The Open University is building on years of knowledge, experience and research into Open Educational Resources (OER) with badged open courses (BOCs). These have been developed in response to the needs of informal learners who are seeking access to study skills and to have their learning recognised.
'We have listened to the changing needs and requirements of our informal learners using our open platforms' says The OU’s Open Media Unit Director, Andrew Law. 'Badged open courses complement The OU’s extensive and growing portfolio of OER on OpenLearn and provide learners recognition for their achievements through assessment – for free.'
The team at The OU who produced the courses were finalists in The Learning Awards 2015 for ‘Innovation in Learning’ and finalists in The Times Higher Education Awards 2015 for ‘Outreach project of the year’.
Currently, learners enrolled on any of the almost 800 short courses on OpenLearn can download an activity record to print or to share online what they have read. Digital badges issued with each BOC and accompanying Statement of Participation are a different marker of achievement: learners will have not only read full online courses but will have had to have passed online quizzes to earn their digital badge and OU Statement of Participation. Research has shown that this helps learners build confidence and motivation for learning, providing a record of achievement which they can share with friends, learner communities, employers and educational institutions. Learners are able to display their completed badges publicly or privately in their My OpenLearn profile and link to other platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.