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The Open University (OU) offers employers a range of ways to support employees in developing their confidence in learning and set them on a path to work and career-related qualifications. The Open up your learning podcast series explores the different options available to employers. In this episode we take a look innovative OU level 1 module - Making your learning count (YXM130).
The OU’s philosophy has always been to widen access to learning and break down barriers through flexible learning. Our new, innovative OU level 1 module Making your learning count really builds on that philosophy. It enables learners to incorporate chunks of non-accredited learning that they have already done or are currently doing into a portfolio of learning that leads to a qualification. Those chunks of learning can be from the OU’s free learning website OpenLearn or from other specified open educational resources.
In order to demonstrate how both employers and employees can benefit from this unique offering, The OU recently ran a podcast as part of its Open up your learning series. Corporate learning journalist Martin Couzins chaired the podcast, joined by a panel of several experts from around the OU – Linda Robson, senior lecturer in the STEM faculty and Co-chair of Making your learning count, George Curry, Access Programme Manager and Co-chair of Making your learning count and Simon Tindall, Head of Skills and Innovation.
“Its main reason for being,” says George, “is to enable people who’ve done little bits of learning, which is non-accredited, to gather that all together and count it towards one of our qualifications.”
This module is part of the OU’s BA/BSc Open degree, but it can also be used to count towards a wider qualification, such as a management degree. It is worth 30 credits, which translates as 300 hours of learning. Being a OU level 1 module, it’s at introductory level, making it a really good stepping stone into other learning. Simon says this means it really works well for less confident learners, people who may not have studied formally at higher education level or haven’t been on a training programme for a few years. “These programmes allow people to come in and start small, build their confidence over time and then easily transition to a formal programme.”
The module can also be used by employers to complement their existing L&D activities and formally recognise work-based learning. It fits with a general drive towards upskilling the workforce, while at the same time bridging the gap between informal and formal learning. Simon says Making your learning count is a great way for employers and employees to test the waters before committing to a higher level of study. “The beauty of this module is it really allows a much simpler bridge between that gap between free and pay degree courses. You retain value in informal learning and for employers, it’s a really neat way of encouraging employees into programmes without necessarily having a huge financial commitment of full blown payment for a degree. It’s a gradual process into that.”
Linda says the module can be used as a taster, helping employers and employees decide what learning pathway is most suitable. “It’s a great opportunity for students who maybe aren’t 100% certain of what they want to study. Some of our students are very clear on where they want to go after the module at the start, and then some of them try a bit and say ‘Yes, I’m definitely on the right path’. And others will say, ‘Actually, I’ve tried a bit of that and I want to go in a slightly different direction’.”
Like all OU learning, there is a high degree of flexibility, allowing employers and employees to build skills across a range of subjects.