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OpenLearn is the home of free learning at the OU. 

The site includes:

Open Courses

These are specifically written for OpenLearn or are based on existing OU courses which have been created for Futurelearn. These courses can be studied in your own time, at your own pace. 

Study Units

There are more than 800 study units on OpenLearn to choose from.  They are smaller courses and are adapted from past and present OU courses.  They provide a taste of what OU course material is like.

Badged Open Courses (BOCs)

Some courses on OpenLearn allow learners to gain a free digital badge on completion.  As well as earning their digital badge, learners can also download and print a free Statement of Participation.  See

Badged Open Courses include:

  • Taking your first steps into higher education
  • Succeed with learning
  • Succeed in the workplace
  • Succeed with maths – Part 1
  • Succeed with maths – Part 2
  • English: Skills for learning Facilitating learning in practice

Visit the OpenLearn BOCs website at: to learn more.

Other free short online courses

The OU have developed a suite of 6 free online courses which are aimed at improving the study confidence of specific learner groups. Other organisations in the Social Partnership Network (including UNISON) have been involved. The courses are:

  • Supporting Children’s Development: For teaching assistants and other low paid, unqualified school staff.
  • Introducing Practical Healthcare: For healthcare assistants and the wider health sector workers (bands 1-4 primarily).
  • Planning a Better Future: A generic course aimed at a wide section of low paid workers, e.g. those in retail, hospitality, service industries.
  • Caring for Adults: A social care course to support those in low paid or voluntary work in home, residential, community or family care settings.
  • Starting your Small Business: For those who want to set up, develop and sustain a Micro-Small Enterprise.
  • Taking part in the voluntary sector: For those interested in being involved with the Voluntary Sector

Learners can collect badges for each section within a course and for those that complete a full course they can download a free Statement of Participation.

The courses can be found here