Technology has changed every aspect of our lives, including how we learn. Today, you can enroll yourself in an online course and take it directly from your laptop or mobile!
Remote learning institutions have boomed in recent years, and FutureLearn is just one online learning platform that offers its students access to fully-accredited courses and online degrees.
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, we can guarantee you one thing – education has never been so accessible.
So, what exactly is FutureLearn? How does it compare to other online learning providers, and how does the platform work? We’re here to answer all of these questions and more.
Let’s dig deep Into the FutureLearn Review and know more.
What Is FutureLearn?
FutureLearn is a British online learning platform that has been running since December 2012.
This online training provider has partnered with plenty of well-known colleges and universities (we’ll explore these a little later) to provide its users access to fully accredited courses on a whole range of subjects.
FutureLearn is owned by the Open University, which is one of the UK’s most established digital learning institutions.
The Open University has been offering distance learning programs since 1971, with approximately 2 million students worldwide!
Although it’s a British learning platform, FutureLearn also offers plenty of classes from American universities.
In fact, FutureLearn has almost 200 university partners across the world, giving you unparalleled access to high-quality courses across the globe.
In addition, you can choose to enroll in a range of short courses, as well as gain certificates, micro-credential programs, and even full degrees.
Is FutureLearn Accredited?
FutureLearn is just one online learning platform you can choose from, and like many training providers, you may be wondering – is it accredited?
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that most FutureLearn courses are fully accredited, and depending on the course you study, your certificates will be given to you by accredited colleges and universities.
This is because most of FutureLearn’s courses are offered by these external institutions rather than FutureLearn itself.
Essentially, you can think of FutureLearn as the middleman between you and your institution.
How Does FutureLearn Work?
With FutureLearn, you can learn at your own pace.
This is one of the biggest benefits of studying with a distance learning provider like FutureLearn – you can access your study materials whenever and wherever you are, and you’ll have a huge amount of flexibility with your study schedule.
This makes distance learning providers like FutureLearn so attractive to working adults looking to gain extra qualifications without giving up their jobs.
Although some FutureLearn courses are free, the company makes a profit by charging tuition fees for many of its online courses, degrees, and more.
You can also purchase annual subscriptions (more on this later) or buy learning accessories from their shop to help you with your studies.
Although you won’t be learning in a traditional classroom environment, you’ll still have plenty of support and materials to guide you through your course.
Most FutureLearn courses provide learning materials such as:
- A program of study
Studying with FutureLearn
FutureLearn makes it easy to keep on track with your studies, wherever you are. FutureLearn will divide your module up for you, and each week, you’ll be given a specific set of work to complete.
Once completed, next week’s work will be based on the previous weeks, and you’ll slowly work your way through the module.
FutureLearn makes it easy to study by breaking down your content into manageable steps.
Even if you’ve started class late, these separate learning chunks can help you catch up and get back on track.
Unlike some other learning providers, you’ll also have access to an abundance of learning materials. You won’t have to rely solely on textbook reading or video content to get you through.
Instead, you can choose to read articles, listen to audio clips, and take short quizzes – if you’re familiar with the Open University, you’ll see that the learning structure is quite similar.
Although FutureLearn is a distance learning provider, they make a lot of effort to make your learning experience feel social (if you want it to be).
For example, if you’re listening to audio or watching a video, you’ll have access to a comments section where you can leave a response or ask questions about the content; an instructor will get back to you and help you with your query.
You’ll also be able to interact with other learners on your course through the discussion board or forums in each class.
Bouncing ideas off of other students can be a great way to learn, and it makes you feel far less alone in your learning journey.
Although we’ve briefly touched on the type of courses offered by FutureLearn, let’s dive a little deeper into what they mean.
FutureLearn offers its students plenty of short online courses from universities and organizations. These courses are designed to help students learn new skills (rather than subjects), and they’re completely flexible.
Most short courses run for no longer than four weeks and will only require between 3-5 hours of study a week.
ExpertTracks courses are designed for professionals looking to upskill.
You’ll be able to access plenty of specialist courses; you can subscribe to in-depth courses in specialist areas and work with industry leaders to build your knowledge.
You’ll get a digital certificate to share with your employers, too.
With micro-credential, you can explore qualifications in specialized fields. These courses are accredited, and they’re created by the colleges and universities that partner with FutureLearn.
With micro-credentials, you’ll have to take a formal assessment, and some microcredentials offer credit that can be used towards a degree.
Lastly, we have online degrees. If you don’t want to study at a traditional university, you can take your degree course online, and you’ll find various undergraduate and postgraduate options.
Leading universities create each degree course, and you’ll be able to study flexibly.
What Courses Can You Take with FutureLearn?
FutureLearn offers a whole range of courses – some are free, and others are not.
There would be too many courses to list here, but we’ll give you a brief idea of the sort of material you can access below.
