OpenLearn From The Open University

Following last week's post about Peer2Peer University, I thought I should also write a bit about the OpenLearn website which gives free access to course materials from The Open University. P2PU is a really interesting project, but there are other sources of quality materials online. Different concept, different mission, but related in an Open Everything way. OpenLearn is a member of the Open Courseware Consortium (OCW)

The LearningSpace is open to learners anywhere in the world and was launched by the Open University back in in October 2006 to provide free access to its educational materials. The publication of such structured learning materials, designed for distance learning, is unique in the field of open educational resources.

What does this Open Education movement make possible?

  • making new knowledge available to all, not just those who can pay for it
  • allowing users to download, modify, translate, and adapt materials
  • providing the opportunity for people to generate a cycle of continuous improvement
  • using technology to remove access barriers to knowledge and educational opportunities around the world.

OpenLearn uses a Moodle-based virtual learning environment to offer 400+ structured media-rich study units, supported by a number of learning and communication tools in the LearningSpace.

There's a Web 2.0 approach to this open and collaborative site - LearningSpace is primarily for learners. It can be complemented by the LabSpace, an area for experimentation, where educational practitioners are encouraged to download, amend and adapt both current and archived course materials.

By the end of the first phase of funding, 30/04/08, OpenLearn was hosting over five thousand hours of core OU materials and additional user generated content in the LabSpace area of the site.

Here are some sample units:

Play, learning and the brain (E500_10)  This unit examines the area of the brain-based learning with a particular focus on the development of the young child's brain and is of particular relevance to those who work with young children. We begin by looking at the structure and functions of the brain, and the impact that sensory deprivation can have on these. We consider the implications of current understandings of brain development for teaching and learning, particularly in an early years setting, and finish by exploring the value of play (particularly outdoor play) in children's learning and the development of their brains. Time: 15 hours Level: Intermediate Topic: Education

Using visualisation in maths teaching (TL_MATHT9) This unit looks at visualisation as it relates to mathematics, focusing upon how it can be used to improve learning. It will also identify ways in which to make more use of visualisation within the classroom.

Business - Planning a project (B713_2)
Gantt charts, critical path analysis, SMART objectives and estimation skills are just some of the topics covered in this unit to help you understand how to plan for a project. You will gain an appreciation of the range of planning techniques available and the situations in which it is appropriate to use them.

There are also accompanying learning objects and tools in each area. For example, there is a business forum.

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