How OLI Helps Students

Empowering Students

The Open Learning Initiative’s goal is to improve learning—whether you are a student at a college or university or learning on your own. Our courses provide you with targeted feedback and self-assessment tools so you’ll know where you’re excelling and where you need more work.

Key Benefits of OLI Courses

Put new concepts into practice.

Our courses are designed with learning activities dispersed throughout the content. After a new idea or concept is introduced, you will have opportunities to apply what you have read, receive immediate feedback, and test your understanding.

You can read more about how OLI courses are designed and what types of activities they include on our Course Features page.

Recognize your strengths and weaknesses.

The activities and self-assessments, in combination with clear learning objectives, can increase your awareness of your learning progress. Once you are aware of which concepts or skills you have mastered and which you have not, you can adjust your study plan. You may want to do additional exercises or ask someone (such as an instructor or tutor) for more explanation.

Search and review topics with ease.

When reviewing a topic or preparing for an exam, you can use our search feature (which covers the entire course) to find a specific topic or you can browse the course syllabus to get an overview of the course and to see what practice activities are available for each topic.


Academic Students & Independent Learners

Academic students are those who are taking a class with an instructor (typically for credit at a college or university) and independent learners are those who are using an OLI course on their own. Both academic students and independent learners have access to OLI course materials, including activities and self-assessments.

Many of our courses are free to everyone, but some charge a small fee to academic students, which contributes to on-going improvement of the course. Course fees are generally much lower than a traditional textbook.

Our courses do not offer any credit or certificate. There is also no instructor to speak with, but if you run into a technical problem you can always email OLI Support.