Finding resources that are free to use

Your starting point will probably be an online search using a search engine like Google and typing in key words that describe your training topic.

However, if you know the type of material you are looking for then you may want to search for that specifically. For example, if you want images then you can search within Flickr or Google images; if you need videos then searching YouTube may be fruitful; or you could try TED Talks for videos of talks by expert speakers.


If you just want to direct your learners to watch an existing online video, then you can simply give them the hyperlink or URL. You do not need to worry about CC licences unless you intend to download and embed the video (or other material) within your own resources. Copyright applies if you are ‘publishing’ the resource yourself, not if you are sending people to wherever it was originally published.

A problem with internet searches is they usually produce thousands of ‘hits’ so if you are looking for something to build into your training, how do you find freely available material? One helpful technique is to use filter options that enable you to refine your search to include only items that are free to use.

Watch these three short videos to learn how to refine your searching. The first demonstrates how you can search in Google for anything that has an open licence and the second focuses on images. The third looks at searching for free-to-use videos, photos and artwork in YouTube, Flickr and Openclipart respectively.

Using Google Advanced Search to find Open Content [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

How to Use Google Image Search to Find Creative Commons Images you can LEGALLY use for FREE!

Using Creative Commons filters on popular platforms (Youtube, Flickr, Openclipart)


You can search directly for images, video, music and other resources using this Creative Commons search tool.

Further resources

OER Africa provides research papers, reports, learning pathways and other resources about OERs. These resources include online tutorials such as ‘Finding open content’.

Evaluating online learning resources

OER repositories