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New Year, Open Mind: New data reveals Brits spent over 4.8 million minutes learning last January

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If you haven’t set your New Year’s resolutions yet and are looking for more inspiration, The Open University’s free learning resource website OpenLearn has released its top ten list of courses to inspire those keen to expand their knowledge in 2024.

Top courses include ‘Understanding autism’, ‘Understanding ADHD’ and ‘MoneySavingExpert’s Academy of Money’, highlighting current concerns around the rising cost of living and an openness to better understand neurodiversity.

January is one of the busiest months for the learning platform, with 2023 stats showing users collectively invested 4,822,751 minutes—an equivalent of 80,379 hours or 3,349 days or just over nine years of non-stop learning in just one month.

The list of the top ten most popular free courses on OpenLearn for 2023 are:

  1. Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting
  2. Understanding autism
  3. Everyday English
  4. Understanding ADHD
  5. MoneySavingExpert’s Academy of Money
  6. Effective communication in the workplace
  7. Getting started with German
  8. Forensic psychology
  9. The science of nutrition and healthy eating
  10. Getting started on classical Latin

Interestingly, one of the most visited ‘new courses’ that didn’t make the list was Agatha Christie and the golden age of detective fiction, highlighting the Brits’ love for crime stories and detective fiction.

Patrina Law, Head of OpenLearn, said:

“In an ever-evolving educational landscape, bite-size learning has adapted to the fast-paced nature of modern life, allowing learners to fit studies around busy schedules. January is a time when many people set new objectives and targets or look for help with their New Year’s resolutions, and so the flexible solutions available on OpenLearn offer a vast range of subjects to support diverse learning needs.

“Digital courses are gaining popularity as a means for learners to showcase their skills and knowledge and aid them on their journeys toward career progression. But OpenLearn courses can often also inspire and guide learners toward more formal education.

“OpenLearn is proud to be able to support millions of people every year, and no matter what your January objectives, or your aims for 2024, you’ll find something to support you on the platform.”

Since its launch in 2006, OpenLearn has become a beacon for self-directed learners, welcoming a staggering 111 million visits, with many people achieving badged courses that they can include on their CVs.

Martyn, 34, has completed his OpenLearn courses with flying colours, reigniting his passion for learning and leading him to set his sights on achieving a BA (Honours) in Arts and Humanities at The Open University.

Commenting on his experience, Martyn said:

OpenLearn made me realise that I love learning when it’s a subject that interests me.

“I had a lot going on in my mind, so I called and spoke to one of the OU advisors about my degree options. They were absolutely brilliant, taking the time to hear about my interests and discuss potential career paths with me. That advice helped me decide which degree to aim for.”

Before Martyn got back into learning, he was at a crossroads in life, but his courses and degree opened the door to an exciting career and a new chapter for him overseas.

For those interested in learning more about undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) OU courses, visit The final enrolment date for UG and PG courses starting in February 2024 is 11 January 2o24.

To find more free OpenLearn courses visit here.

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