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Learning in the time of lockdown

Gill RyanAuthor:

Gill Ryan is a Learning Partnerships Officer for Access, Participation and Success at The Open University in Scotland.

In these strange days, you may feel that learning is the last thing on your mind. Who has time between remote working, home schooling, caring responsibilities, money worries and anxiety about the virus?

But in the past few weeks, since the beginning of lockdown, OpenLearn – the Open University’s free learning platform – has been literally packed with visitors who are keen to get learning. We’ve recently welcomed our 75 millionth visitor to site! 

We've been working to add topical resources to help people get through this challenging time, with collections on keeping kids occupied, looking after your mental health, and taking your teaching online. Check out the top 10 resources (updated daily) and Coronavirus:The Lowdown.

For workers who have been furloughed or are facing redundancy due to the economic impact of the shutdown, The Open University in Scotland is supporting Skills Development Scotland on a collection of free online resources for My World of Work. The site saw 20,000 visitors in its first two days.

As it’s Digital Learning Week this week, you may be thinking about working on your digital skills or you’re supporting someone else to get online. Our Digital Skills pathway contains our most popular digital skills courses. 

We are also working with Lead Scotland (Linking Education And Disability) to develop a digital skills course for disabled learners, which we hope to launch this summer on our OpenLearn Create platform (watch this space!). 

OpenLearn homepage screengrabIf you’re new to online learning, OpenLearn has an amazing range of resources. With so many courses to choose from, our Open Pathways Guide can help you know where to start, beginning with short videos and quizzes and working your way up gradually to full courses. 

If you’re supporting someone who’s new to online learning, our Open Learning Champions Guide is full of information, guidance and examples from champions who work in community and third sector organisations. 

All the resources on OpenLearn can be studied at your own pace, but if you would like to study in real time and interact with other learners, our FutureLearn platform runs courses from universities and institutions all over the world. Have a look at OU courses on FutureLearn starting soon. These are free to sign up for, but courses may charge for a certificate at the end. 

If you’d like to find out more about becoming an open learning champion, or you have any questions at all about any of our online learning opportunities, please get in touch with us at We send out mailings every two weeks with tips and resources you can use with your learners. Keep an eye out on Twitter for the latest news and resources: follow us at @OUFreeLearning and @OUScotland.

This blog was originally published by Third Force News.


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