Futurelearn Course Reviews: What You Need to Know Before You Enroll

Futurelearn Course Reviews: What You Need to Know Before You Enroll

Whether you’re looking to advance your career, pursue a new interest, or simply keep your mind active, online courses can be an ideal solution. Futurelearn offers a wide range of courses from top universities and specialist organizations to suit all needs and skill levels. However, with hundreds of courses spanning many subjects, how do you determine which are worth your time? This guide provides an overview of the key things you need to know before enrolling in a Futurelearn course.


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What Is Futurelearn?

Futurelearn is a leading social learning platform that offers free online courses from top universities and organizations worldwide. Founded in 2012, Futurelearn now has over 12 million learners and partners with more than 160 organizations to offer thousands of courses in various subjects.

What They Offer

Futurelearn courses are:

  1. Free to enroll in and learn at your own pace.
  2. Available on mobile and desktop. You can study whenever and wherever you want.
  3. Taught by leading experts from partner organizations like The Open University, University of Leeds, CIMA, and Raspberry Pi Foundation.
  4. Short and flexible. Courses typically take 3 to 6 weeks to complete, with about 3 hours of study time per week.
  5. Peer-supported. You learn with classmates from around the world and support each other through discussions and comments.

How It Works

Enrolling in a Futurelearn course is easy. Simply:

  1. Browse the course catalog and select a course that interests you. Courses cover topics like business, law, computing, nature, arts, and more.
  2. Sign up for a free Futurelearn account or log in if you already have one.
  3. Enroll in your chosen course. Most courses start on a Monday and run for 3 to 6 weeks. You can join at any time though and go at your own pace.
  4. Study each week’s materials which include videos, articles, discussions, and quizzes.
  5. Interact and discuss topics with your fellow learners from around the globe.
  6. Receive a certificate of achievement when you successfully complete all course requirements.

Whether you want to gain new skills for work, delve into a hobby, or just expand your knowledge, Futurelearn has an array of free online courses to suit your needs. Discover a new passion or rekindle an old one – the possibilities are endless.


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Top 5 Most Popular Futurelearn Courses

To get the most out of Futurelearn’s extensive course catalog, it helps to know which offerings are the most popular and well-reviewed. The top five courses, based on enrollment and student ratings, are:

Exploring English: Language and Culture

This popular course provides an introduction to different aspects of English language and culture. Over four weeks, you’ll explore English grammar, learn about cultural traditions, study famous works of literature, and more. With short videos and interactive exercises, this course aims to give you a broad overview of the English language in an engaging way.

Fundamentals of Immunology

This in-depth but accessible course offers an introduction to the workings of the human immune system. In 12 weeks, you’ll learn about the cells and organs involved in immunity, how vaccines work, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and other key concepts. The content is delivered through short lectures, animations, and other multimedia. This course provides a comprehensive overview of immunology for beginners.

Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Over six weeks, this popular course teaches mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance wellbeing. The content covers mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and body scan exercises. This course provides practical guidance on incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine to achieve greater peace of mind and productivity.

Understanding Abnormal Psychology

This four-week course explores the history and treatment of mental health conditions. You’ll learn about disorders ranging from depression and schizophrenia to personality disorders. The content aims to reduce stigma around mental illness and provide a balanced perspective on abnormal psychology. This short course offers an insightful introduction to an important and often misunderstood topic.

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

This intriguing course teaches forensic psychology techniques for interviewing witnesses and evaluating testimony. Over four weeks, you’ll learn skills such as detecting deception, minimizing bias, and conducting cognitive interviews. The content is delivered through videos, case studies, and interactive exercises. This course provides valuable insight into the work of forensic psychologists.


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How Futurelearn Courses Work

How Futurelearn Courses Work

Futurelearn courses are designed to be flexible and fit around your schedule. The courses typically run over a period of 3 to 10 weeks and new material is released each week for you to work through at your own pace.

