Free learning

Dip your toe into studying languages and culture with our free courses

If you’re not quite ready to commit to formal study yet the OU’s home of free learning – OpenLearn – offers a wide range of courses and resources open to everyone and all for free.

Written by leading academics from the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, our free courses are offered at all levels from beginners to advanced and are designed to give you a taste of what studying with the OU is like. We also offer a wide range of free resources to enrich your learning including articles, television programmes, interactive activities, and podcasts.

Our language courses include Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish as well as a beginners course in Welsh and an introduction to Gaelic language and culture.

Not only can you learn how to speak the language of your choice, but you can also delve deeper into the cultures where it is spoken and fully absorb yourself in the fascinating histories and customs, for example:

  • Beginners’ Tamil – learn the Tamil alphabet, how to count to ten and be able to greet a person in Tamil, and to say simple phrases related to numbers, musical instruments and fruits.
  • Chinese business culture essentials - take your first steps towards developing your international career prospects or working with colleagues from China.
  • The history of Spanish in about six minutes - find out about the fascinating history of Spanish, its speakers, and how it has evolved from its origins into becoming a global language widely spoken across the world – all in about six minutes!

Find out more about our free language study courses and resources on OpenLearn.