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About us

Updated Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Welcome to OpenLearn - the home of free learning from The Open University. Are you looking for a new topic to explore, or wanting 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.

Find out more about The Open University's Open degree.

 Why does OpenLearn exist?


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. We believe that the main barriers to starting education are access, lack of confidence and cost. This is why the Open University works to remove these barriers:

  • We build on formats and platforms that are available offline and online. This improves our discoverability and access. 
  • We eliminate cost by planning the delivery of free learning through sound and sustainable business models.
  • We improve learner esteem and confidence by helping them gain badges and statements of participation.

The Open University has a radical and pioneering approach to access. Matching a refusal to place qualifications barriers in front of our own students, we also have a commitment to release and promote free learning content for others, for the benefit of the wider community.  OpenLearn is a trailblazer for the provision of high quality open educational resources (OER) at scale and breadth, for free and accessible to all.

Illustration of a girl opening an 'OpenLearn' box, by lifting the lid she discovers lots of content flying out

How does OpenLearn work?


Transcript (PDF document33.2 KB)

We deliver bite-sized learning experiences designed to fit easily into daily life. Whether you're looking to get promoted at work, support your children with their schoolwork, a student looking for extra study materials, or simply passionate about a subject, we are open. There are no requirements to access our free materials.

Some of our academic-led content includes:

  • hundreds of short courses (ranging from 1 - 100 hours of study)
  • thousands of articles, quizzes and interactive games 
  • hundreds of videos and audios

Our content covers a wide range of subjects, from Greek history to renewable energy, and everything in between.  Many of our free courses are adapted parts of OU modules, and all courses enable you to earn a statement of participation.  Some even let you earn a free digital badge. You can use your badge or statement of participation to share your achievement with others. Please remember, though, that they do not carry any formal credit towards a qualification. 

What can you do? 


You can use OpenLearn to:

Who are we?


Transcript (PDF document50.0 KB)

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 over 100 million visitors. Many of these visitors go on to make an enquiry about becoming a formal student, strengthening the journey between informal and formal learning.

The OpenLearn team plan, commission and develop content that unites faculty and University priorities with areas of topical and general interest. As well as serving the public, this supports our own student population in their academic, skills and career and personal development (CPD) endeavours, delivering quality assets openly available for teaching and learning.

Who are our learners?

OpenLearn has users from all over the world – from over 236 nations in fact! People come for many different reasons: to supplement their formal learning; for help choosing their future learning pathway; purely for the fun of learning; and for many more reasons besides. Discover the fascinating journeys of some of our learners in Why I study with OpenLearn.


Become an OU student

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