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Open Learning Champions

Open Learning Champions - networking event - 2019

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

Stat graphic - 350 Open Learning Champions in 100+ organisationsThe OU in Scotland currently has 350 Open Learning Champions (OLCs) in 100-plus organisations from Shetland to Dumfries, including Lead Scotland, Progress Through Learning Midlothian and Glasgow Science Centre.

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.

Responses to a survey in 2018 of how Open Learning Champions are using resources included:

  • "on a one-to-one basis with young adult carers as an alternative to further education or as a stepping stone back into learning which is flexible and can fit around demands and responsibilities of young adult carers"
  • "we organised a small group and worked through the activities together as a group"
  • "we have plans to use OpenLearn Create to expand training opportunities for volunteers"

Our 250th OLC milestone was reached during a workshop at Aberdeenshire Council in March 2019. Participants are pictured, below right, with the OU’s Gill Ryan (far left).

Open Learning Champions - 250th milestoneAn OLC networking event was held in Glasgow in April 2019 (picture, top). Presentations are available via the links below:

Hear Gill Ryan, Learning Partnerships Officer, talk about the Open Learning Champions project (from 11:07 - 15:35).

Open Learning Champion and learner feedback

OLC Katie Smith from Volunteer Edinburgh

OpenLearn gives patients at the hospital an opportunity to discover the joy of learning.

Katie Smith, an OLC from Volunteer Edinburgh, based in Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
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, contact us.

Latest resources

Cover shot of Open Pathways - Guide for learnersThe 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 (January 2020) of 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 us.