Written ByFelipe Bernardes
Last UpdatedMay 21, 2021
FutureLearn Reviews: Are FutureLearn Courses Worth it?
FutureLearn was launched in 2012 and is jointly owned by the UK Open University and SEEK Limited. Its headquarter is in the UK and they offer a remarkable selection of certified courses and online degrees, built in partnership with many top-performing universities.
Are FutureLearn courses worth it?
In this FutureLearn review, you will have access to all relevant information to know whether or not to take one (or more) of their courses.
With Futurelearn you can obtain a competitive degree online and increase your career and employability prospects.
Students get to learn at their own pace and convenience while building a powerful peer network and support system. Some of the courses are also taught for free. This is something you don’t want to miss!
We understand that making such an important decision as choosing an online education provider can be a tough one. So, if you want to know if their courses are a good fit for you, you are sure to find this review useful and helpful.
Table of content:
- What is FutureLearn?
- What is FutureLearn’s Connection to Universities?
- Who are FutureLearn Courses For?
- FutureLearn Course Category
- FutureLearn Courses: Short courses
- FutureLearn Courses: ExpertTracks
- FutureLearn Courses: Microcredentials and Programs
- FutureLearn Online Degree Courses
- FutureLearn vs Coursera and edX
- FutureLearn app
- FutureLearn Certificate
- Online Reviews of FutureLearn
- FutureLearn Quick Snapshot
What is FutureLearn?
Futurelearn is a British digital educational platform owned by UK open university and SEEK Limited. It was established to distribute high-quality content from acclaimed universities mainly from the UK. Their business model is similar to other prominent MOOCs including Coursera, and edX.
The company is headquartered in London, but they have a global reach. Students from all over the world have benefited from a selection of over 1000 unique courses that revolve around subjects like:
- Business & Management
- IT & Computer Science
- Healthcare & Medicine
- Psychology & Mental Health
- Politics & Society
Most of its short courses come free of charge, while the longer courses cost between $39 a month to about $1000, including certificate. Upgrades and unlimited access to course materials and certificates also come at a price.
FutureLearn works closely with top international universities and specialist organisations to offer online courses and degrees. In the next section, we are going to explore these partnerships.
What is FutureLearn’s Connection to Universities?
Futurelearn partners with leading universities to boost their course quality and certification credibility. The platform’s stellar reputation is mostly hinged on its highly-qualified world-class instructors from top-grade universities. The fact that FutureLearn collaborates with these universities is an assurance that you get nothing but the best teaching from experienced minds.
FutureLearn is currently in partnership with many universities, including; University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Aberdeen, University of Cape Town, University of California Irvine, University of Michigan, The University of Law, Haken School Of Economics, City University of Hong Kong, Cardiff University, Dublin City University, Durham University and many more.
It's not only universities that make up their portfolio, FutureLearn is also affiliated with specialist organizations, including Accenture, Cambridge Assessment English, The British Film Institute (BFI), Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Digital Marketing Institute, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Samsung, Raspberry Pi Foundation, Tommy Hilfiger, Stripe, Unesco, among others.
Are FutureLearn Courses Accredited?
The answer is a capital YES. FutureLearn courses have a badge of authenticity from the partner institutions and universities that provide the courses. These universities issue all FutureLearn certificates that are recognized for their authenticity.
Who are FutureLearn Courses for?
FutureLearn courses are designed to meet every knowledge-hungry and certificate seeker's needs to improve their career and employability. It also caters to individuals who want a foundational education as a prerequisite to further educational pursuits such as Masters and PhD.
The platform’s course selection is an interesting palette that comprises short and in-depth courses and even online degrees. Students can earn online bachelor’s, master’s and post-graduate degrees ─ which is super cool.
Unlike other MOOCs like Udemy and Skillshare, in which anyone can become an instructor, FutureLearn has a broad and extensive course library that is compared to those taught by traditional institutions. The learning quality and certificate are no lesser than those of conventional universities. As an added advantage, you get to learn from the comfort of your screen at your own flexible schedule.
With their Short Courses you can learn new skills with flexible online courses. Their ExpertTracks were built to promote upskilling with a series of specialist courses. If your intention is to earn professional or academic accreditation, your choice should be their Microcredentials and Programs. They also offer Online Degrees created by leading universities.
FutureLearn courses cater to all types of people, of any age and across the world. The main objective is to provide improvement to the lives of its students.