You can enroll in a Futurelearn course for free and access all the course materials, participate in discussions, and complete peer reviews. However, if you want an official certificate of completion for your course, you will need to pay a fee and successfully finish all assessments.

The course content is delivered through a mix of videos, articles, discussion forums, quizzes and peer-review assignments. You can post questions for your educators and connect with fellow learners from around the world in the discussion area. Many courses also include educator-moderated live sessions where you can ask questions in real time.

Rather than traditional assignments that are graded by your educators, Futurelearn courses focus on collaborative learning. You provide and receive feedback from other learners through peer review assignments. These assignments allow you to gain new perspectives, practice giving constructive feedback, and strengthen your understanding of the course material.

While the course weeks have suggested timeframes to keep you on track, you can go through the materials at your own pace. You can easily adjust based on your schedule and speed up or slow down as needed. If you fall behind, you can catch up on past weeks at any time. The flexibility of Futurelearn means you can fit learning around work, family and life commitments.

Futurelearn partners with over 200 leading universities and organizations to offer a diverse catalog of courses covering topics such as business and management, healthcare and medicine, science, nature and environment, arts and humanities, computing and more. With new courses starting every month, you’ll never run out of opportunities to keep learning new skills and expanding your knowledge.


The 14 Best Free Online Courses You Can Take From FutureLearn

Pros of Taking a Futurelearn Course

Pros of Taking a Futurelearn Course

When considering whether to enroll in a course on Futurelearn, it is helpful to weigh the benefits. There are several advantages to taking a course on this platform:

Futurelearn offers high-quality courses created by reputable institutions and organizations. The courses are developed by over 140 partners including top universities, specialist education providers, and companies. This means you can learn skills and knowledge from authoritative sources.

The courses are very flexible, as most are available on-demand and at your own pace. You can start a course whenever you like and work through the material when convenient for you. This allows you to fit learning into your busy schedule.

Interactive elements keep you engaged. From discussions with other learners to polls and quizzes, the courses are designed to actively involve you in the learning process. This can help strengthen your understanding and retention of concepts.

You can connect with a global community of learners. On each course page, you’ll find an active discussion forum where you can ask questions, exchange ideas, and collaborate with people from around the world. This social aspect enhances the learning experience.

Earning a certificate or statement of participation can build your credentials. If you complete a course, you have the option to purchase an official certificate or download a free statement of participation. This can demonstrate your dedication to continuous learning.

The courses are very affordable and many are free. Futurelearn offers over 150 free courses as well as paid programs for a reasonable fee. For the quality of courses, the pricing is quite competitive. Free and low-cost access to learning opens up opportunities for people everywhere.

In summary, Futurelearn provides high-quality, flexible online courses from leading institutions and organizations. With interactive and social elements, their programs offer an engaging learning experience at an affordable price. If you’re looking to gain new skills and expand your knowledge, a Futurelearn course could be a great option.


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Cons of Taking a Futurelearn Course

Lack of In-Person Interaction

While the convenience of online learning is appealing, the lack of in-person interaction with instructors and other students can be a downside for some. Without face-to-face communication, picking up on non-verbal cues and building closer relationships may be more difficult. For courses focused on soft skills or group work, the online format could prove challenging. If interacting with others in-person is an important part of your learning process or motivation, a Futurelearn course may not suit your needs.

Self-Discipline Required

As with any online course, success in a Futurelearn class requires a high degree of self-discipline and time-management. Without fixed class times, it can be easy to fall behind or procrastinate. You will need to create your own schedule to watch lectures, complete readings, participate in discussions, and submit assignments. If you struggle with self-motivation or accountability, the flexibility of Futurelearn could work against you. Consider if you are able to dedicate the time and effort needed to succeed before enrolling in a course.

Course Quality Can Vary

While Futurelearn partners with top universities and institutions to offer courses, the quality can vary. Some courses provide a rich, engaging learning experience with interactive materials, while others may rely more heavily on static readings and lectures. Before enrolling in a course, explore the specific course page to determine if the content, format, and workload seem substantive enough for your needs. Look for details on the instructors, types of assignments, and opportunities for interaction to evaluate if a course will be worthwhile and meet your expectations.

