FutureLearn’s Head of Community, David Thair, shares his top five tips for getting the most out of our social learning features.
At FutureLearn, learning through conversation is important to us.
That’s why you can leave comments and have a conversation on almost every step of our courses.
Just scroll to the bottom of a step, or press the comments link.
If you’re new to FutureLearn or to social learning, making sense of lots of comments might seem like a lot to manage.
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 on a course.
If you haven’t already, you should add some information to your FutureLearn profile–just like our example learner above.
Your profile can only be seen by logged in learners. It isn’t public and it won’t be found by search engines unless you untick the box on the Edit profile page.
You could include the country you live in, your hobbies and interests, or why you’re taking courses on FutureLearn.
You should also add a profile picture. If you don’t, a coloured logo is created from your initials, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a lot more fun to talk to a friendly face.
2. Join the conversation
Write 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 another learner’s question.
If you don’t feel confident writing, you can encourage others and share your views by ‘liking’ a comment instead.
You are not expected to write a comment on every step or even read every comment (that could take a while!).
Instead, just read as many comments as you wish, and use the next three tips to make organising them easier.
3. Follow educators and learners you find interesting
If you notice a learner who writes comments you enjoy, you can follow them to find their comments more easily.
There’s a follow button on each profile and next to every comment.
It’s a good idea to do this for the educators on your course too. That way, you can quickly see what they’ve been saying to learners on the step you’re viewing. We’ll explain how in the next section.
And don’t worry, when someone follows you, they do not get notifications about your personal activity.
4. Organise 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:
As there are sometimes a lot of comments, it can help to filter how you read them.
The show button lets you choose which comments you see on the step. The default is all comments.
Choosing show: following will show you only comments by people you are following.
Read a comment that you’d like to come back to later?
Just press the bookmark button on the comment, and use the bookmarked filter to see any comments you have bookmarked on that step.
You can also choose to only see your own comments by choosing the your comments filter.
The sort by button lets you choose the order you want to see the comments in.
The default is the newest comments first. You can also choose to sort by most liked to see the comments and conversations that other learners found useful or interesting on that step.
5. Get involved
This is the most important tip!
If you’ve never made a comment or replied to someone else’s, you should definitely give it a try.
I have a hunch that after you’ve received your first reply, you’ll find plenty more things to say.
Even if you don’t feel you have something to contribute all the time, giving other people’s comments a few ‘likes’ will help everyone to find the most useful interactions.
If you’d like to put these tips into action, go back to your courses and start commenting, liking and replying in the discussions there.
Ready to start learning? Browse all of our courses.