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.

Free badged courses

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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Understanding language and learning Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © davidf / iStockphoto.com free course icon Level 3 icon

Languages 

Understanding language and learning

Learning is understood broadly as any kind of activity, whether in a formal or informal context, that enhances an individual’s knowledge or skills in one way or another. The relationship between language and learning is approached in three ways: learning a language, learning about language and learning through language. This free course, Understanding language and learning, explains and illustrates the different relationships between language and learning, and these are illustrated through videos, activities and other examples.

Free course
10 hrs
Exploring languages and cultures free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages 

Exploring languages and cultures

Explore the multiple relationships between languages and cultures. In this free course you will learn about the benefits and challenges of meeting people from different cultures and the ways in which language and human communities shape each other. You will look at the role of intercultural competence at the workplace, reflect on the use of English as lingua franca in international contexts, and get a flavour of the skills involved in language-related professions such as translation and interpreting.

Free course
14 hrs
English: skills for learning Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © PepitolPhotos/Istockphoto.com free course icon Level 1 icon Badge icon

Education & Development 

English: skills for learning

English: skills for learning, is a free course for anybody who is thinking of studying for a university degree and would like to develop the English reading and writing skills needed to succeed. You will learn through a range of engaging activities aimed at extending your existing language skills.

Free course
24 hrs
Beginners’ French: food and drink Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © Ian Shaw/Alamy. free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages 

Beginners’ French: food and drink

Improve your language skills by learning to communicate more easily and effectively in French. In this free course, Beginners' French: Food and drink, you will also gain an insight into French societies and cultures through focusing on food and drink. You will listen to French speakers in a variety of situations, and you will be provided with some skills for coping with reading texts.

Free course
5 hrs
Language in the real world Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Courtesy © Neil Mitchell free course icon Level 3 icon

Languages 

Language in the real world

This free course, Language in the real world, explains and illustrates why a knowledge about how language works (i.e. ‘linguistics’) is helpful – some might say essential – for different aspects of our everyday lives. It provides an introduction to ideas around what language is and to the field of Applied Linguistics, which is dedicated to exploring and addressing situations where language plays a crucial role.

Free course
6 hrs
Gaelic in modern Scotland Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages 

Gaelic in modern Scotland

Modern Scotland is a multi-lingual country. Gaelic, Scots and English, along with newer introductions from Europe and beyond, all influence the way Scotland's people now speak to each other and to the rest of the world. Created with the positive encouragement of Brd na Gidhlig and with support from BBC Alba, this free course, Gaelic in modern Scotland, is available in both Gaelic and English. The course has been designed to provide a resource for people with a personal or professional interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding of the development and impact of Scottish Gaelic and its culture. It aims to surprise and challenge where necessary; to provide links and ideas for further research; and, for some, to kick-start a journey into learning a language which is integral to Scotland's national identity.

Free course
15 hrs
English grammar in context Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Education & Development 

English grammar in context

What are the differences between spoken and written English? Is use of grammar more or less complex than it appears? This free course, English grammar in context, looks at the way grammar can be used as a tool for adapting our communications (both written and spoken). This OpenLearn course will help you to see how language is intertwined with both describing a view of the world and interacting with others in that world.

Free course
15 hrs
Getting started on classical Latin Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Art Archive/Alamy free course icon Level 1 icon

History & The Arts 

Getting started on classical Latin

This free course, Getting started on classical Latin, has been developed in response to requests from learners who had had no contact with Latin before and who felt they would like to spend a little time preparing for the kind of learning that studying a classical language involves. The course will give you a taster of what is involved in the very early stages of learning Latin and will offer you the opportunity to put in some early practice.

Free course
10 hrs
Learning a second language Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Languages 

Learning a second language

In this free course, Learning a second language, we will consider how students learn how to make meaning through learning additional languages which could be second, third or even fourth languages. This course is likely to appeal to teachers; that is, educators of any type.

Free course
4 hrs
French: Le quatorze juillet Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Languages 

French: Le quatorze juillet

This free course, French: Le quatorze juillet, is taken from Ouverture, a language module that concentrates on French as a tool for communication, but it also provides some insights into French society and culture through authentic printed, audio and video materials. It will be of interest to all those who want to improve their language skills in order to communicate more easily and effectively in French. French: Le quatorze juillet focuses on the French national holiday of 14 July which commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison (la prise de la Bastille) in 1789.

Free course
10 hrs
French: Ouverture free course icon Level 2 icon

Languages 

French: Ouverture

This free course, French: Ouverture, is taken from Ouverture, a language module that concentrates on French as a tool for communication, but it also provides some insights into French society and culture through authentic printed, audio and video materials. The course will be of interest to all those who want to improve their language skills in order to communicate more easily and effectively in French. French: Ouverture focuses on the French on holiday.

Free course
20 hrs
Language and creativity free course icon Level 2 icon

Languages 

Language and creativity

This free course is an introduction to the relationship between language and creativity, to the roles that linguistic creativity plays in culture and society, and to the different approaches to its study.

Free course
8 hrs
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