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.
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.
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
- discover the most popular courses, articles and interactives with our top 10 lists
- take one of our free courses
- check out our resources and guides For Study and For Life
- explore new topics to build your personal knowledge or look for reference material for an OU module you are already studying
- earn a digital badge or statement of participation as evidence of your learning
- check out our other initiatives such as our collaborative partnerships with the Department for Work and Pensions and MoneySavingExpert
- explore our sister site, 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
- learn what new courses and content are in the pipeline with our ‘coming soon’ page
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.
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.