Many companies today offer online training and education services. Our FutureLearn review will evaluate why this platform is one of the leaders in the field.
Companies looking to fuel their progress do so by investing in their employees’ professional development. Organizing courses and seminars might help employees acquire new skills and become more productive, but this method is costly and time-consuming.
This is where massive open online course (MOOC) websites like FutureLearn can help.
How Does FutureLearn Work?
This platform has an extensive catalog of courses and materials on various topics. All you need to do upon registration is to choose a course and start learning by watching video materials, listening to audio recordings, and reading articles.
FutureLearn’s courses cover many different subjects, such as:
- Business and Management
- Creative Arts and Media
- Healthcare and Medicine
- IT and Computer Science
- Nature and Environment
- Politics and Society
- Psychology and Mental Health
- Science, Engineering, and Math
- Study Skills
FutureLearn Review: Who Can Use This Platform?
This platform is home to courses that are ideal for both people who want to improve their skills and employers who wish to enhance their business. As such, you have the option of using FutureLearn as either a learner or an employer.
FutureLearn as a Learner
If you’re a learner looking to gain new knowledge, acquire new skills, or improve your career prospects, you’ll very likely find what you’re looking for on FutureLearn.
The platform’s courses are organized into three groups:
- Individual short courses
- Microcredentials and programs
- Online degrees
FutureLearn Short Courses Review
FutureLearn offers over 750 short courses covering a broad range of topics. All the courses come from top universities and esteemed specialist organizations.
Some of the platform’s more popular courses include Construction Ethics and Compliance (more than 9,000 enrolled students), Advanced Data Mining with Weka (more than 12,500 enrolled students), and How to Write Your First Song (more than 47,500 enrolled students).
The most popular course by far is Teaching English Online, with almost 250,000 enrolled students. It’s also one of the platform’s best-rated courses, with an average grade of 4.9.
FutureLearn Microcredential and Program Courses Reviews
FutureLearn also offers accredited online courses to help you hone your professional skills. These accredited courses are organized into two groups: microcredentials and programs.
With microcredentials, you can pursue further study in a specialized field of your choice and earn an independent certification. Programs are designed to help you progress in your area of interest, and some of them even come with professional credentials from higher education institutions.
The site currently offers close to 40 microcredentials on topics ranging from artificial intelligence and data analytics to fashion and sports coaching. On the other hand, there are about 30 programs on topics that include management and leadership, data mining, and healthcare.
FutureLearn Review on Online Degrees
Whether you want to obtain a university degree or move from undergraduate to postgraduate level, FutureLearn offers several degree programs that can help you achieve this goal.
This is particularly useful if you want to advance professionally but don’t have time to attend university courses. All you have to do is find the degree you want, go through the courses at your own pace, and complete the assessments (which you can do either online or in-person).
The degrees are all internationally recognized and awarded by FutureLearn partners – reputable higher education institutions from all over the world. While studying, you’ll also have full access to the university library and online study groups.
FutureLearn as an Employer
Looking to keep up with the industry in which they operate, many employers choose to invest in the professional development of their employees. To help them in this pursuit, FutureLearn offers customizable course programs aimed specifically at business organizations.
With these courses, companies can close the skills gap and transform their organizations by introducing new strategies and methods of working. FutureLearn currently has specialized course programs for businesses and healthcare organizations.
FutureLearn for Business Review
FutureLearn’s catalog has many courses designed for organizations that want to improve their efficiency and stay relevant in today’s highly competitive market. These courses cover not just business in general but also marketing, management, and leadership skills.
Marketing Analytics is one of the more popular courses on the platform. With more than 32,000 enrolled students, this course teaches students how to analyze their marketing data to ensure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
Many courses focus on how companies use social media, such as the very popular Create a Professional Online Presence. For business leaders looking to improve their people skills, there’s the People Management Skills course with almost 70,000 students.
