OpenLearn Users: 18% of Learners Declare a Disability and 24% of Learners Have English As Their Second Language

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Improving access | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

A survey conducted by the OER Research Hub project provides evidence for the claim that OER widens access to education for learners outside of the formal education system.  In a survey of OpenLearn (“the home of free learning from The Open University”) users, 18% of respondents described themselves as having a disability, whilst nearly a quarter of respondents did not have English as their first language, with almost half of these learners making use of OpenLearn OER to improve their language skills:

“Closer to home, a survey of users of the Open University’s OpenLearn OER platform offers evidence that OER can increase access to education for informal learners with disabilities (18% of survey respondents, compared with the UK-wide figure of 8% disabled students in higher education), and for learners for whom English is not their first language (24% of respondents, 47% of whom stated that they were using OpenLearn resources to improve their English language skills).”

However, the survey also provided evidence that users are predominantly “well educated” with 46% of users having an undergraduate degree. See: http://chaos.open.ac.uk/evidence/openlearn-users-46-of-learners-have-higher-education-qualifications/

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