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Free courses

A tasty slice of everything we make is shared openly.

The OU provides around 5% of its formal course materials as free open educational content every year on OpenLearn. OpenLearn includes over 1,000 free courses derived from the OU's curriculum and dozens of specially commissioned Badged Open Courses. Learners can filter by subject, skills for life, skills for study or search by any term. The majority of learners visiting OpenLearn do so to study a free course.

All OpenLearn courses:

  • Provide a free, downloadable Open University Statement of participation available on completion.
  • Can be studied by anyone at any time, with no cohorts, presentation dates or time limits.
  • Are stand-alone learning experiences, with distinct learning outcomes.
  • Can be 1-24+ hours long. Our ‘lunchtime learning courses’ are 3 hours or under.
  • Are available for free, and offered with a Creative Commons licence.
  • Are available for free in other accessible formats for download and offline study, including Word, PDF and ePub. These ebooks are also published for free to Amazon (for Kindle users), Google Play and iTunes.

In addition, learners who successfully complete a Badged Open Course receive a free OU branded (non-accredited) digital badge to share online. Badged courses are highly engaging and cover a range of core subjects and professional competencies essential for the modern workplace.

Learners use OpenLearn courses to find out what university level study is like, to choose the topic of university study, to develop or enhance key skills used for studying or in the workplace, to demonstrate continuous development to their employer, or simply to find out more about a topic of interest.

Each year over half of the OU's own students use OpenLearn courses in order to augment their studies, inform module choice and increase confidence and skills.