Internal Responses to Informal Learning Data: Testing a Rapid Commissioning Approach

Patrina Law
The Open University, United Kingdom

Leigh-Anne Perryman
The Open University, United Kingdom


There are several unique aspects to researching the behaviour and motivations of informal learners. Examining informal learning data can allow researchers to respond more quickly, and at a greater scale, than to data gathered through formal institutional research processes. Studies were undertaken in 2013 to analyse and compare the demographics of The Open University’s (OU) informal learners, students and educators who are using OpenLearn ( and/or iTunes U (Law et al., 2013; Perryman et al., 2013; Law et al., 2014). In addition an analysis was made of what content these three categories of learners were using, how they were using it and how they were motivated or otherwise to progress to formal education. The study provided a set of recommendations for the University around informal learning. These were to: Create an entire Badged Open Course (BOC) curriculum targeting access students,Improve the usability of OpenLearn around the user experience of studying an unsupported course, andExtend syndication to reach new audiences.

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