FutureLearn Course Category
Business & Management Courses: Includes topics that teach online communication, leadership and all-things business management. Topics include entrepreneurship, business ethics, finance and accounting, marketing, HR, innovation, Project management and a lot more.
Creative Arts & Media Courses: As the name implies, this category is packed with courses that stimulate and strengthen creativity in arts and media. You will learn all the rudiments and technicalities of design, fashion, music, photography and visual arts.
Healthcare & Medicine Courses: Improve your healthcare knowledge by enrolling to the healthcare and medicine courses that touch on a vast range of health topics and diseases, including; Cancer, Coronavirus, Antimicrobial and Antibiotic resistance, Fertility and Birth, Genetics, Nursing, Nutrition, and so much more.
History Courses: FutureLearn’s online History courses promise to take you on an intriguing and super interesting tour of human history. Topics include Archaeology, British History, Ancient History, Military History, Medieval History, Roman History and others.
IT " Computer Science Courses: You can learn programming skills and explore tech trends with FutureLearn’s online IT and coding courses. Topics taught in this category are AI and Robotics, Business Technology, Coding and Programming, Cyber Security, Game Development and Web Development.
Language Courses: If you are a language enthusiast looking to learn a new language or want to gain professional language proficiency to beef up your resume, these are the courses for you. You will learn Chinese, Irish, Norwegian, and English. Also, you will learn how to improve your results with IELTS preparation courses.
Law Courses: Courses in this category aim to provide enlightenment on the justice system. It features 25 courses, including Fraud Investigation, AI for Legal Professionals, Introduction to Forensic Science, Understanding Gender Inequality, to mention but a few.
Literature Courses: Includes a broad range of courses designed to hone writing and literary skills. It features 20 courses, including, An Introduction to Screenwriting, How to Read a Novel, Shakespeare, Japanese Culture Through Rare Books, among a host of others.
Nature & Environment Courses: Students get to explore the natural world and its ecological challenges in this course category. The featured topics include Agriculture, Climate Change, Ecology, Food Tech, and Sustainability.
Politics & Society Courses: FutureLearns's online Political Science and International Relations courses address the world's geopolitical issues. These are centred on Crime " Criminology, Gender " Feminism, Geopolitics, Religion, and Social Issues.
Psychology & Mental Health Courses: This category exposes students to the developments and breakthroughs in mental health and psychology research. It details topics about Anxiety " Depression, Dementia, Mindfulness " Wellbeing, and Psychology.
Science, Engineering & Maths Courses: The Online Maths, Science and Engineering Courses empower students with STEM skills and teach complex subjects like robotics. Topics in this category include Biology " Biotechnology, Chemistry, Data Science, Earth Science, Economics, Engineering, Maths, and Physics.
Study Skills: These courses are specially curated for students in different knowledge-seeking capacities to boost their study skills and help them succeed. There are 57 courses in this category, including English for Academy Study, How to Succeed at Writing Applications, Critical Thinking at University, and Introduction to Research Ethics.
Teaching Courses: Here is an opportunity to learn new teaching skills and approaches to enhance your professional development. Includes topics such as Inclusive Teaching, How to Teach Online, Inclusive Teaching, Language Teaching, Primary Education Teaching, Professional Development for Teachers, Secondary Education Teaching, and STEM teaching.
FutureLearn Courses: Short courses
The FutureLearn Short Courses are quicker, smaller courses. They typically last from 2-10 weeks at a 3-hour pace per week. The platform offers more than 1,000 of these courses, which partner universities and specialist organizations accredit.
Short Courses are ideal for students who want to gain expertise or knowledge of a particular field but are strapped for time. They are time flexible, which means you can learn at your own pace and from anywhere. On the plus side, you can take most of these short courses for free, but if you want a formal certificate, you'd have to pay for an upgrade.
If you opt for the free or limited plan, you will be denied long-term access to course materials at the end of the course. Hence, you can take free short courses at the expense of losing a certificate and permanent access to course data.
Popular Short Courses
1. Digital Skills: Digital Marketing: This is a Business & Management category course accredited by The CPD Certification Service and offered by Accenture. It explores what digital marketing is, and why it is important. It will also teach you digital marketing strategies including display advertising, pay per click advertising, search engine optimisation and email marketing.
2. Fashion's Future: The Sustainable Development Goals: Categorized under Business & Management and developed by Fashion Revolution, it teaches how clothing is made and the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. It covers what sustainable fashion really means, and why the industry needs to change.
