Open Resilience Award

OpenLearn’s response to the pandemic

The Open University (United Kingdom)

During the Coronavirus pandemic, OpenLearn built on its pioneering experience in distance learning at scale to empower more than 2.7 million people to enroll and learn through free online courses. The platform has also given a further 18 million people access to vital and relevant educational resources and activities to help them develop new skills since the UK first locked down on 23 March 2020. Its 22 dedicated professionals collaborated with their university’s academics, governments, employers and unions across the country to meet the population’s rapidly developing learning and support needs. 

During one of the most unprecedented, challenging and distressing periods of recent human history, the free online learning platform’s inclusive, innovative and responsive work has positively impacted millions of people throughout the UK. It also cemented its parent university’s reputation as a global pioneer in distance learning and showcased its academics’ cutting-edge research, with an audience of 18 million people.

This award is dedicated to a small team with very big hearts and a commitment to open learning who delivered responsive, rapidly-commissioned content at a time when they themselves were compromised by the pandemic: some shielding, some bereaved, caring for parents, children and neighbours. 

Years of embedding open educational practice within OpenLearn governance, strategy, processes and commissioning, enabled this rapid development of much-needed, targeted OER and enabled the team to rapidly meet the needs of government organisations and partner charities.

The team’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic embodies its university’s mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas, and responds to its vision to reach learners globally with life-changing education that meets their needs and enriches society.

About Open Resilience Award

This award honors practices that have found the best ways of overcoming adversity in the face of unprecedented challenges or crises. Activities that clearly demonstrate the implementation of open educational resources or open educational practices to address challenges arising in any crisis.