Credits and Certification

The majority of Futurelearn courses do not offer academic credits or official certification. They are intended as a means of lifelong learning and professional development. If earning credits or a certificate is a priority, check that the specific course you are interested in will provide that option before enrolling and dedicating your time. While some courses do lead to credentials from the partner institutions, most Futurelearn classes result only in a statement of participation.

In summary, the lack of in-person interaction, need for self-motivation, variability in course quality, and limited opportunity for credits are potential downsides to keep in mind with Futurelearn. However, for many lifelong learners seeking to expand their knowledge through an engaging online experience, Futurelearn’s pros far outweigh the cons.


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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Futurelearn

To get the most out of Futurelearn’s online courses, keep these tips in mind:

Choose courses that match your interests

With over 800 courses spanning a variety of subjects, you’re sure to find topics that pique your curiosity. Select courses in subject areas that genuinely interest you to stay engaged throughout the duration of the course.

Develop a regular study schedule

Futurelearn courses are designed to be completed on your own time, but you’ll gain the most by setting a consistent schedule to work through the materials. Aim for at least 2 to 3 hours per week of focused time to watch videos, read articles, participate in discussions, and complete assessments. Falling behind can make it difficult to catch up.

Take an active role in the discussions

The discussion forums are a key part of the learning experience on Futurelearn. Share your perspectives, ask questions, and engage with other learners to gain valuable insights. Comment on at least 3 to 5 other posts per week to become an active member of the course community.

Complete all assessments and assignments

Futurelearn courses often contain short quizzes, written assignments, and projects to help reinforce your learning. Finish all assessments and assignments to gain the skills and knowledge outlined in the course objectives. Ask for feedback from the educators and use it to improve your work.

Earn a certificate (optional)

If you complete 70% of the course, including all assessments, you’ll earn a certificate of completion for free. You can then share your certificate on platforms like LinkedIn to showcase your new skills. For a small fee, you can also earn an official certificate from the institution that created the course.

Continue learning

To continue advancing your knowledge, look for follow-up courses in the same subject area or topics that build upon what you’ve already learned. You can also join the Futurelearn community to stay up-to-date with new courses and connect with fellow lifelong learners. Continuous learning is key to progressing in today’s world.



Completing a Futurelearn Course Certificate

To earn a certificate for completing a Futurelearn course, you must meet certain requirements set by the course provider. While the specific criteria will vary between courses, the following generally apply:

Course Participation

You will need to actively participate in the course to qualify for a certificate. This typically means:

  • Completing a minimum number of steps in the course, usually around 50-70% of the total available. The exact requirement will be stated in the course information.
  • Contributing to discussions by posting comments and responding to other learners. Some courses may require a minimum number of discussion posts.
  • Completing any required assignments or assessments, such as quizzes, essays, or projects.

Course Completion

To receive a certificate, you must complete the course in full. This means:

  • Finishing all course steps, including lessons, activities, discussions, and assessments before the course end date.
  • Courses are open for a limited time, typically 3 to 15 weeks, so be sure to start the course with enough time to finish all components.
  • If you do not complete a course before it closes, you will not qualify for a certificate. However, your course progress and accomplishments will be saved in case the course is offered again in the future.

Final Exam or Assignment

Some Futurelearn courses require you to pass a final exam or complete a culminating assignment to earn your certificate. This provides an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and competency in the course subject matter. The format may include:

  • A multiple choice final exam covering concepts and topics from across the course. You will need to achieve a minimum passing score, often 70-80%, to qualify for your certificate.
  • A written assignment, project, or essay. Your work will be evaluated based on a standard rubric to determine if you meet the requirements for certification.

Following these guidelines and the specific instructions provided in your Futurelearn course will ensure you stay on track to earn your certificate. Staying actively engaged, completing all components, and successfully meeting any final requirements are key to receiving official certification of your accomplishment.


