image

FutureLearn

FutureLearn Review

By: FutureLearn Limited

Visit Website

Overview

FutureLearn online learning platform provides creative learning through videos, articles and discussions in many subjects, such as languages & cultures, business, science, technology, health, arts & media, teaching, and more. With a rich database of hundreds of free online courses, FutureLearn makes it easier for anyone to learn anything. It also allows learners to meet other learners from the same course and share or discuss their ideas and thoughts.


Detailed Review

Life is a learning process; it is also the most excellent teacher. We gain knowledge either from classroom settings or in the real world. Either way, one has to advance in intelligence to survive. Those days are gone where the age of a person defined their wisdom. The traditional learning system brought about change regarding this viewpoint. But the digital learning system has revolutionized the whole process of gaining knowledge. FutureLearn is also an initiative that modernized the learning process.

Pros

  • FutureLearn provides free courses for their learners which enhances a person’s knowledge.
  • They have over 130 partners which include prestigious universities, and private organizations. We can only expect the best courses from them, and that is why millions of learners are utilizing their service.
  • Their website is well designed and is clutter-free; it provides an ideal environment for online learning.
  • The free courses have eligibility to earn certificates of achievement and statement of participation. It is by either upgrading or purchasing their unlimited plan.

Cons

  • Though their website is a treat to the eye, they lack mobile apps, and mobile browsers cannot work as effectively as apps.
  • Most of the FutureLearn partners are UK institutions; they have a limited number of the US or other countries, colleges/universities.
  • To earn certificates or a degree, one must upgrade the course by paying for it.

Introduction

The education landscape has seen several historical events. It is now being overwhelmed by technology to provide convenience, accessibility, and personalization of the study course.

We used to have traditional classroom settings only, whereby students were taught using textbooks in monotonous lectures conducted by teachers.

Technology and internet reformed this approach and introduced e-learning. Anybody with a desktop/mobile and internet connection can now instantly learn from websites such as Future Learn.

Digital learning is delivered using an LMS (learning management system). The online course developers can create and organize the content of the educational program.

Students can then subscribe and initiate the learning process from the websites. The system can also enable the monitoring of the student’s performance and provide assessments.

FutureLearn is the largest online education provider in the UK, and the owners are The Open University and The SEEK Group. Founded in December 2012, they launched their courses in September 2013.

Its initiation was designed to introduce MOOC (massive open online course) learning platform in England.

They are recognized to be the pioneers to enable students to earn online degrees from the renowned university of UK.

They have partnered with the various UK and international universities as well as private organizations such as professional bodies, institutions, and businesses.

They have 12 founding partners and currently has more than 130 partners, including UNESCO.

Some of the professional bodies such as ACCA and IET and businesses such as Marks & Spencer, BBC, Raspberry Pi are examples of FutureLearn partners.

Over 7 million learners worldwide have learned from their unlimited courses. Most of their short courses are for free; however, one can upgrade and purchase their unlimited version.

Their website layout is simple, with an organized interface that provides a suitable environment for students to select their course and learn from it.

Their content is in the form of text and videos to ensure interactive delivery of the curriculum. They encourage social learning; they have comment and forum section at the end of each module.

FutureLearn aims to improve the accessibility to education, so that is available for everyone in any part of the world.

A modern approach to learning

As mentioned earlier, FutureLearn is one of the first MOOC platforms in the UK. These platforms are accessible online and targeted for a large number of participants for free, but some may involve payment.

They offer courses which are flexible in terms of structure, and the student can access it at their convenience. A student need not have a specific qualification to enroll in such programs.

However, upon completion, the student does not get any physical or recognized certificate/degree. That is how they differ from online college courses.

MOOC platforms get into partnership with colleges and universities; thus, such institutions can provide their certification to the students.

There are xMOOCs and cMOOCs. The former suggested educator providing the learning structure while the latter refers to the learner creating the content of the study.

The majority is xMOOCs, but they are trying to blend up cMOOCS to provide a personal learning experience.

The platforms using MOOCs use LMS software for hosting their digital learning websites. LMS is a beneficial solution for educators to develop, deliver, and manage their educational service.

Its features, such as self-paced asynchronous learning, gives students the freedom to access their learning content anytime and anywhere.

The student-centered approach promotes online interaction via blogs and forums. It further breaks geographical barriers to learning by having an online presence.

Future Learns provides the learners' freedom to learn at their own pace. Self-study is possible for highly motivated students who are good at problem-solving and time management.

Thus, modern technology enables anyone to learn any course they want, via articles, videos, peer-collaboration, and also earn certificates in any field.

Getting started

The backbone of FutureLearn is The Open University. The university has been in existence for 5 decades, and it offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

They offer a wide range of categories such as Business and management, creative and arts, law, literature, history, study skills, teaching, tech and coding, politics and modern world and so on.

A MOOC based platform should be free, accessible by all, have a personalized approach to learning and allow the use of discussion forums and blogs to exchange ideas.

FutureLearn also has all its courses for free, but it is subjected to limitation as the learner doesn’t earn any recognized certification.

