Early in 2020, FutureLearn launched several courses offering credit under the European Common Microcredentials Framework (CMF). While FutureLearn continues to release free courses without certificates, their catalog of paid microcredentials and degrees is also increasing. While some taster courses are available for free, there is no free audit option for most of the courses that make up degrees and for-credit microcredentials.
The number of active courses on the platform increased to 1158 (up from 883 last year). Data collected by Class Central shows that FutureLearn launched 233 new courses in 2020.
Below, you can see FutureLearn’s top ten courses launched in 2020, in terms of enrollments. Despite only launching this year, COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus even became one of FutureLearn’s all-time top-20 courses. It’s no surprise that courses about COVID-19 and mental health feature prominently in the 2020 list.
The number of microcredentials and programs has ballooned from 35 in 2019 to 68 in late 2020.
Unlike most single FutureLearn courses and programs, microcredentials do not have a free audit option and learners need to apply to join. They are not included in FutureLearn Unlimited.
Although not complete university qualifications, some microcredentials are eligible for credits under the European Common Microcredential Framework and can confer credit towards a degree. Check the FutureLearn pages for details.
In 2020, the number of microcredentials with university credit has risen from 3 to 30 (6 undergraduate and 24 postgraduate). Credits are offered by the university providing the course and students who want to transfer the credit over to a different university are advised to consult their university for recognition of prior study.
Two further microcredentials offer a certificate but not academic credit.
Generally, courses that make up FutureLearn Programs can be audited for free but you need to pay or join FutureLearn Unlimited to receive a certificate for individual courses. The final assessment for a program involves a separate fee: “Passing the final assessment unlocks the academic or professional recognition associated with completing an entire FutureLearn program, plus a FutureLearn Award.” Some programs confer credit if you want to apply for further study at the university offering the program.
36 programs are listed, up from 32 in 2019, although not all courses are currently open for enrollment.
FutureLearn currently lists 91 university partners as well as 75 specialist organizations such as the British Council and Amnesty International. 5 Centres of Excellence and 31 Associate Partners are also listed.
As a UK-based platform, FutureLearn partners with many British and Australian universities. But some institutions from across Europe, the US, and some other countries are also featured.
Pandemic Response & Impact
Like other MOOC providers, FutureLearn greatly increased its numbers of learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some courses offered upgrades, which include certificates, for free.
In May, FutureLearn Schools was introduced, offering school students aged 13 and over free upgrades to hundreds of courses until September 2020. FutureLearn Campus allowed students and staff of partner universities to upgrade courses for free, also until the end of September.
FutureLearn CEO to Step Down
In July, inaugural CEO Simon Nelson announced his resignation, effective at the end of 2020. His successor has not yet been announced.
 The numbers represent the total number of courses offered in that particular year.
 Graduate and Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are listed under academic certificates, not under degrees.
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