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2022 FutureLearn Review: A Reliable Learning Partner

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Ease of use: 9.5/10
Variety of courses: 10/10
Available platforms: 8/10
Content quality: 9/10
Value for money: 8/10

Price: £10

Updated: September, 29, 2022

Pros

  • Partners with numerous universities
  • Accredited FutureLearn certificates
  • 1400+ courses
  • Seven million learners worldwide
  • Free courses available
  • 7 day free trial
  • Cons

  • Pricing may be a bit steep
  • No Android or iOS app
  • Customer support could be better
  • FutureLearn is a British digital learning platform, founded in 2012 and owned by ​the UK’s Open University.

    It provides online courses on a variety of topics and hosts tutorials from some of the leading universities and brands across the world. 

    Want to find out more about this MOOC platform?

    Read our FutureLearn review to discover the good and the bad and learn what this organisation can do for you.

    What is FutureLearn Good For?

    FutureLearn delivers fully-accredited online courses, programs and degrees for learners of all levels and backgrounds. 

    The platform partners with some of the top international universities and renowned specialist organisations to make high-quality education easily accessible to everyone.  

    Some of FutureLearn’s partners include:

    Who is FutureLearn for?

    As the platform covers a wide range of topics and areas of expertise, it is suitable for both students and professionals. More specifically, FutureLearn’s user base of seven million learners worldwide is made up of:

    • Individuals who need professional credentials to advance in their careers 
    • Learners who want to acquire new skills in a specialist area
    • Students who want to pursue a degree while learning remotely 
    • Anyone interested in mastering a new skill on their own time 

    Content Quality

    FutureLearn hosts courses from some of the best academic institutions in the world, as well as developing its own tutorials and workshops on a wide range of subjects. 

    What topics does it cover?

    You can choose from FutureLearn online courses in the following categories: 

    How are courses organised?

    As with most online educational platforms, courses centre around bite-sized video classes, combined with interactive quizzes, tests, exercises and peer-reviewed assignments to test learners’ understanding and help them build skills along the way. 

    Who teaches the courses?

    FutureLearn tutorials are presented by leading experts in their respective areas. Unlike platforms where anyone can create and manage courses, FutureLearn carefully selects its tutors from its partner organisations, thus ensuring course content of the highest quality. 

    How long does a Futurelearn course last? 

    The duration of courses depends on the program you opt for. For instance, short courses run from two to four weeks, while ExpertTracks and Microcredentials can last from 8 to 22 weeks

    Although it sounds daunting, courses are easy to follow as they are built on a principle of gradual acquisition of skills. Plus, they are much shorter than programs offered by edX that can run up to 9 months.

    When do courses start?

    Most of FutureLearn courses are 100% online allowing you to take the tutorial whenever you can. 

    However, there are plenty of programs that have set start dates. These are available from midnight on Mondays (00:00 UTC) on the day shown on the course page. Once a course has started, you can access content at any time that suits you, so you can still learn at your pace. 

    This is a more flexible option than what similar platforms offer and much closer to the style of Linkedin Learning and Udemy which provide a self-paced learning experience

    Features

    What makes FutureLearn stand out from the competition? 

    Let’s go over the specific features of the platform.

    Ease of use

    Finding a tutorial on FutureLearn shouldn’t be an issue. Courses are divided according to program type, subject and start date, so you can easily find the right product for your needs

    Should you still feel overwhelmed by the large selection of topics, FutureLearn can send you personalised recommendations on the perfect class for you based on your goals and interest. 

    That said, the interface can still feel a bit clunky and too busy at times especially when compared to its competitors that provide a much cleaner and smoother navigation through the site. 

    Platform compatibility 

    There is no FutureLearn app at the moment, but the site is optimised for mobile, so you should be able to learn on the go and at home. This is not a deal-breaker, although it’s an area where the platform should improve considering that many similar sites offer access through mobile and TV apps. 

    Even without the app, you can always download course videos on your device and watch them whenever you get the chance. In addition to video classes, audio files and transcripts are also downloadable, allowing for a seamless learning experience.

    Certificates 

    FutureLearn offers fully accredited and officially recognised certificates for its courses.

