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Education & Development

Continuing with informal study on OpenLearn

Updated Wednesday 4th March 2015

There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend on OpenLearn or the number of courses you can take.

With thousands of hours of free learning at your disposal you may decide to continue exploring OpenLearn independently. About OpenLearn is a short video which can help you get started, find your way around and make the most of the site. It will also show you how to create a free account in My OpenLearn.
If you sign up for an account you can create your profile and select your areas of interest by using the OpenLearn subject categories. With your own My OpenLearn profile you’ll also be able to track your progress (on any free courses you have enrolled on) and access Activity Records which you can print or share online. When you complete a Badged Open Course you will be able to see your badges here too. Based on what you tell us, OpenLearn will also suggest other relevant courses.
All content on OpenLearn has tags relevant to the subject so each time you find content that interests you, you can click on the associated tag at the bottom of the page, to save to your profile. You can also click on Favourites to keep tracj of things you'd like to come back to, or share content with others via social media.

Navigating OpenLearn

There are a number of ways to use OpenLearn. The navigation tools are on the home page.
You can navigate the site by clicking on the OpenLearn subject areas that interest you:
Alternatively you can browse resources under the broad headings of:

Or you can search by clicking on the drop down list of options:

  • Watch videos
  • Listen to audio
  • See games & activities
  • Study a free course
  • Order a free print item
  • Join a discussion
  • See what’s on TV and radio

You also can view the complete list of all the free courses available in each of the OpenLearn subject areas. If you have difficulty finding your way around then take a look at About OpenLearn, an online demonstration of how it works.

Other types of informal learning

So far we’ve focused on free online learning through OpenLearn and introduced you to a wide range of resources in different mediums. Further informal learning from The Open University is also available on other multimedia platforms such as:

Some multimedia sources

Google Play
iTunes U
Mozilla Science Lab

Image of Tutor Meg Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Ross Finnie - The Open University "As an OU tutor and project officer on the 'Caring for Carers' project I was the first point of contact at The OU. I worked with Gillian, Katrina and Lesley throughout their studies and watched them gain confidence as their skills developed. It has been a joy and has inspired other carers in the region to try out 'something for me" - Meg Community and workplace learning

You may be keen to brush up on your literacy, numeracy or IT skills or maybe you are looking for a more practical subject to study. Look at what your local college offers, or try adult learning classes. If you are in a union, talk to your Union Learning Rep.

Informal learning is also available in a wide variety of places such as your local community centre, library or through organisations such as the Workers Education Association (WEA), or perhaps via your local carers centre if you have caring responsibilities.

Dumfries Carers Centre

Open University associate lecturer Meg Hopkins supported a group of carers in Dumfries as they worked through the OU’s free Reflection Toolkit and formed their own ‘study buddy’ group.

This is part of a collection to accompany The Open University in Scotland's Open Pathways to Higher Education.





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