Upgrading the courses by paying a fee enables learners to have unlimited access to the content, unlike in free version where they can access the course for an extended period of 14 days only.

The student also takes the tests and earns a certificate of achievement if available. Some courses have a statement of participation.

After upgrading, if the learner completes over 90% of the learning material and scores an average of 70%, then he/she earns the certificate.

If one attempts all the tests and completes 50% of the course, he/she earns the statement of participation. These documents are available for printing and digitally too.

Another option for a student apart from learning for free and upgrading is purchasing their unlimited version.

In the unlimited, the student can access as many courses as he/she wants within a year. They are eligible for earning certificates and can retain the content as long as it exists in the system.

Various institutions have tied up with FutureLearn to deliver learning content. If any organization decides to break the partnership, then its content is also removed from the system.

Almost all the short courses are available in the unlimited except premium courses, degrees, courses that provide a statement of participation and program assessments.

Apart from using the categories to determine which course is suitable for you, one can optimize on FutureLearn’s career advice page. It helps one to figure out which content is ideal for him/her.

Let us now see how this e-learning platform delivers its content.

Delivering the learning content

The homepage is ideally structured to show the courses/programs/degrees that FutureLearn has to offer. The learner also has a page which can monitor his/her activities.

The “your learning” tab hosts the list of all the programs and courses the learner is pursuing. Moreover, it has sections such as wish list, recommendation, and achievements.

Their methodology focuses on shared learning methodology. A learner has to decide the category he/she wishes to study.

The results show all the available courses, program, and degrees available under the chosen category.

FutureLearn delivers its curriculum using courses, programs, and degrees.

Courses

Courses are usually of short duration (4-6 weeks) and for free but some may contain premium modules.

There is a search bar which allows a learner to look for the desired learning topic by choosing the appropriate category, type of course, and the intended time to start the learning.

The introduction of the course is through the indication of course duration in weeks, the number of hours required in a week and also the source (partner’s) name.

Some courses have a scheduled date when they will start, and one can add them to their calendar. The already existing courses are accessible to all learners.

The learners select the course he/she is interested in, and a welcome page appears. We noticed every session had different content in their introductory page.

The page may contain various sections such course overview, topics, outline, tutors name, extra benefits notifications, download material available, the partner's name who created the course, among others.

The to-do part lists out all the course content in terms of the topic name scheduled week-wise.

The learning approach of FutureLearn is flexible as the students can learn at their own pace. However, the learner is expected to meet the requirements by going through the topics listed for a week.

The to-do section outlines the topics that need tackling every week. For subscribers who have upgraded or purchased the unlimited version have access to the content unlimitedly.

The free learners can access the course for as long as it extents plus 14 extra days. Meaning if one joins a 3 weeks course at the beginning, then they have 5 weeks (3+2.)

Anyone joining mid-course shall have the duration and the extra 14 days. Furthermore, to access the course unlimitedly, one has to upgrade their account.

Their lessons are a mixture of articles, videos, tests, assignments, reviews, discussions, and quizzes. They focus on learning together, whereby the learner communicates with his/her fellow students.

The test questions are designed to evaluate one's understanding of the lessons. They provide scores, and three retries are available for each problem, but the test cannot be retaken.

As for the quizzes, they enhance the learning progress. There is no restriction on the retrial of such questions.

Some courses may include peer review assignments along with general multi-choice quizzes. The peer review provides learner to answer questions openly, which can be evaluated by other learners.

The activity portion of their course structure handles the comments. The learners actively discuss the course, pose questions, give tips, answers questions, among other things.

There is an option to bookmark any comment to revisit it in the future. The progress section monitors the students’ performance.

The courses enable one to earn academic credits which can qualify one to pursue a program or a degree. It is so as these short courses are a part of the broader discourses.

Programs

The courses, as discussed earlier, are short and also in-depth. Programs are an enhancement; thus, they have a series of courses.

They are meant to provide a more significant learning experience to the students. Its completion empowers the student to have a better understanding of the learning content.

When a learner joins any programs, they can readily access the next run of the courses. The students have the freedom to take the courses differently without following any course order.

One can join or leave the program at will; there are generally no prerequisites to apply for the programs. Thus, they are flexible and open to all.

They may include exams or tutor-marked assignments for proper assessment of the learner. Generally, all the courses in the program are free of charge.

However, if the learner wishes to earn credits recognized by universities or receive the certificate of achievement, then upgrading becomes necessary.

Thus, to achieve the FutureLearn program award, one needs to upgrade all the courses in the program. Then you need to qualify for their certificate.

The student who has completed over 90% of the course content and scores more than 70% gets a certificate of achievement.

The FutureLearn award is a digital certification, and it enriches the student's CV, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) portfolio, and ensures better job opportunities.

The program’s overview shows the number of courses, details, and pricing. One can either learn for free or upgrade to earn achievement certificates.

The courses within the programs have a similar structure of a to-do, activities, and progress section.  The program index provides the start date and the courses and its content.