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Futurelearn Course Reviews From Real Students

Futurelearn offers over 900 free online courses in a wide range of subjects. Before enrolling in a course, read reviews from real students to determine if it meets your needs and expectations.

Course Content and Materials

Students frequently comment on the quality and variety of course materials, such as videos, articles, discussions and quizzes. Look for reviews mentioning informative, engaging content and a good balance of activities. Some courses provide interactive elements like live sessions, while others focus more on self-paced learning. Choose what suits your learning preferences.

Instructor Support

Instructor guidance and interaction are highly valued by students. Look for reviews highlighting helpful, attentive instructors who respond to questions, encourage discussion and provide useful feedback on assignments. Some courses have limited instructor involvement, so ensure the level of support meets your needs.

Learning Experience

Students often share insights into their overall learning experience. Look for reviews describing the course as interesting, challenging, thought-provoking or personally enriching. Some mention developing a deeper understanding of topics and gaining new perspectives. However, other students report courses as too difficult, simplistic or not advanced enough for their needs. Assess if the level and pace match your abilities.

Peer Interaction

For many students, interaction and discussion with peers are an important part of the learning experience. Look for reviews mentioning active, engaging discussion forums where students ask questions, share ideas, debate topics and form connections. However, some courses have limited opportunities for interaction. Consider how much peer engagement you want.

By reading authentic reviews from previous students, you can determine if a Futurelearn course aligns with your needs and expectations. Look for comments on content, instructor support, the learning experience itself and peer interaction to find courses matching your interests and skills. With hundreds of options, Futurelearn has something for everyone, so choose wisely based on the experiences of those who have gone before you.


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Futurelearn FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

Futurelearn is a popular massive open online course (MOOC) provider that offers free online courses in a variety of subjects. If you’re considering enrolling in one of their courses, you likely have some questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Futurelearn.

How much do Futurelearn courses cost?

The majority of Futurelearn courses are completely free to take. A small number of courses offer paid upgrades to obtain a course certificate or access additional course materials, but all course content is available for free.

What courses does Futurelearn offer?

Futurelearn offers courses in many diverse topic areas, including business and management, healthcare and medicine, teaching, computer science, science, nature and environment, creative arts, history, and psychology. Course examples include: “ Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research,” “A Beginner’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence,” and “ England in the Time of King Richard III.” New courses are added regularly.

How long are the courses?

Most Futurelearn courses run for 3 to 8 weeks. Course length depends on the breadth and depth of the material. Shorter courses typically require 2 to 3 hours of work per week, while longer, more in-depth courses may require up to 5 hours per week. All courses are self-paced, so you can join at any time and work through the materials at your own speed.

What is the format of Futurelearn courses?

Futurelearn courses primarily consist of video lectures, readings, quizzes, discussion forums, and peer-reviewed assignments. Each course is divided into weeks and days to make the material more digestible. The video lectures are short, usually 3 to 10 minutes in length, and the readings include transcripts of the videos as well as additional reference materials. The discussion forums and peer-reviewed assignments provide opportunity for interaction and collaboration with other learners.

Do I get a certificate of completion?

You can obtain a verified certificate of completion for many Futurelearn courses by upgrading for a fee, which is typically around $49 USD. The verified certificate includes your name and bears the official stamp of the course provider. Some courses also offer the ability to pay a higher fee to earn university credit.


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As you have seen, Futurelearn offers a diverse range of courses from top universities and cultural institutions from around the world. Before you enroll in a course, evaluate your learning goals and determine what you hope to gain. Consider the course workload, difficulty level, and duration to make sure it fits with your schedule and abilities. While Futurelearn courses are free to audit, keep in mind that not all courses offer a statement of participation or certificate of achievement for a fee. For the courses that do, the fees vary but are typically under $100. With an engaging learning experience, world-class instructors, and the opportunity to connect with fellow learners, Futurelearn provides an accessible way to keep learning and stay curious. The next step is up to you – start exploring the course catalog and enroll in a topic that inspires you.


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