3. Programming 101: An Introduction to Python for Educators: This course is developed by Raspberry Pi and Teach Computing. It will teach you how to program in Python with basic programming concepts. You’ll learn to solve simple problems using your new coding skills.
4. What is Leadership?: This course is developed by Deakin University, one of Australia’s largest universities. This inspirational course will help you discover more about yourself and others as it teaches you about leadership. You will understand the sources of power and influence, and how it affects leadership. You will learn what it means to be a leader and what effective leadership is.
FutureLearn Courses: Expert Tracks
ExpertTracks is FutureLearn's gift to knowledge-seekers caught in the now-uncertain world. It was launched to allow people to expand their knowledge and finetune their skills in specialized study areas.
With ExpertTracks, you get enough room to dive deep into the subjects you are passionate about ─ they offer a more immersive and engaging learning experience than standalone courses. These specially crafted series of online courses are your gateway to career advancement and productivity. They can help refine your résumé while providing a fast and flexible learning experience. They help accelerate your studies in various topics, industries and subject areas.
ExpertTracks cover a broad range of specialist topics such as Advanced and Applied AI on Microsoft Azure, Business Strategy and Decision Making Skills, CRM fundamentals and Practice, Customer Experience Design for Customer Success, and many more. By completing ExpertTrack Courses, you can become a specialist in your field.
They also include subjects that address highly-demanded and sought-after skills such as cybersecurity, data analytics, and project management. Soft skills like decision making and leadership are also part of the package. No matter your area of interest, ExpertTracks provides a topic to match.
And the best part? Instructors will teach you from some of the world’s top universities, leading businesses and notable learning institutions. Expectedly, it is time, subscription and location flexible. In a nutshell, ExpertTracks are the right fit for individuals keen on learning new skills, enhancing their careers or upgrading their existing knowledge.
Advanced and Applied AI on Microsoft Azure
If you’ve been wanting to build and design a solution using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), this ExpertTrack will teach you the ropes in collaboration with Microsoft. You will learn how to achieve your objective using Microsoft Azure. That aside, it will help you ace course-associated exams like Microsoft Azure Al Engineer Associate (AI-100) and Microsoft Azure Al Fundamentals (AI-900).
The course is created by CloudSwift and accredited by Microsoft. Course duration is approximately 15 weeks, and it costs $39 per month. You are also awarded a certificate upon completing the course. Though no core experience is required for the course, a basic understanding of Python, C#, Creative Studio or experience working with databases, Excel, and text files, will help.
Business Strategy and Decision-Making Skills
This ExpertTrack is created by Coventry University, and will take you through the fundamentals of business strategy, decision-making, and business models. You will also examine the pros and cons of strategic choices. You will get the chance to analyze the nature and complexity of the business environment and dissect internal resources and strategic capability. You will also move on to the key theoretical aspects of strategy and run a practical application.
The ExpertTrack is designed to last for 10 weeks at 5hrs per week. The course fee is $39 per month, but you can enjoy a 7-day free trial. Also, two years of business-related experience is a prerequisite for this course as it is designed for intermediate-level business managers. And, of course, you will be issued a certificate of completion.
FutureLearn Courses: Microcredentials and Programs
FutureLearn’s Microcredentials are specialized programs created and accredited by prominent universities. They help individuals carve a career from in-demand skills. Students gain an in-depth understanding of a specific subject and earn a professional or academic credential.
Microcredentials are designed to equip you with the core skills needed in booming industries without the time and commitment required by a conventional degree. You can use the certification independently, and some of the programs provide formal credit that you can use to pursue a degree. FutureLearn currently offers 35 Microcredentials priced at $300-$1,500.
Popular Microcredentials and Programs
Applications of Blockchain
This microcredential delves into blockchain technology's basics and its application to real-world scenarios, including payment systems and supply-chain management. You will gain a better and deeper insight into different blockchain systems focused on futuristic blockchain technology such as consensus, privacy-preserving protocols and smart contracts ─ all of which are hot topics in many industries.
You are expected to take the course for 12 weeks after making a $1,429 payment. You don't need prior knowledge of coding or advanced mathematics to enroll for this program, but possessing a basic understanding of algorithmic thinking will go a long way. The microcredential is created and endorsed by Monash University, one of Australia’s leading universities.
