The concept of open learning focuses on increasing access to learning opportunities. Quality self-directed learning materials and self-evaluation tools for certain courses and programmes will be made available on the National Open Learning System website as from 2019. Students who have an internet connection and computer, tablet or smartphone will be able to access these learning materials free of charge. In some cases, if a learner does not have regular access to such devices, and they can get to a learning support centre, library, satellite campus or community centre with internet connectivity, they will be able to download and print off materials, and pay only for the printing. Open learning reduces barriers to entry through, for example, providing quality no-cost or very low-cost courses and learning materials, and through the offering of courses, where possible, without admission requirements. Students will be able to undertake self-evaluations and earn achievement badges. Achievement badges do not "add up" to national qualifications. If or when students need a formal assessment, they will need to undertake this at a registered institution such as a college or university. There is usually a cost involved in undertaking such a formal assessment. Open learning therefore helps a student to build up skills which may be applied to seeking self-employment, employment, or for supporting an application to study further at a registered institution. An accumulation of achievement badges may be accepted at such institutions under a recognition of prior learning (RPL) arrangement, or through credit accumulation and transfer. Open Learning can also assist those learners who are looking for additional study options to study. For instance, some learners may choose to take a "gap year" during which Open Learning can provide the option to study skills courses online. Open Learning likewise provides an alternative to lifelong learners who are able to take up online learning opportunities. It will be possible to self-register for individual modules online and study these independently. Once the National Open Learning System (NOLS) is operational in 2019, online learners will be able to undertake online self-assessments and receive achievement badges for the successful completion of courses. NOLS will support the process of connecting learners to registered institutions, colleges and universities, enabling them to migrate to formal assessments, and to continue their studies where possible in the formal system. Open learning students who need guidance on career options should visit the National Career Development Service and the National Career Advice Portal. The National Open Learning System site will be launched in 2019! Join the Open Learning Forum Now!