Price: varies from free courses to thousand dollar programs
Rank: 95/100 – the programs are top notch, great way to get caught up to speed while also receiving accreditation towards a university degree
INTRODUCTION – WHAT IS FUTURELEARN?
FutureLearn has attracted over 4,019,754 students since the site launched in 2013. If you haven’t heard about FutureLearn – it offers a diverse range of courses and programs from the best universities. The site is quite different and unique from the typical provider of MOOCs – massive open online courses.
It’s special in the sense that the online courses are designed using principles of effective learning – leveraging the power of storytelling, discussion, and visible learning. What this means for you is you won’t have to learn by subjecting yourself to boring lecture after boring lecture. Instead, you’ll be presented with unique and cool ways to learn – through audio, video, and good old discussion.
What’s also unique about FutureLearn is they have set out to create one of the best social learning experiences for students, regardless of where they are located. This is quite cool, considering although you’ll be taking the course online, the social interaction of the service will have you feeling a part of a strong and supportive community of like-minded individuals.
The courses offered on the site are free, but the programs will cost you a pretty penny. The programs are top notch and consist of an in-depth analysis of the subject matter. What’s more is the majority of the programs will allow you to receive accreditation for your university requirements.
The question of whether the courses and programs are worth pursuing depends on your preferences and needs. Let’s dive a little deeper into the service to give you a better sense of what all the hype is about.
WHAT TYPES OF CLASSES CAN BE TAKEN AT FUTURELEARN?
The courses and programs at FutureLearn are quite broad and diverse – ranging from languages to management, and everything in between. The courses vary in length with most courses lasting six to ten weeks (if you’re looking for shorter courses to reignite your memory or simply to get caught up to speed quick and fast – you can find courses lasting two to three weeks as well).
Here are some of the main areas of focus within the FutureLearn platform:
As you can see from the screenshot below, FutureLearn also offers a bunch of unique and interesting courses that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.
If you desire to get a comprehensive education, you can also check out FutureLearn’s long list of programs. The programs, unlike the courses, enable you to master a subject in greater depth, and they’re specifically designed for individuals desiring to further their career opportunities. Considering the programs can be used to fulfill and earn academic credit at certain institutions, the programs are very in-depth resources – great for those who desire a deeper understanding of the respective material.
Some of the most popular programs offered by FutureLearn are listed below:
Big Data Analytics – Learn the tools and tricks to collecting, analyzing, and measuring big data
Business & Finance Fundamentals – Learn the basics of business and finance while earning 30 credits towards a Business Management BA
Business Fundamentals – Strengthen your communication, networking, and project management skills
Environmental Challenges – Deepen your understanding of the connection between society and the natural world
Finance Fundamentals – Need to brush up on your financial planning, budgeting, or investment skills? This beginner program has you covered
Genomics in Healthcare – Increase your knowledge of genomic technologies
Good Brain/Bad Brain – Deepen your understanding of the human brain
Management & Leadership – Learn the tools and tricks to a career of leadership
Online Business Success – Learn everything you need to launch, market, and run your online empire
Social Enterprise – Learn the inner workings of a sustainable social enterprise
WHAT ARE THE CLASSES LIKE/HOW DOES IT WORK?
If you’re expecting long video lectures and tedious assignments – you can rest assured knowing that’s not how FutureLearn educates its students. In fact, the style of learning at FutureLearn is quite different from what you’re probably used to – each course utilizes the principle of effective learning, meaning you are given a complete learning experience. What this means in layman terms is different people learn through different learning styles – each class therefore leverages the use of various forms of media such as high-quality videos and articles to teach the respective area of study.
What’s even better is you can check out the structure and format of a class, before deciding to enroll.
Each program and course gives you an in-depth description of what you will be learning, alongside the various courses inside the program and the time allocated to each. This is a great feature, considering it allows you to see what you’re getting yourself into before you decide to commit.
Below is example of an in-depth description for the Online Business Success program:
From the courses list, you can click on each and get a better understanding of what the course entails. What’s more is you can also check out who will be teaching the course (I recommend reading up on the teacher’s biography – this will allow you to see whether or not the course is worth taking) while also finding out what skill level is needed for the respective course.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I ENROLL IN A COURSE?
