Skip to content

Toggle service links

Open Media and Informal Learning

Open Media and Informal Learning commissions content and manages the production of OpenLearn, YouTube, Amazon (Kindle), iTunes U, Google Play and BBC output to support both the social and business missions of The Open University (OU). Open Media and Informal Learning is research informed, in that it commissions and collaborates on research into informal learning to demonstrate impact. Being research informed provides both business data on how we can improve our offering to informal learners and research data for the wider open educational resources community.

The Unit aims to:

  • improve the national and international awareness of The OU brand and services
  • deliver quality assets which are available for teaching and learning
  • generate learning journeys between informal and formal learning

The Unit works closely with the University's Central Academic Units (faculties), Marketing, Online Communications, Learning and Teaching Solutions and the Business Development Unit to ensure the most valuable use of our broadcast and online channels.

Open Media and Informal Learning is responsible for the OU's Open Education Media Operating Policy which provides The OU definition of open educational media, their main purposes and impact and some principles guiding their delivery and development.

Increasing access to education on a global scale

The OU is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Regarded as Britain's major e-learning institution, The OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast 'open content portfolio' includes free courses and resources on OpenLearn, which has had more than 50 million visits since launch in 2006 and its educational materials on YouTube and iTunes U, which has recorded over 90 million downloads. The OU's open content portfolio will continue to grow as opportunities develop.

The OU has had a partnership with the BBC since 1971, which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes intended to create learning journey's offering viewers the opportunity to find out more about particular subjects and topics.

The Open University attracts millions of informal learners from around the world to its free educational resources across multiple platforms.

Open Media and Informal Learning blog

Open Media and Informal Learning on Twitter

Open Media Syndication Developments

Open Media and Informal Learning also syndicates open content to the following platforms:

  • Google Play - ebook versions of over 800 free courses developed for OpenLearn for viewing on android devices.
  • Amazon (for Kindle) - ebook versions of over 800 free courses developed for OpenLearn.
  • AudioBoom - an audio social media platform with over 12 million users will host some 900+ pieces of Open University audio content.  Being an open platform, this means that content previously only available on iTunes U is now available to all in a searchable, embeddable format allowing us to broaden accessibility and reach a wider international audience.
  • Through its wholly owned subsidiary, FutureLearn, launched in 2013, which hosts Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for 40 leading UK and international universities, the OU sees tens of thousands of UK and international learners benefiting from its free educational resources.