The Open University Higher Education Tech Innovation

Open Learning: Bridge to Success offers a free and approachable adult educational experience to all.

The Innovation: Open Learning: Bridge to Success (OL:B2S)

Higher education can be intimidating to someone who has little previous experience or few academic qualifications. The Open Learning: Bridge to Success’s free, approachable online introductory subject matter enables adults, regardless of background, to explore the educational experience. The program uses open educational resources (OER) to produce “bridging” mathematics and learning-to-learn content so students can close gaps in their abilities and move into college-level courses. The OER emphasize interactivity, motivation, and confidence, and can be delivered as a course, made available in open computer labs, incorporated into student success initiatives (such as first-year experience programs), or promoted as a resource to adults who are considering returning to college. The free content eliminates financial barriers, opening the educational experience to all. For example, charities use OL:B2S materials to enable some of the most disadvantaged in society to return to an education or workforce path.

Results Achieved: The bridging approach has been shown to increase learner capability and confidence as well as encourage participation. Indeed, SRI, the project evaluator, reported that OL:B2S courses had significant positive effects, meaning the courses exhibited better outcomes than conventional versions of the same courses. The project collected data on 460 pilot program student participants; just over three-quarters (76%) completed all the pilot course requirements and yielded the following results:

Long term Goal: To offer free OER that prepares adults to transition successfully and confidently to a college environment, to pursue advanced qualifications, or to be successful in their chosen careers.

Overview Presentation
Bridge to Success: Why Open Educational Resources Matter
Faculty, students & administrators describe their experiences
Bridge to Success presented at OpenEd 2013
Open Learning: Bridge to Success Presentation

The Grant Project:

The Open University received its grant from NGLC in April 2011.

NGLC enabled the OL:B2S team to create and pilot two bridging courses—Learning to Learn and Succeed with Math—as OER.

Since the program, the Open University internationalized the two courses. U.S. partners continue to sustain and promote OL:B2S content integration into academic, student services, vocational, and career programs. The program team now conducts follow-up research on the Bridge to Success courses, their use, and their impact as part of the OER Research Hub project.


  • Anne Arundel Community College
  • University of Maryland University College
  • Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, MIT