Considering the site includes courses from a broad range of disciplines – you are bound to find something matching your unique interests and preferences. Once you find a course of interest, simply join the course (keep in mind courses and programs differ with respect to price, more on that later).
After you’ve enrolled in a course of your choosing – introduce yourself to your fellow students by dropping a sentence or two telling others a little about yourself.
Shortly before the start date of the course, you can expect to receive an e-mail with directions for the course. It’s very easy and straightforward to follow. Once the course begins, you can log in and view your weekly to do list.
The list will be composed of videos to watch, audios to listen to, and articles to read.
After most videos, audio’s, and articles – you can expect a brief quiz. The quiz does not count towards your grade, it’s just for practice. You have an unlimited number of attempts at acing the quiz.
Unlike the quizzes, however, at certain key moments in the course you can expect to be tested. The tests work in the same manner as the quizzes – one key difference being you only have three chances to get the question right. If you get the question right on the first attempt, you get three points, two points if you get it correct on the second attempt, and one point for the last attempt. The scores will be compiled and count towards your overall mark. Alongside tests, you’ll also have the chance to engage in various assignments (depending on the course).
Keep in mind that the online courses are very similar to real life courses, minus the long and dull lectures. Instead of those lectures, you’ll have the chance for greater engagement through FutureLearn’s interactive learning environment.
The courses on FutureLearn are free – meaning you can study your heart out without paying a dime. If you seek certification or credits towards a university – you can check out the long list of programs offered. These programs will cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a grand.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF TAKING A COURSE AT FUTURE LEARN? IS IT REALLY WORTH ANYTHING?
There’s a number of reasons why FutureLearn is a safe bet…
- It can boost your chances for employment – Unlike other MOOCs, FutureLearn allows you take certain courses towards your degree. If you’re a college student or simply looking for extra education to increase your value in the competitive job marketplace – FutureLearn can be a great resource for you to check out. Considering the programs are valued and regarded with the same reputation as certain university level courses – you can rest assured knowing you’re receiving the best in education. What’s more is that employers are also more likely to view your certificates favorably, considering they are backed and connected with various university organizations.
- It can help pad your resume – If you’re experiencing difficulty landing a job or you merely need a way to explain the time lapse in between jobs – picking up an extra course on FutureLearn and earning a Certificate of Achievement can be a great way to strengthen your resume.
- It makes learning more enjoyable – With other MOOCs you are forced to go through the course either at your own schedule or by your lonesome – this can prove to be challenging, considering it’s tougher to keep up and stay on track. With FutureLearn you don’t have this issue. Instead, the social learning aspect of the website makes learning much more enjoyable – meaning you’re more likely to stick around long enough to actually complete the course or program.
WHO’S IT FOR?
The service is designed for anyone over the age of 13.
Keep in mind, however, that there are no formal qualifications needed to take courses – meaning some courses may actually be too advanced for beginners.
You want to obviously exercise your own discretion when it comes to picking and choosing the courses and programs you want to enroll in. Most of the classes will inform you of what the program entails, allowing you the ability to make a better decision regarding whether or not the class is a right fit for you.
Below is a collection of reviews from past and present FutureLearn students:
CONCLUSION – ARE THEIR COURSES LEGIT?
For those looking to increase their value or simply further their college education – FutureLearn is a great resource for you to check out. It’s one of the best up and coming MOOCs – one that you cannot afford to overlook.
I highly recommend checking out the website – you can start by simply browsing through the in-depth list of free courses offered. I’m sure you’ll find something to get excited about.
While many courses and programs may not be of particular interest to you – the diverse nature of the website ensures you’re bound to find something peaking your interest. What’s more is the courses and programs are high-quality resources that can strengthen your value in the marketplace.
The courses are taught by accomplished people from a variety of different fields.
What’s even better is the fun and interactive nature of the site actually makes the art of learning a lot more enjoyable.
Other MOOCs to check out:
If you have any personal experiences with FutureLearn (or any similar MOOC type courses) feel free to share it down below.