Practical Project Management
A product of the University of Glasgow, this Microcredential seeks to enlighten individuals interested in gaining a comprehensive understanding of how to implement project management at work. It addresses the causes and the law around international migration. You will learn practical project management skills with real-world case studies.
The course is slated to span 12 weeks, and you are required to pay $1,169 to enroll. You also have the option to try the course for 7 days for free. Because this is a postgraduate course, you need a degree standard, and an IELTS equivalent of 6.5 to take the course.
FutureLearn Courses: Online Degree Courses
FutureLearn’s course portfolio also includes a selection of online degrees ranging from MBAs and other post-graduate certifications. With these degrees, you can attain career excellence and climb the success ladder.
It is also a time and resource-convenient opportunity for those looking to obtain a second or another degree without going through a university. The thought of obtaining an accredited degree from the comfort of your screen is simply astounding. It spares you that exhausting daily commute to school that is especially tasking during inclement weather conditions.
You can sit in your house, a park, an office or a plane and take classes to get a quality degree at your own pace and schedule. More so, these degrees are awarded by reputable universities (the same ones you don't have to attend physically). Talk about value and convenience at its finest!
After completing all programs and passing all assessments, you’ll gain an internationally recognised qualification.
Popular Online Degree Courses
1. Bachelor of Arts
The FutureLearn Bachelor of Arts degree is a three-year program with a 24-course brochure. You have the leeway to choose from four majors and minors offered by the institute, including Film, media and cultural studies. The University of Newcastle developed it.
2. Master of Business Administration (Marketing)
This MBA is offered in the full-time version lasting 1 year and in the part-time version lasting 2 years. The course is offered by Coventry University and will help you expand your business and leadership skills.
3. BA Management and Leadership
BA Management and Leadership This is a three-year Coventry University Degree that chronicles leadership skills, modern business management and leadership theories. You will improve your knowledge in these areas and learn how to apply them in the business world.
4. MBA International Human Resource Management
This is an intensive MBA course developed by Coventry University to prepare students for a thriving career in HR leadership related to the contemporary workplace. You will also sharpen your understanding of international business under HR management. It is billed to last a year under a full-time study and 2 Years for part-time study.
5. MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Wellbeing
Developed and accredited by Anglia Ruskin University, this master's certification will boost your career prospects as a child and adolescent mental health expert in different fields, including education-related industries and the health and social care sector. You will be taking this course for 2 years.
Popular Online Degree Courses
As aforementioned, FutureLearn is a MOOC provider, and among its top competitors are Coursera and edX. When three powerful platforms offer similar service, it is natural to weigh their similarities and differences.
Students get free access to most of their courses, forums, and texts on all three platforms. Here is an overview of their similarities and differences:
- Edx: 3371 courses can be audited for free
- Coursera: 3528 courses can be audited for free
- FutureLearn: 1046 courses can be audited for free
- Edx: on free courses you must pay a fee to get a certificate
- Coursera: on free courses you must pay a fee to get a certificate
- FutureLearn: on free courses you must pay a fee to get a certificate
The three of them requires that you upgrade in order to get a certificate, and below are other requirements:
- edX: issues certificates as soon as you have a passing score
- Coursera: you must pass all required assignments in the course, or meet the course passing threshold for a cumulative graded course
- Futurelearn: you must mark over 90% of course steps as complete and attempt all test questions, achieving a score of over 70%
Access to free courses
- edX: When you enroll in a course in the free audit track, you will have access for the number of weeks listed on the enrollment page.
- Coursera: You have lifetime access to the course.
- FutureLearn: If you choose to take a course for free, you’ll have access for the duration of the course plus 14 days
Unfortunately, FutureLearn does not have an app currently, but the company is looking at the future possibility of launching one app. So any FutureLearn app you come across is completely counterfeit and should be reported to the institute's support team by emailing [email protected]. On a side note, an app will enhance the learning experience at FutureLearn, so we hope they launch one soon.
A FutureLearn certificate is a testament to the skills and knowledge acquired at the institute. But of course, a certification of achievement does not come on a silver platter. To get FutureLearn's certificate of completion, you must pay for the course and (mark) "complete" 90% of the course steps, including assessments. You must also maintain a score of over 70%.
The FutureLearn certificate is unique because it details all you have learnt, the duration you spent studying the course, and your computed test score. You can tender this certificate as proof of competency or qualification when applying for jobs and universities.
