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How OpenLearn startedThe OpenLearn story started in 2005 with a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Sharing our aim to open access to education for all, they agreed to help us set up the OpenLearn website.Since 1969, The Open University has been a pioneer in making learning materials freely available through its successful partnership with the BBC. Many of our television and radio programmes are already supported by free internet activities and print materials. We wanted to use our knowledge of the latest technologies in education to extend our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. The vision was free online education.Website development began in May 2006 and the site was launched in October 2006, with an aim to regularly add new content and features. OpenLearn now offers a full range of Open University subject areas from access to postgraduate level and has seen over 3 million visitors since launch. In April 2008 OpenLearn reached its target to have 5,400 learning hours of content in the LearningSpace and 8100 hours in the LabSpace. It continues to grow representing The Open University's commitment to opening access to education.What does The Open University bring to the open content field?The scale and the experience of The Open University are the two significant factors in the development of OpenLearn. * Unrivalled reputation in distance learning: our expertise lies in creating and using learning materials designed to be studied flexibly by people who have a range of needs and experience. * A vast quantity of high quality learning materials: we specialise in content and support designed for distance and elearning; this includes self-assessment tools, collaboration forums and a personalised learner experience. * Recognised communication and support tools: OpenLearn uses a number of learning support and social networking tools to replicate the different informal modes of communication and learning that happen on a traditional campus. Developed by our Knowledge Media Institute, these tools facilitate the creation and support of elearning communities, while allowing us to investigate and evaluate their use in the open content environment. * Robust systems: we have a highly regarded record of developing the technological and pedagogical systems required to provide a meaningful learning experience.
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