FutureLearn for Healthcare Review
This section offers more than 200 courses for health professionals looking to improve their institution’s patient care while also enhancing their own knowledge and skills.
Among others, the offer includes courses and microcredentials such as Fundamentals of Digital Health in Hospitals, Clinical Supervision: Planning Your Professional Development, and Supporting and Engaging People with Autism.
Perhaps one of the most interesting programs in this section is dedicated to those who take care of animals. The Edward Jenner Leadership for Veterinary Professionals is a 14-week program co-created by the NHS, which also allows students to earn professional credentials.
Ease of Use
The FutureLearn MOOC platform has a very clean, user-friendly interface.
You can easily browse the course catalog by clicking on one of the categories in the drop-down menu at the top of the page. If you’re interested in a specific course, just start typing its name into the search box, and you’ll see suggestions based on your search term.
As for the study materials, the courses are all well-organized. Graphics and additional reading materials accompany the straightforward video and audio lectures to ensure you get the most of each course, even if you weren’t previously familiar with its topic.
FutureLearn Pricing and Plans
FutureLearn is among the few MOOC websites that offer free courses. As of this writing, there are dozens of free courses available on the platform, covering topics from basic computer programming and collaboration in remote teams to online tolerance and indie computer games.
If you want to test this platform and find out what it has to offer and how the courses are organized, taking one of the FutureLearn free courses is a great way to do so. After that, if you like what you see, you can opt for one of the numerous paid courses available on the site. Their prices vary, but you get a certificate upon completion, which isn’t the case with free courses.
FutureLearn also offers the Unlimited plan, which gives you access to hundreds of courses on their platform with a single annual subscription. This package costs $279.99 per year and includes a certificate for every course you complete successfully. Keep in mind that programs, microcredentials, and courses marked as Premium aren’t included in this offer.
FutureLearn MOOC Refund Policy
Most paid courses on FutureLearn offer a so-called “cooling-off period” of two weeks, during which you can ask for a full refund. However, you can only do this if you haven’t opened or completed any tests and/or received a certificate of completion.
There are also paid courses that don’t offer this two-week trial. For those courses, you can ask for a refund on the day they start (if you paid for them in advance) or on the same day you purchased them (if you joined after the start date).
As for FutureLearn’s Unlimited package, the “cooling-off” period starts on the day you purchase the plan and lasts for 14 days, whether you take any courses or not.
FutureLearn Reviews: Online Ratings
The majority of users have rated this platform as excellent and expressed their satisfaction with the quality of its courses, its user-friendly website design, and its wide range of learning topics.
On TrustPilot, more than half of reviewers have awarded FutureLearn a five-star rating, citing their positive experiences in interacting with tutors and course moderators. Users are also happy with the downloadable resources and materials that accompany each lesson.
The platform has a high 4.4 rating on G2.com. There are a lot of FutureLearn reviews and users are especially satisfied.The reviewers are also impressed with the selection of online degree programs and opportunities for career advancement that this platform provides.
There are not many serious complaints about FutureLearn. Most dissatisfaction from users has to do with the lack of available courses in the fields they’re interested in. For example, some reviewers would want to see more classes on WordPress, blogging, and productivity. Some also believe that the platform would benefit from including more universities in its partner program.
FutureLearn Pros and Cons
Like any other platform of this type, FutureLearn has its fair share of both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
- Simplicity – As mentioned earlier, the platform has a user-friendly interface that suits every student, regardless of their age or technical ability.
- Free courses – Certainly one of the most significant advantages, especially for students on a tight budget, is the possibility to access some of FutureLearn’s free courses.
- Suitable for beginners – The video and audio courses are accompanied by graphics, downloadable materials, and links to recommended online articles. This makes them well-suited for learners who don’t have any prior knowledge of the course topic.
- Learning diversity – This diversity isn’t only reflected in the number of courses but also their design. Users say that the combination of video and audio lessons accompanied by articles and quizzes keeps them engaged and helps hold their attention.