Your certificate is also personalized and displays your name, course and the endorsement logo of the institute or organization that developed it. Additionally, it is as digital as they come, so you can easily share it online with friends and employers.
Can you add a FutureLearn Certificate to your résumé?
Yes, you can add the FutureLearn certificate to your résumé because they are recognized and accredited by notable organizations and institutions. However, some FutureLearn certificates carry more weight than others. For instance, employers give microcredential certificates precedence over short course certificates.
Online Reviews of FutureLearn
The FutureLearn reviews on G2 are mostly satisfactory. Most reviewers agree that it is a fantastic platform that paves the way for knowledge and skill expansion. Users say the course quality, including the free courses, leave nothing to be desired. They also seem to like the simplistic user interface, which they say is easy to navigate.
On the other side of the fence, some users begrudge the limited availability of digital marketing, blogging and productivity tool courses. Plus, users are campaigning for the inclusion of more classes and institutions.
Compared to G2, the FutureLearn reviews on Trustpilot are not exactly glowing. At the same time that 41% had an excellent experience on the platform, another exact 41% had a bad experience with it. On the bad side, you see people complaining on the limitations of the free courses, and about not offering certificates in this modality. Another disappointment found was the fact that they don’t have an app.
But not everyone has a bad experience to report; many users find the platform a delight and are thoroughly satisfied by the MOOC provider. They applaud the course content, the outstanding discussion boards and the overall learning approach.
E-student like G2 rate FutureLearn highly ─ a few points shy of 5 stars. The peer-to-peer interaction particularly stood out. E-student’s founder, Sander Tamm, says, “No other MOOC site I’ve used has utilized student discussions as effectively as FutureLearn”. He also appreciates the inclusion of free certification courses and the impressive selection of online degrees.
However, he believes there is room for improvement where the course catalogue is concerned. The platform’s online course catalogue is too limited, and the lack of a smartphone app is a negative point.
FutureLearn quick Snapshot
As of 2020, FutureLearn saw an increase in courses from 883 to 1158. The number of microcredentials also jumped from 35 in 2019 to 68 in late 2020.
Data collected from FutureLearn’s site between August 2016 and December 2017 shows that 50% of people who clicked the FutureLearn “join” button become learners, and 35% who enrolled became active learners. 30% of active learners completed a minimum of 50% of course steps ─ while 21% of this number further completed a minimum of 90% of the course steps.
What are the Benefits of FutureLearn Courses?
FutureLearn courses help students upgrade their career and employability dreams by empowering them with all the skills they need to excel in their chosen field. It increases your chances of employment and prepares you for further educational studies
Certificate: to obtain a course certificate on a short course, you have to make a payment or upgrade a free plan to a paid one, which costs between $39 and $99.
Tracks: You can access ExpertTracks for a monthly subscription fee of $39. It also provides a 7-day free trial before your first monthly charge.
Microcredentials: Microcredentials are more expensive than short courses, and their price range is between $600 and $1,500.
Online degrees: The cost of FutureLearn’s Online and Postgraduate degrees is not stated on the website, and you may have to request a quote.
- Integrates free courses at no extra cost
- Course quality and content are top-notch
- Features a user-friendly and simplistic interface
- Offers Course upgrades for certificate inclusion
- Partners with leading universities and recognized associations to deliver high-quality course modules and accredited certificates
- Lacks a mobile app
- The short course catalogue is limited
- Software and online marketing courses are limited
Conclusion: Are FutureLearn Courses Worth it?
Absolutely yes! It is a well-put-together MOOC platform that prioritizes quality course delivery. Although it is similar to other MOOC platforms like Coursera and edx, it has its unique features, including an excellent discussion board. Hence, it is more interactive than most MOOC platforms.
It also makes lots of up-to-standard free courses available that you can take to groom your skills and expertise. You also benefit from expert teaching and accredited certificates that are internationally accepted. The pricing system is quite reasonable, too, offering a monthly subscription and a one-time-payment yearly subscription. And with paid courses, you get lifetime access to all study materials.
Though the short course catalogue falls short, the course category and program selection are rich. So if there is a course on FutureLearn that tickles your fancy, it is worth giving it a shot!
Interested in learning more about other platforms? Check out other reviews:
I am an economist responsible for Marketing and SEO strategies at Classpert. I usually write about entrepreneurship, e-learning platforms, marketing, SEO, stock trading, and related subjects.