How do FutureLearn courses work?

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Written by Pat Bowden Last updated on March 21st, 2023

Looking for a listing of FutureLearn courses?

FutureLearn is an online education provider that offers online courses, popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, from top universities in the UK and around the world. Currently, FutureLearn boasts an active catalog of around 2000 online courses created by these partner institutions.

FutureLearn courses consist of pre-recorded video lectures and readings that you can work through on a weekly schedule or when it's convenient for you. They also have student discussions on most pages of the course. Some have online practice quizzes, homework or assignments. Official tests or exams are only available for students who pay for certification.

Most FutureLearn courses are free to access for the length of the course. If you want unlimited access or access to tests and exams and earn a course Certificate, you will need to pay for an upgrade. Or, you can join FutureLearn Unlimited to be eligible to earn certificates in most courses, but not ExpertTracks or paid upfront courses.

Class Central has, however, found some courses that offer a free upgrade and digital certificate. See FutureLearn Courses That Still Offer Free Certificates.

FutureLearn also offers 24 online degrees and more than 180 microcredentials, including academic certificates, ExpertTracks and programs, which are made up of groups of courses in a specific field. Some programs finish with a final assessment.

Some FutureLearn courses are available on a paid-only basis. These are indicated by a small green $ symbol on the Class Central information page. Many are specialist courses for professionals already working in the field who want further education in particular topics.

FutureLearn ExpertTracks are groups of courses in specific fields. They are subscription-based, with a 7-day free trial period.

Class Central's Help Center represents our best effort to answer the most common questions new learners face. It may not be completely accurate in every circumstance.

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