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About The Open Centre for Languages and Cultures

Updated Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Welcome to the OpenLearn Hub of the Open Centre for Languages and Cultures, a collection of free taster courses in a range of languages and communication-related subjects.

Find out more about The Open University's Language courses and qualifications

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"At the heart of our mission for the Open Centre for Languages and Cultures sits the ambition to open up access to high quality opportunities to learn languages and engage with cultures for learners from all over the globe and from all walks of life. 

We are committed to increasing public awareness of the strategic importance of meaningful and effective communication between individuals and groups and are confident that the short courses offered by the centre will make a valuable and much-needed contribution to fostering creative curiosity and transformative understanding between people, both locally and globally. 

In fulfilling its mission, the centre will achieve significant societal impact by enabling individuals, communities, and organisations to form strong relationships and powerful, lasting bonds."

- The Open Centre for Languages and Culture Mission Statement

Whether you’re a complete beginner or returning to a language after previous study, now’s your chance to sample our free language and communication taster courses. Written by expert academics from the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University and produced by OpenLearn, these courses offer hours of free learning across a range of languages and communication-related subjects.  You can develop your skills through interactive online learning informed by our years of expertise in distance learning.

Why not have a go at completing a taster course in a language you’ve always been interested in or try returning to a language you’ve studied before? It may well surprise you how quickly you pick it up!

Each taster course offers approximately 8 hours of free learning and is perfect preparation should you want to take your learning further and enrol on one of the longer badged short courses, which you can find here: Languages and Cultures Short Courses | Open University 

The taster courses can also help you to identify your language learning level if you’ve engaged in language study before. All the courses are mapped against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) so you can use them to check the level of your skills before committing to a longer course. All our short courses are non-accredited, however we are developing a route to accreditation which will enable learners to be recognised for prior non-accredited learning.  

New tasters and short courses on topics such as intercultural competence in the workplace and the ethics of artificial intelligence in society are in the pipeline with further new courses being released on a regular basis so please check the page for updates.

There’s no limit to how many taster courses you can take, so happy learning, tell a friend, and enjoy!

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