- No Android or iOS app – Many users believe they’d have a much better learning experience if they could follow courses via their phones. FutureLearn doesn’t yet have a dedicated app, but the platform promises to fix this in the future.
The online education marketplace is very crowded, and FutureLearn has tough competition.
Platforms like Udemy, Udacity, EDX, and Coursera all offer high-quality courses from both esteemed universities and independent teachers. Like FutureLearn, their classes cover a broad range of topics, so it might be difficult to figure out which of these MOOC websites is the perfect fit for your needs.
To help you decide, let’s briefly look into FutureLearn’s main competitors.
FutureLearn vs. Coursera
FutureLearn and Coursera have many similarities. They both offer courses from prestigious universities, certificates of completion, and the possibility of earning college credits. Both platforms also have a selection of free courses, though Coursera’s selection is much bigger (find out more about it in our Coursera review).
The main difference between the two platforms is their subscription price. While FutureLearn Premium only costs 279.99 per year, an annual subscription to Coursera’s Plus plan costs $399. Coursera currently has more courses (3,000+) from more universities (170+ as of this writing), but there’s not much difference in terms of their variety and the range of topics they cover.
FutureLearn vs. Edx
Looking at the number of languages available on these platforms, you’ll immediately notice the difference. As you know, Pimsleur offers 50 languages, while Babbel offers only 14.
Babbel is a cheaper platform that focuses on grammar and writing, which is not Pimsleur’s main focus. You might find Babbel more appealing because of its playful quizzes and exercises, as opposed to Pimsleur’s audio lessons. So which one should you choose?
If your goal is to become a fluent speaker, Pimsleur might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you want to understand more about the language in general, you should choose Babbel.
FutureLearn vs. Udemy
Compared to FutureLearn’s more academic approach to learning, Udemy’s courses are more relaxed. That’s because universities don’t create them. Instead, they’re curated and taught by experts who don’t have to be affiliated with any educational institution.
This inevitably means that the quality of courses on Udemy varies, which is not the case with FutureLearn. With its customizable programs, FutureLearn is much better suited for small businesses than Udemy. Also, just like EDX, Udemy doesn’t offer a subscription plan that would allow users to access all paid courses in its catalog.
You’ll have to pay anywhere between $10 and $200 (or sometimes more) for every course you take on this platform. You will find more information in this Udemy Review.
FutureLearn Review: Final Thoughts
FutureLearn is a great MOOC platform that gives you a chance to improve your skills regardless of your age or financial capabilities. The website gives you access to a variety of free courses that cover a wide range of subjects, and it’s one of the best online learning platforms.
If you’re interested in taking multiple courses, you can subscribe to Unlimited for just $279.99 per year rather than paying for each of them separately.
Businesses can benefit greatly from this platform. If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your team and help them acquire new skills and master new tools and techniques, FutureLearn offers customizable programs you can tailor to your specific needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does FutureLearn provide a free certificate?
Yes, FutureLearn does provide free certificates. But you should keep in mind that, although some courses are free, certificates are generally available only if you pay for them. If you subscribe to the FutureLearn Unlimited plan, you can access all non-premium courses on the platform and earn a certificate of completion for each of them. In some cases, you may even be able to earn university credits for finishing a course.
Are FutureLearn certificates recognized?
FutureLearn certificates are highly valued by employers, but they are also recognized by some of the leading universities. This platform collaborates with a number of esteemed higher education institutions like The Open University and the University of Leeds. These institutions and their professors are in charge of creating, teaching, and moderating the courses available on FutureLearn, so their names and logos will be displayed on every certificate you earn.
Is FutureLearn accredited?
Yes, FutureLearn and all its courses are fully accredited, not just by the platform but also by the institutions that have developed those courses. The certificate you receive upon completing a course is issued by the institution responsible for the course and signed by the instructor. For some of the courses, you can also earn degree credits, as previously mentioned in this FutureLearn review.