Free Online Courses


There are nearly 1,000 courses on OpenLearn, all of which are currently free to study.

OpenLearn courses cover a wide range of subjects taught across the OU curriculum. Many are based on Open University course materials while others are written specifically for OpenLearn.

Subjects Available:

All courses enable you to earn a statement of participation and some also allow you to earn a free digital badge. You can use your badge or statement of participation to share your achievement with others although they do not carry any formal credit towards a qualification.

What is a digital badge?

Digital badges are a way of recording and displaying your new skills and achievements online for anyone to view. Badges can demonstrate your interest in a subject, commitment to your career or provide evidence and recognition of continuing professional development. They do not, however, carry any formal credit towards an Open University qualification.

Only certain OpenLearn courses carry a digital badge. You can gain a digital badge on OpenLearn by studying one of our free ‘badged open courses’ (our courses clearly indicate at the start if they carry a digital badge).

Whilst you will not receive support from a tutor on a badged course, you do get useful feedback from interactive quizzes. You are awarded the badge when you have read the full course and gained a particular grade in the quizzes.

Digital badges normally consist of the badge image and the badge information which lists the badge title, who issued the badge and the requirements for gaining the badge.  This enables employers, organisations, schools and individuals to see what you can do.  It also provides you with a confidence boosting record of your abilities.

You can show your digital badges to others by sharing them with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and by making them public, should you choose, in your My OpenLearn profile.

How can I earn a badge?

As you work through a Badged Open Course, you will be invited to complete interactive quizzes which can count towards a digital badge.  There may also be other requirements in order to claim your badge, such as reading all the pages of the course.   At the end of the course when you have completed all the requirements, your badge will be issued.  You will receive an email and the badge will appear in your My OpenLearn profile, normally within 24 hours.

You can manage your digital badges in your My OpenLearn profile and download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation which also displays your Open University badge.

You can show your digital badges to others by sharing them via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and by making them public, should you choose, via your My OpenLearn profile.

How do I get my statement of participation?

Once you have enrolled on an OpenLearn course and have completed it, you will be able to access and download a free Open University statement of participation in .pdf format.

To gain a statement of participation learners must:

a) Read the course Introduction and Guidance.

b) Be enrolled on the course.

c) Read every page of the course and submit any quizzes within it.

d) Allow up to 24 hours for the statement of participation to appear. The statement of participation will appear in ‘My OpenLearn Profile’ in the Achievements section.

You will be notified by email if you have received a statement of participation.

The statement of participation does not carry any formal credit towards a qualification.

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