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500,000 learners use free content from OpenLearn

According to The Open University (OU), half a million people in 160 countries are now using the free learning materials made available through OpenLearn, The Open University's open content initiative.

The site, which launched in October 2006, makes a selection of study materials freely available on the internet.

New units of study are added each month and the OU says the site already boasts more than 2,500 hours of learning materials in the LearningSpace, and more than 4,500 hours in the more experimental LabSpace.

OpenLearn units cover a range of subjects from arts and history to science and nature. The top ten most popular OpenLearn units to week ending 6 May 2007 were:

  1. Network Security
  2. Modelling object-oriented software - an introduction
  3. Exploring distance time graphs
  4. Diversity and difference in communication
  5. Human resources: recruitment and selection
  6. Design
  7. Spanish: Espacios públicos
  8. Finding information in information technology and computing
  9. The meaning of crime
  10. An introduction to business cultures

Professor David Vincent, The Open University's pro-vice-chancellor (strategy, planning and external affairs), said: "The philosophy of open access and sharing knowledge is proving popular around the globe and this is emphasised by the fact that OpenLearn this week attracted its 500,000th unique visitor.

"We're seeing the formation of communities of learners and educators alike on the site; the materials are being taken, improved and reused and OpenLearn is very much the catalyst for people making new connections through learning."

OpenLearn recently won a platinum award at the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards 2007.

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