    However, to earn a certificate you must enrol in a ExpertTrack or Sponsored course or get the Unlimited subscription. Even then you need to complete a minimum of 90% of course steps, attempt to answer all tests and get at least a 70% score on assessments (if the course has them). 

    This ensures that the certificate bears more value, unlike certifications from other providers that are awarded just for watching the on-demand video classes. 

    Tracking progress 

    One of the more unique features of FutureLearn is the so-called visible learning approach which keeps records of all your activities on the platform. There is an option to mark steps as complete and check your progress, giving you actionable feedback you can use as you go through the course. 

    FutureLearn community

    Most eLearning providers allow learners to share their experiences with the tutorial under the course description. FutureLearn goes one step further and integrates discussion forums on the course page so each user can see specific comments and react to them. 

    You can also follow other learners on the platform or provide helpful advice yourself, thus making your own contribution to the FutureLearn community.

    FutureLearn Prices

    Depending on the course or program you pick, FutureLearn fees range from completely free courses to an annual subscription of almost £200. 

    Broken down into learning programs, this is what FutureLearn prices look like:

    • Short courses are free tutorials only available for a limited time. If you want full access and a certificate, you would need to purchase an Upgrade that can cost anywhere from £16 to £54
    • Premium courses are crafted for professionals who want to learn in smaller groups of individuals with similar career aspirations. These tutorials are paid upfront and can cost as low as £10 or go up to £60 and over. 
    • ExpertTracks are specifically designed to get learners ready for the job market by focusing on career-related skills. Not all courses in the programs come with a certificate, though, which is something to consider before you get started. Coursera, on the other hand, offers a similar product that comes with more benefits. ExpertTracks are available for a free 7-day trial, after which they cost £36 a month
    • Microcredentials are accredited graduate or postgraduate-level courses that can be used as credit and set you on your way to a full university degree. Alternatively, the accredited certification can be used to upgrade your skills and help you change or start careers in some of the most popular industries. Microcredentials fees start from £400 and upwards.
    • Online degrees are accredited by the institution hosting the course. This program comes with full access to university libraries and online resources, as well as feedback from expert educators. Prices vary and are usually set by the organisation providing the course. 

    What is FutureLearn Unlimited?

    However, for those who want to take more courses on the platform, FutureLearn Unlimited is the most cost-effective option. Coming to £199.99 a year, it offers access to all stand-alone short courses and digital certificates. 

    Bear in mind that premium courses, Microcredentials, degrees and ExpertTracks are not included in the subscription. Coursera Plus, for instance, gives you true unlimited access to all courses as does MasterClass Premium, although these cost £44 and £19 a month, respectively, while FutureLearn’s membership comes to about £17 monthly

    Is FutureLearn Any Good?

    This is an excellent online platform that helps you gain knowledge and skills through hundreds of FutureLearn free courses, dozens of ExpertTracks and online degrees. 

    FutureLearn is far from unique, though, as it uses the same model as edX and Coursera, which is not necessarily a disadvantage—all three providers have millions of satisfied clients. One of the actual disadvantages of FutureLearn is the complicated pricing, which many users say lacks transparency. Fees are quite steep, too, especially when compared to other academic-style providers that are 100% free

    However, at the end of the day, it’s all about course selection and quality, two categories in which FutureLearn excels, so choosing this site as your online learning partner is money well spent. 

    FAQ

    Do you get certificates from FutureLearn?

    Yes, FutureLearn issues globally recognised certificates that can help you get your dream job in any industry. However, you need to meet course requirements to be eligible for a certificate.

    Are FutureLearn courses recognised?

    Yes, FutureLearn courses are fully accredited and recognised. Should you opt for the Microcredentials program, you could even get university credit that could get you closer to earning a full degree. 

    Are FutureLearn certificates free?

    No, to get a certificate (digital or printed) you need to either Upgrade the course or join the Unlimited subscription. Upgrading a course or signing up for the Unlimited plan has other perks as well, outlined in our FutureLearn review above. 

    An aspiring linguist with a background in teaching, I decided to use my years of experience to educate my audience through writing. The chance to apply my knowledge to my articles, fueled by my passion for research helped me develop my skills and learn more along the way, awakening my interest in even more topics. When I’m not typing behind my desk, you’ll find me learning a new language or pouring my thoughts into rhymes.