The grading of the program depends on the scores of the final assessments for each course. In case the learner fails, then he/she can re-sit for the evaluations that run periodically on Future Learn.

Degrees

FutureLearn offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. They are made up of programs that earn credits.

They have different entry prerequisites, and the learner should meet the minimum language constraint. The degrees in specialist areas may need one to have particular requirements to join them.

The partner university that offers the degrees lay out an overview, degree type, request info., and free taster course.

Academic credits display notional hours of study, and it indicates the time required to achieve the learning outcomes.

It varies country wise, and different universities adopt it in a variety of ways. In the UK, 1 credit is equal to 10 hours of study, so a course with 5 credit means 50 learning hours.

European nations and the USA operate on the different application of credits. However, there is a European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) framework which relates study hours to credits.

The final programs grading will be according to the courses’ final assessments. FutureLearn generally notify students on credit-earning and assessments on the specific program page.

Methodologies used to learn

Almost all the MOOCs have similar features which provide the learners with the golden opportunity to learn. Online learning is different from traditional classroom learning; as such, it calls for unique features.

The e-learning is made possible by following; video, audio, texts, tests, quizzes, links, forums, syllabus, calendar, social learning features, certificates, notes, downloads, peer assessment, among others.

The online content majorly uses videos to convey their learning content. It includes recordings of the tutors, documentaries, interviews/conversation with mentors, or video with questions.

The attempt to improve online learning is possible by introducing engaging courses, open interaction (comments and forums) and a mechanism to test the students understanding (test/quizzes.)

FutureLearn uses a story-telling technique to teach concepts. It is through the videos and texts in the courses.

Distinguished universities/organizations develop the learning content, and the content delivery eases the student’s understanding of the subject.

The visible learning style it adopts enables the student to know where he/she stands in a particular course through the to-do section.

The segment of “my learning” monitors the student’s progress; the learning content a learner has completed successfully.

FutureLearn stresses on getting support from its members. We know the platform is accessed by a massive number of learners, having a network of tutors that large is also not feasible.

That is why they have discussions and forums section. After completing a course, the learner can give his/her input in the comment section.

The social learning is encouraged, and the learners can share links on their social media accounts such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

In some cases, the tutors to get online and in discussion with the participants of a particular course class.

The tests and quizzes provide room for measuring the learner’s understanding of the course. The evaluation is either done automatically (multiple choice questions {MCQ}) or via peer-assessment (other learners assess a student’s work.)

The end of course examination is available in either online format (MCQ or invigilated) or face to face at an examination center.

Conclusion

The online learning revolution has provided many people with the opportunity to learn whatever they want at any time and place.

FutureLearn aims to offer education to everyone so that learners can achieve knowledge and can advance in their career.

They offer a vast collection of categories so that the student learns what fancies his/her taste. Learning something we like is exciting and rewarding.

The self-paced learning method enables one to progress optimally, depending on the learner's effort and dedication.

The assessments and tests provide students with certificates and statements that motivate them to do better each time.

Social learning is encouraged as the learner uses the comment activities to interact with fellow students. One can also share content on social media and enhance participation and discussions.

Thus, learners can put forward their viewpoints, ideas, and opinions. Real-time conversations are possible via chats, discussion forums, group discussions, or social media.

MOOCs are meant to provide free learning content to a vast population; FutureLearn charges its programs and degrees by either upgrading or buying unlimited access.

Free courses without certification may not be helpful in career advancement. The flexible learning technique may cause some students to fall behind in their curriculum.

Everything is online; thus, the learners are misses out on the real-world experience. It may be in terms of connecting with people or equipment like labs and artifacts.

FutureLearn is similar to its name; it provides the modern methodology of learning involving the technology of MOOC.

If you are a learner who needs personal attention and guidance from tutors and adapts well to rigid monitored course structure, then e-learning isn’t suitable for you.

However, for the self-motivated, independent, and hard-working learners, FutureLearn can be recommended as it is one of the finest MOOCs.

Top Features

Features
  • Wide Course Groupings
  • Grouping By Subjects
  • Free Course Listings
  • Upgrade Courses
  • Access To Tests
  • Course Dashboard View
  • Interactive Video Learning
  • Interesting Projects And Quizzes
  • Varied Assignment Opportunity
  • Feedback Mechanism
  • Continuous Course Assignment
  • Certified Degree Programs
  • Gian In-depth Knowledge
  • Expert University Consultation
  • Formal Learning Platform
  • Accomplishment Certificate
  • Comprehensive Learning Transcript
  • Transparent Appraisal
  • Shareable Certificates
  • Flexible Learning Schedule
  • Own Pace Learning
  • Online Assignment Completion
  • Internationally Recognized Degree
  • Global University Partnerships
  • Constructive Lecturer Feedback
  • Online Collaboration.
Resources
  • Learning E-books
  • Expert Tips And Advice
  • FAQs
  • Inspiring Stories

Company Information

Company Name: FutureLearn Limited

Founded In: 2012

Address: 1-11 Hawley Crescent, London, UK

Submit a Review

(Rating)