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Open Learning Champions

Open Learning Champions bring The Open University’s free Open Educational Resources to communities right across Scotland.

Open Learning ChampionsThe OU in Scotland currently has more than 120 Open Learning Champions (OLCs) in 55-plus organisations from Shetland to Dumfries, including the Scottish Childminding Association, the Prince's Trust and the Glasgow Association for Mental Health.

From the first workshop in June 2015, the OLC project has equipped a network of people – from third sector organisations to colleges and libraries – with the knowledge and skills to use The OU’s free learning resources to help learners in their communities.

The OLC model is based on trusted relationships, such as that between a support worker and carer. Champions use resources such as OpenLearn and Open Pathways to Higher Education with learners and for their own professional development. They can also help learners plan the transition from informal to formal learning.

A survey of Open Learning Champions in autumn 2016 found:

  • over a third of respondents have reached 20-plus learners
  • over 70 per cent of learners come from groups who are underrepresented in traditional higher education
  • 80 per cent say they are likely to signpost learners to formal study with The OU

Pictured above right are some OLCs and OU in Scotland staff, at a 2017 networking event held in Glasgow. Read the event presentations. Hear Gill Ryan, Learning Partnerships Officer, talk about the Open Learning Champions project (from 11:07 - 15:35).

Open Learning Champion and learner feedback

Andrea Cochrane

The workshop reignited my interest in learning both on a personal level and at work. It also gave me the confidence to look at open learning with an open mind. Previous e-learning has been dry and isolating. This is fun, interactive and can be a really positive way of getting people back into education.

Andrea Cochrane, an OLC from Angus Carers Centre.


Jane Stitt

When the course was offered I thought, it will make me reflect on what I've been doing. The course really opens your mind and gets you thinking about what you actually do and what your value is. It made me think I could do this and when I went to the interview, the words just flowed.

Jane Stitt from Dumfries, did the Caring Counts reflection and planning course for carers. This gave her the confidence to return to the workforce, after having cared full-time for 13 years.



Open Learning Champions logo

The OU in Scotland runs workshops for potential Champions​, which ​explore the use of free OU open educational resources to engage the people they support in learning.

Information on any forthcoming events and workshops is posted in the events section.

If you are interested in a workshop being held in your workplace, please email Ciara Kydd.

Latest resources

Open Pathways brochureThe Open Pathways to Higher Education online resource is supported by a learner guide with information on subject pathways, navigating OpenLearn and support for planning individual learning journeys. Resource packs (the guide, three pathways documents and a learning log) can be requested.

The Open Learning Champions guide offers information and suggestions to facilitators on using Open Pathways to support individuals and groups of learners in exploring opportunities on OpenLearn.

Champions can also access learning packages to create bespoke programmes for specific contexts. These are source documents with links to informal and formal resources at different levels.

Packages are available on:

  • Transitions (Further Education to Higher Education; school leavers; return to work / learning)
  • Employability
  • Languages / ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Health and social care
  • Community learning
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Third sector / volunteering

Read the evaluation report of the Open Learning Champions pilot, which took place in 2015 in Dumfries and Shetland.


Keep up to date with the project

The latest edition (March 2018) of Connect, the Open Learning Champions Newsletter, is available online

Join the Open Learning Champions newsletter mailing list.

Request your prospectus

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Contact us

For more information on holding a workshop in your workplace,
or to request an Open Pathways resource pack or a learning package,
contact Ciara Kydd.