Review of www.futurelearn.com – Is It Worth It?


There are many MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) out there. Some notable ones include Coursera, Edx, Udemy and Udacity. But there is another MOOC provider which features many courses and certifications from leading European universities, namely FutureLearn.

FutureLearn began in the year 2012 and started their first courses in Sept 2013. This private company is a joint venture of The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. FutureLearn has also partnered with many leading universities and institutions of learning from across the world.

Course Options

There are 3 learning modes:

Free

    1. Access to all the courses for the duration of the course + 14 days.

Upgrade

    1. Access to the course as long as it exists on the site
    2. Access to the tests
    3. Certificate of Achievement upon completing course and earning 70% or more on the tests

Unlimited

    1. This is a yearly membership that gives access to all the short courses and tests for a year
    2. Certificate of Achievement upon completing course and earning 70% or more on the tests
    3. Ability to keep the content of courses which you’ve earned the certificate for
    4. Option to complete the short courses flexibly at anytime within one year

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Quality of Courses

FutureLearn’s partner institutions include many leading institutions such as The University of California – Irvine, Durham University, John Hopkins University, The University of Newcastle – Australia and The Shanghai International Studies University and The Open University.

Weekly task lists are provided for each course along with videos, articles and short quizzes. Students have the option to ask questions on every video or article, engage with others in discussions for a list of people whom they wish to follow, complete assignments and tests. All of this makes for an effective and fun-filled learning experience.

Students can choose one or more of the following learning modules:

Short courses

These are certificate courses for a duration of few weeks.

Micro-credentials

These are complete programs of several months that carry a similar importance as having an industry certification.

Online degrees

These are online bachelors or master’s degrees from one of the universities

Pricing

I’ve reviewed the pricing of all the following:

Short courses

The courses are free to take. But to participate in the tests and to receive a Certificate of Achievement, there is a fee of about $69 per course. This may vary from time to time.

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Yearly Access to Short Courses

Among all the MOOC’s, the yearly subscription price for all the short courses and tests and certificates upon eligibility is highly reduced at US $249. This is another huge plus point of FutureLearn’s courses.

Micro-credentials

The micro-credentials cost between US $900+ to $2000 and varies depending on the individual microcredential courses.Try enjoyable, flexible healthcare CPD courses from FutureLearn. Join today.

Online degrees

The price of the online degrees are generally lesser for the students from that country than for the other international students. For example: for the BA in International Business from Coventry University in the UK, the tuition fee for the complete degree costs £9,250 for UK/EU students and for international students it costs £13,250.

Community

There is a huge community with millions of students on the FutureLearn social learning platform. Apart from the tutors, the students in the community build their reputations over time and mentor other students via comments, posts and replies. This makes for a powerful community-driven learning on a massive scale!

Teaching Quality and Learning Platform

The courses are provided as complete learning experiences via storytelling, with simple tips, challenges and quizzes to test your learning along the way! There are discussion forums that run alongside the course learning so students can interact with the tutors and other students to further enhance their learning.

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Tutors are encouraged to view the learning experience from the point-of-view of the students and to provide details such as what comes next, showing next week’s activities, keeping record of things student has already completed and so on. Student profile pages also keep a record of all of the student’s progress and activities within the FutureLearn platform.

Snapshot of FutureLearn

Summary

FutureLearn is a next-generation learning platform that enables skills building, academic and professional learning experiences for students across various domains, college majors and industries.

Price

  • US $249 for unlimited short courses and certificates for one year
  • About US $900 – $2000 per microcredential program
  • Approximately US $12,000 – US $20,000 but can vary depending upon the college and where it is based

Pros

  • Short courses are free to take without the certificate option
  • Unlimited Short courses are highly inexpensive compared to any other popular MOOC platforms
  • Enhanced and highly interactive learning experience
  • Quality credentials from leading institutions of higher education
  • Accredited courses can be credit-transferred to a US college via foreign credential evaluation, other non-accredited courses can be evaluated for US equivalent credits via portfolio assessment

Cons

  • There are not many US college partners, most partner institutions are from the UK, Europe or a few from Asia
  • The cost of the degree programs is reasonable but is not highly affordable
  • The single short courses at US $69 for the certificate are somewhat expensive
  • Some partner institutions are yet to release their courses on the platform. Therefore, there are many courses but the course options are not presently limitless. This is still a work-in-progress.

Overall Conclusion

What I like the best about FutureLearn is how affordable the Unlimited short courses yearly cost is! There are certainly a huge number of college-level courses so for someone looking to complete their US degree, this would be a great buy. There are also a wide range of online degrees to choose from and though they are not exactly inexpensive, the price would still be within the reach of many people.

For the degree programs, many of the colleges provide the option for students to pay per module as they take them. So the entire cost for the degree need not be paid upfront.

Looking at the wide array of courses they offer and the fact that taking the short courses is absolutely free without the certificate, it is definitely worth trying out one of the courses for yourself.

 

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