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:

  1. Free:
    1. Access to all the courses for the duration of the course + 14 days.
  2. 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
  3. 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

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

10 thoughts on “Review of www.futurelearn.com – Is It Worth It?”

  1. Wow thanks for this amazing review!

    Future learn sounds like a great idea and I can definitely see education moving in this direction. As a teacher, I think there is still not enough flexibility in what people learn so having the options to take short courses is a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I love the great opportunity we all have today to learn anything from home, I see the positives for anyone who wants to get a degree or just to learn a new skill online.

    I didn’t know about this platform so I thank you for writing this article so people like me who are currently looking for a learning platform to sign up

    I see it has a yearly cost, but it doesn’t look to much compare to other learning platforms, I currently using Domestika platform and it has a cost of 50 dollars yearly plus a fee for every course I sign up, from this point Futurelearn platform has a good yearly cost.

    Can I sign up for free to take a look to what courses they have?

    • Yes you can certainly sign up for free and you can even take a few free courses. Once you decide to take the tests and get a certificate, that’s the point when you would need to pay the low yearly fee.

  3. I have just read your review of these online courses to achieve a qualification but what is the point of paying for a short course when it’s likely most of the material you will need to study to qualify for this can be found on goggle or wikipedia, also are the certifications by a certain governing body to be authenticated.

    Do you know who verifies the topic you would be studying to be legitimate and without discrepancies? 

    • Yes Dave, one of the key founders of FutureLearn is the Open University in the UK which is among the top 15 universities in the UK. It is also recognized by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the US.

      The courses themselves are from major universities and colleges which are all accredited and recognized in their respective countries such as UK, US, European or Asian countries and so on.

      Many of the courses carry professional accreditation as well which are recognized in their respective industries.

      Also, the platform itself is very learner-friendly and community-oriented and so students learn a lot more by interacting with others, in addition to completing the courses themselves.

  4. Great post about FutureLearn! I never tought that learning online with great accreditation would cost so low. Do you know if there’s any Canadian partners? If yes, I will definetely give it a try. I always looked to have more knowledge in electronics but real school takes too much time if you work. Online course is the best way to speedup everything. Al

    • Thanks Alvaro! There are many Australian, British and European colleges and universities on FutureLearn. There will certainly be some Canadian institutions as well. The complete list of their partners is at https://www.futurelearn.com/partners, perhaps you can identify some colleges that you would like to take your courses with. They are all well known, reputed institutions of higher education.

  5. Hello!

    The FutureLearn online course is really great, by uniting so many students from across all the world. And the engagement factor (questions, comments, helping each other) matters very much, it’s practically helping them understand the courses. Some prices may not be that affordable, it is true!

    Overall, FutureLearn looks like a high-quality learning opportunity.

    Best regards, Peter

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