FutureLearn offers courses in the following areas:
- Creative Arts and Media
- Healthcare and Medicine
- Business and Management
- IT and Computer Science
- Politics and Society
- Nature and Environment
- Science, Engineering, and Maths
- Psychology and Mental Health
- Study Skills
When the global pandemic was at its peak, distance learning became increasingly popular. Like other distance learning providers, FutureLearn saw an increase in the number of students enrolling in its courses.
To give you an even greater idea of the variety of courses on offer, let’s take a quick look at some of FutureLearn’s most popular courses from 2020:
- COVID-19: Psychological First Aid: As you’d expect from 2020 learning, students naturally wanted to find out more about COVID-19. This course allows students to learn how emergencies like the pandemic can affect our mental health and how students can support themselves and those they love in times of crisis.
- Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python): Careers in tech are exciting and lucrative, so it’s no surprise that when students head over to a distance learning provider, many of them are looking for tech-based courses. This computer programming skill is in high demand, and this course teaches students how programs work, the core concepts of Python, and how to write a computer program.
- Improving Your Study Techniques: In 2020, one of FutureLearn’s top courses was on how to improve your own study techniques. This is a great course for anyone who’s studying – whether you’re young, old, a student, or a professional, there’s always something to learn. This course can help you nail your revision techniques, create study plans, reduce your stress, and more.
How Much Does FutureLearn Cost?
Although many FutureLearn courses are completely free, there are some you’ll have to pay for. When you decide to take a course with FutureLearn, you’ll find three payment options to choose from. These are:
- Free: As a free student, you can access your course materials and complete your course, but unfortunately, you cannot get certified.
- Upgrade: With the upgraded plan, you’ll be able to receive that all-important recognized certificate at the end of your course, and you’ll also be able to complete any course tests (if applicable).
- Unlimited: With the unlimited option, you’ll have to pay a yearly subscription. However, you’ll get access to every single one of FutureLearn’s short courses and tests, which makes it a great option for learners who want to enroll in a variety of courses and make the most of distance learning.
What is FutureLearn’s Subscription Plan?
Let’s talk about FutureLearn’s subscription plan – FutureLearn Unlimited.
This subscription plan comes with a pretty hefty price tag ($269.99 a year). However, if you’ve considered other distance learning providers, you’ll know that this is actually a pretty modest fee.
One of FutureLearn’s biggest competitors, Coursera Plus, offers a similar subscription model for a significantly higher price ($399), so for learners on a budget, FutureLearn may be a more attractive and affordable option.
However, Coursera has almost ten times the number of courses as FutureLearn, so if you want more variety, it’s worth exploring other competitor options, too.
How Many Courses Does FutureLearn Offer?
At the time of writing, FutureLearn offers its students access to over 1000 courses. Not all of these are free, and many courses can only be accessed through the paid subscription model.
Although you can take a FutureLearn course on almost any subject, topics such as Business and Management and Science, Engineering, and Math seem to be the most popular with its students.
FutureLearn offers over 200 courses on these subjects alone.
Compared to other learning providers, FutureLearn also has a pretty unique set of courses, which is great for professionals struggling to find courses relevant to their fields.
How to Choose Courses with FutureLearn
Thankfully, choosing and enrolling in courses with FutureLearn is pretty simple.
Take a look through FutureLearn’s website, and choose the right course for you.
This will depend on your own criteria – for example, do you want a degree? Are you looking to upskill? Or do you simply want something beneficial to do in your free time?
Once you’ve chosen the right course and read through the detailed course description, you’re ready to enrol.
However, you should remember to consider your skill level, how much time you have to study, and your end goal. If you’re not ready to take a course yet, you can always bookmark it and enroll later.
When you’re ready to enroll, you can choose whether to use the free, upgraded, or unlimited plan. When you’ve chosen the right payment option for you, you’re ready to begin learning!
Remember: your access to certain course materials and certificates may be restricted if you opt for the free plan, so choose your payment option carefully.
Is it Worth It?: Final Verdict, and Final Thoughts
FutureLearn offers students access to some of the best-quality courses out there.
With so many accredited university partners, all FutureLearn courses are made by leading universities, so you know you’re getting access to quality education.
Let’s also not forget that you can gain quality credentials (some credits can be transferred to degrees, too), and you can also access free courses and communicate with other students and teachers while you’re learning.
FutureLearn, despite being remote, has a strong community which is great for distance learners.
However, compared to other competitors, FutureLearn has a pretty limited course catalog, and many courses are very industry-specific. We’d recommend checking out other learning providers before making a decision.
There’s also a pretty high cost for the unlimited plan, which may deter some learners. This is something to mull over.
FutureLearn comes with its own pros and cons. However, we’d recommend it to anyone looking for accredited courses made by professionals.
If you want a flexible learning experience that feeds off community spirit, this is also a great option!