Door 20: OpenLearn – The OU’s gift of free learning

Did you know the the OU provides access to education for free, through short OpenLearn courses? Share the gift of learning with others this Christmas.


As the name suggests, the Open University has an inclusive approach to education. Part of its social mission includes breaking down barriers to learning and one of the ways it does this is through OpenLearn – a free learning resource

OpenLearn was launched in 2006 as part of the Open University’s Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community. Since then, OpenLearn has attracted over 100 million visitors, celebrating its 15th birthday and 2 millionth certificate this year!

OpenLearn provides free, high-quality articles and courses on a huge range of subjects (around 1000 courses to choose from) and at a range of levels. 

You can work at your own pace and record your progress online, leading to Statements of Participation and digital badges (who doesn’t love a badge?).

Keep reading for our top reasons to take up a course on OpenLearn!

Get Back into Learning

If you’re thinking about starting a course with the Open University, there are OpenLearn courses which can help you to prepare for studying, and perhaps build your confidence back up after a break from study. 

How about checking out ‘Essential Skills for OU Study’ covering things like online learning and avoiding plagiarism? Or getting ahead of the game with a language course?

Use OpenLearn to Support Your Learning

You can browse the site for topics relating to your area of study or to help with study skills, preparing for OU study and general advice about being a student. From ‘Building Confidence in Using Online Forums’ to ‘Applying to study for a PhD in psychology’, there is something for everyone.

Expand your Christmas Knowledge

There’s also learning for the pure joy of it, of course! 

How about reading an article on why so many people hate brussel sprouts in ‘The Science Behind Your Christmas Dinner’? 

Or looking back at Christmas during the Victorian era, or the First World War?

Start the New Year well 

It’s been another challenging year and you might be thinking about ways to start 2022 feeling positive and empowered. 

OpenLearn offers courses on Health and Wellbeing, such as ‘The Science of Nutrition and Healthy Eating’ and ‘Work and Mental Health.’ 

There are also Money and Finances courses for individuals and companies.

Share the gift of learning with others

If you’re already studying with the Open University and perhaps already showing off your OpenLearn badges with pride, why not spread the word amongst friends and family during the holidays and get them to sign up to a short course? 

You never know, your support and enthusiasm could be the gift that helps them towards achieving a life-long goal.


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