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FutureLearn Announces Microcredentials under the Common Microcredential Framework

While steps are being taken to allow students to earn academic credit through MOOCs, ultimately, it’s the receiving institution that decides whether to recognize the microcredential’s credit.

What is a microcredential?

A common complaint about MOOCs is that they can rarely be used to earn academic credit. And when they can, the credit is typically only recognized by a limited number of universities.

In July 2019, we reported on the Common Microcredentials Framework (CMF), introduced by the European MOOC Consortium. The CMF aims to increase recognition of MOOCs and improve credit mobility through MOOCs.

FutureLearn has introduced several microcredentials within this framework that can be used to earn academic credit. More will likely be made available in the future. Courses need to reach specific standards:

  • Total study time, including assessment, to be between 100 and 150 hours;
  • Be at level 6-7 in the European Qualification Framework (EQF) or the university’s national qualification framework, or at level 4-5 and meet European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System criteria;
  • Provide a summative assessment so academic credit can be awarded, either upon completion or via recognition of prior learning when the student enrolls at a university;
  • Conduct a reliable, compliant form of ID verification;
  • Include a transcript setting out learning outcomes, total study hours, EQF level and number of credit points earned.

It is a confusing field, with some courses advertising CMF points and others mentioning UK or Australian credits. Although the CMF is mentioned on the microcredentials page, students still have to apply to their university to apply for credit transfer for courses taken through other universities.

Name University Cost Credit Points
Cyber Security Operations (Cisco CCNA) The Open University £600 15 UK credits


Data Science: Data-Driven Decision Making Monash University £742 6 AUS credits


Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio The Open University £450 10 UK credits


FinTech – Financial Innovation Dublin City University £1200
5 ECTS credits
Project Management: Managing Front-End Planning QUT £990 12 AUS credits


Teacher Training: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum The Open University £450 10 UK credits


Research Methods Deakin University £742 1 unit Postgraduate*
Sports Coaching Deakin University £920 1 unit Postgraduate**

*equal to one unit of postgraduate study at both Deakin and Griffith University (Australia)
**equal to one unit of postgraduate study at Deakin University (Australia)

Some microcredentials can be audited for free while others are pay-only. Credit points are only available if you pay.

And by making discussions a central component of each course, FutureLearn is promoting its belief in the power of social learning.

FutureLearn Microcredentials currently provide 10 to 15 UK academic credits or equivalent. Some also confer professional certificates such as a Certificate in Photography from The Royal Photographic Society.

By contrast, not all FutureLearn Programs confer academic credit or are professionally accredited. Some offer a FutureLearn Award or certificate of completion.

According to a report by Class Central, at the end of 2019 there was a total of 820 MOOC-based microcredentials, of which FutureLearn contributed 49.

Note that while steps are being taken to allow students to earn academic credit through MOOCs, the path is still not straightforward. Under CMF, microcredentials work in a similar way to standard university courses: ultimately, it’s the receiving institution that decides whether to recognize the microcredential’s credit.

Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 150+ MOOCs completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

Comments 1

  1. Christopher Hawley

    It’s a real mess. The snobby and arrogant values of most universities is going to make this very difficult. Until big companies get on board and start offering their own credentials, universities will continue to fuck people around as much as possible.

    If employers gave more creed to young people or other professionals who have studied, let’s imagine….Microsoft “Project Management”…or….Morgan Stanley “The future of A.I”…or ….”Nestle Productivity Skills”….just to invent a few names and courses….then universities would finally have to compete instead of simply charging 100k and demanding that everyone stops working for 3 to 5 years to get a degree in something that for many with working experience is just common sense.

    We live in a world of total disruption, and that ain’t gonna change for a decade or so, and with A.I being able to do a lot of jobs already and encroaching on almost every profession, people’s soft skills need to be given far more recognition.

    Medicine, Engineering, Science…require universities, labs, lots of expert training etc…but understanding finance ffs…this can easily be done through books and hard work in the relevant indsutry…so why not offer real recognition for this?

    Banks are under serious threat from Fintechs, so why don’t they use the minimum of intelligence that they still have and use their big names to offer professionalisation courses and industry-recognised certificates…they could actually learn how to be innovative and helpful instead of just preaching it while bringing economies down and wiritng their own death ceritifcates into the bargain.

    MOOCs are a great idea. They are the future…but unfortunately they are not the present yet coz of the closed minds of business and the selfsihness and greed of universities and their thousands of theoretical experts.

    Keep pressuring them guys…they’ll only get their acts together if they are constantly evaluated, criticized, helped, motivated etc.

    Few millionaires ever needed to go to university, these boys and girls had their own strategies and vision…so why the f.. do we need to have long university courses in entrepreneurialism, business strategy etc?


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