• The Open University

This course is part of the Introduction to Social Care ExpertTrack

Introduction to Social Care: What is Social Care?

Develop an understanding of social care and the role it plays in supporting the independence and wellbeing of those needing care.

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 1 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Discover the principles of social care and the challenges it entails

What do we mean when we talk about social care?

On this four-week course from The Open University, you’ll discover what social care is, who social care services are for, who provides them, as well as the challenges to providing good quality social care services.

Delve into the purpose of social care, user needs, and services

You’ll learn about the purpose of social care, the services it provides, how eligibility is determined, and the principles of person-centred practice that shape the sector, including the legal frameworks.

You’ll explore different social care needs and situations from the perspective of people who use social care services, and the barriers some users experience due to discrimination, prejudice, or social exclusion.

Explore social care providers and the challenges they experience

You’ll explore the different kinds of social care providers, from local councils and trusts to the private and voluntary sectors, and learn how services work together. You’ll also explore how social care services are funded, examine some current challenges, and look at the response of disabled activists.

By the end of this course, you’ll have gained a sound overview of social care, including its underpinning principles, services, and providers, how service users are supported, and the influences and issues shaping the sector.

Created by experts in health and social care at The Open University

You’ll learn from experts at The Open University, who have delivered learning for the health and social care sector, working with employers, including the NHS, social services, and the voluntary sector for over 30 years.

What topics will you cover?

  • The purposes of social care and the services provided
  • The underpinning principles of person-centred social care
  • How the specific needs of the diverse range of social care service users are met by social care
  • The diverse range of service providers
  • The current challenges in providing good quality, person-centred care

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the purposes of the social care sector and the services provided
  • Identify the users of social care services and their support needs
  • Describe what shapes social care – its guiding values, and legal, regulatory and financial underpinnings
  • Investigate the context of social care across the four UK nations

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning about social care. You don’t need any prior knowledge of social care to join. It would benefit:

  • Anyone new to social care or those with a basic understanding who want to learn more
  • Those considering working in social care who want to know more
  • Social care service users, informal unpaid carers, or those who want to find out how to support others in our care system

Who will you learn with?

I'm a registered social worker and have worked in social care and social work. At the Open University, I've enjoyed teaching and supporting students from their first steps up to postgraduate level.

Senior Lecturer in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care with research interests focusing on the intersection of practice-based learning and care.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

About this ExpertTrack

Gain an introduction to social care and understanding of paid and unpaid care work in today’s social care sector.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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