The Open University set up OpenLearn in 2006 as an extension of its mission to transform access to higher education. It is a free platform, with free material available to everyone, wherever they are in the world and at whatever stage they are at with their education and employment. There are now around 1,000 short courses, as well as many more articles, videos, audios, quizzes and interactive games. An increasing number of employers are discovering the value of continuous learning and how platforms such as OpenLearn encourage and facilitate such learning.
The website includes a specific area on skills for work, such as team working, leadership, mentoring, effective communication, relationship management and decision making. There are courses aimed specifically at improving digital capabilities, such as digital thinking tools and cybersecurity, and courses aimed at specific sectors, such as the health and social care sector. These courses can be used to help people in their current roles and to progress to more senior positions or to new careers.
Some of the courses carry digital badges, evidence that a learner has completed a course and passed the assessments. The badges can be shared on social media as evidence of learning and development.