5 more tips and tools for social learning

Following on from his first blog post, 6 tips and tools for social learning, our social lead David Thair shares more advice on getting the most out of social learning.  

Following on from his first blog post, 6 tips and tools for social learning, our social lead David Thair shares more advice on getting the most out of social learning.  

At FutureLearn, the idea of social learning or learning through conversation is important to us. That’s why we built commenting into almost every step of a course.

If you are new to FutureLearn or to social learning, we know it can feel quite overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you feel at home.


1. Complete your FutureLearn profile

Your FutureLearn profile is what other learners can see about you when you interact with them in a course.

If you haven’t already, you should add some information to your FutureLearn profile: you might include the country or area you live in, your hobbies or interests, or why you’re taking courses on FutureLearn.

If you don’t upload a profile picture, a coloured logo is created from your initials (so Example Learner would be represented by ‘EL’). However we recommend uploading a picture so that your profile feels more friendly.

Read more about getting started with your FutureLearn profile.


2. Join the conversation

You can post a comment on almost every step on FutureLearn.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have to. You are not expected to write a comment on every step, or even read every comment on every step in a course! That would take a very long time.

But we do recommend writing a comment when you have something to say: maybe the step has prompted you to share your own experience or reflect on an idea, or perhaps you can help answer a question by another learner.

If you don’t feel confident in writing, don’t copy another person’s comments. It’s better to try and write your own.

If you just want to encourage someone, why not ‘like’ their comment instead?

Read more about getting started with comments and replies.


3. Follow interesting people

If you think someone writes interesting comments, you might wish to ‘follow’ them: press the follow button on someone’s profile or next to their comment.

Following someone makes it easy to find their comments when you use the following filter (see point 5 below).

Following works across FutureLearn, so if you and a person you are following join another course, you’ll already be following them there too.

Important: if someone follows you, they don’t ever get notifications about your activity (such as when you comment or when you join a new course). Following is only used when filtering comments.

Read more about following, followers, and finding people


4. Bookmark some comments

Read a comment that you’d like to come back to later?

Just press the bookmark button on the comment, and use the bookmarking filter (see point 5 below) when you want to find it.

Press the bookmark button again to remove it from your bookmarks.


5. Sort and filter comments

Here’s the clever part!

At the top of every comment section there are two buttons you can press to filter and sort the comments on the step:

The show button lets you choose which comments you see on the step. The default is ‘all comments’.

The sort by button lets you choose the order you want to see the comments in. The default is ‘newest’ comments first.

If you choose sort by: most liked you can quickly see the comments and conversations that other learners found useful or interesting on that step.

To find comments by people you are following, use the filter show: following. This will show you comments on that step by people you are following, as well as the rest of the conversation if their comment is part of one.

To find comments that you have bookmarked on that step, use the filter show: bookmarked.

To find your own comments on the step, use the filter show: your comments.


I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Have you picked up any other social learning tips? If so, please share them in the comments below.

Want to suggest new social features for FutureLearn? Visit our suggestions and feedback forum to make suggestions and vote on them.

Ready to start learning? Browse all our courses.

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Comments (105)

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  • Tembeni

    Hello everyone I’m Tembi from South Africa I’m very happy to find this course I have been searching for. I’m a nurse and a counsellor, Im hoping to get more tips in helping patients health through adherence in medication.

  • Michael Mclymore

    I am Michael McLymore and I joined this course to improve my communication with others through thoughtful conversation

  • Maureen Ogoo Offor

    Hello Guys, I am Maureen from West African. I joined this course to better my life and life of others outside there. Happy to meet you guys.

  • omar

    Hello,everyone, my name is Omer i am from ethiopia i am very happy to join here

  • sylvia

    Hello, everyone. My name is Sylvia. I come from China. I am a college student. I cherish this chance to learn new knowledge and meet you here.

  • Meg

    My name is Meg, and I am from Australia. I live in the nation’s capital Canberra. I love that I am joining such a diverse student body. In addition to learning the course material, I look forward to learning a little more about my fellow students, your homes, your countries, and your stories.

  • NAOMI

    My name is Bawine A-Ayaa Naomi and I am from West Africa, Ghana to be precise. I am happy to join the course because it will help me to better my writing, reading and communication skills in English as well as coming out with excellent IELTS acedimic results.thank you

  • irma santa ana

    Hello I am Irma, I am a teacher and I live in Villa del Carbon, State of Mexico, It´s a beautiful country near the forest, I like farm animals and horses, I have got 3 siblings Sergi is 29, Miguel is 27 and my little love Shantal, she is 8 an I am 49, I am keen on this course in order to catch up on these topics, I want to be better, on the other hand, I know that I have to improve my English.

  • anwar

    My name is anwar i am from jordan i am very excited to learn english i know a little bit but i want to speak flunet i hope that

  • Nelson

    My name is Nelson i am very interested in entrepreneurship for you people …i have a small business in South Africa .hoping to learn more from other people here thanks

  • Haroun

    Hi this is Haroun im new here this is my first comment also really im very happy to be one of the member British Council when i red these tips gave me more motivation

  • Humphrey

    Hi All, I’m a microbiologist with a public health background, interested in exploring the changing roles and emerging trends in global humanitarianism in a world faced with worsening global challenges today. It will be my pleasure to work with you all as we all journey in this together.

  • Ebi Rebecca

    Hi everyone i am into management and entrepreneurship, my aspiration is to become a certified entrepreneur to be able to train other young emerging entrepreneurs.

  • Jillian Clarke

    Hi everyone, looking forward to learning with you all. I am a midwife and I hope to utilise the knowledge and skills I acquire in this course to facilitate some major changes within my work environment

  • Louay

    Hi there, this is Louay, it’s not the first online course, but the last courses i didn’t completed.
    Now i’ll make it seriously.
    Best wishes all of you.

  • ARIZA ROCHA

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Ariza and my wish is to learn about the situation the refugees. Best regards.

  • Tamvo

    Hi every body,
    I am Tamvi, i am very excite to join the course with all of you and hope to have opportunity to improve my English to prepare for living in American next two years. Bye

  • Kalyani Gowariker Paranjape

    Hello everybody ! We shall be communicating with each other very often, once the course starts. Till then, bye bye !