work role in working with vulnerable and socially excluded individuals and groups. You will learn about risk and the assessment of need in social work practice, and explore the wider context of social work practice and responses to social work. You will also explore the application of relevant knowledge, skills and values in social work, and think about the place of research in supporting social work practice.

Free course
7 hrs
The science behind wheeled sports Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

The science behind wheeled sports

This free course, The science behind wheeled sports, focuses on cycling and wheelchair racing: what we might collectively call wheeled sports. The Scientific concepts such as force, acceleration and speed are also useful for understanding these sports. However, cycling and wheelchair racing differ from other sports in that technology more obviously plays an important role.

Free course
8 hrs

Health, Sports & Psychology 

The lottery of birth

This free course, The lottery of birth, will look at both the big picture of the ‘lottery of birth’ and the smaller, human stories. You will examine the inequalities of birth, particularly being born rich or poor and being born female or male.

Free course
12 hrs
Investigating psychology free course icon Level 2 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Investigating psychology

One of the keys to understanding psychology is to know about its history and core questions. This free course, Investigating psychology, allows you to explore psychology using an interactive resource. You can follow links to people, contexts, perspectives and methods to discover information, images and links from across psychology. The resource also links each of these people, contexts, perspectives and methods so you can see how each element is connected in the history of psychology.

Free course
3 hrs
Exploring family health Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Iakov Filimonov/Dreamstime.com free course icon Level 1 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Exploring family health

How can families support healthy living and cope with illness? This free course, Exploring family health, will provide an understanding of what is meant by socialisation. You will recognise how a family can learn and support good and poor health behaviours alongside government interventions, such as the 5 A DAY strategy. Identification of people with Alzheimer's disease is steadily increasing and you will consider key features and research. Caring within a family will be considered through reading about Sheila who cares for her husband and son. Finally, the course will look at the plight of young carers, often hidden from view, and losing part of their childhood due to their caring responsibilities.

Free course
8 hrs
The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice

Most of us have a very vague and narrow concept of what autism is, based mainly on such stereotypes as Dustin Hoffman's character in the film Rain Man. In this free course, The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice, you will discover that there is a wide spectrum of disorders associated with autism, and an equally wide range of approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

Free course
20 hrs
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