Matt Walton, our Head of Product, explains how, from today, you’ll be able to take programs of courses to earn academic credit, professional accreditation and other awards on FutureLearn.
Today, we’re launching FutureLearn programs – short series of open online courses that enable you to learn flexibly and earn recognised awards from leading institutions around the world.
This marks a significant development for FutureLearn. In addition to offering you individual online courses, we’re also giving you the opportunity take part in deeper learning experiences and gain more significant recognition for what you’ve learned.
Gain recognised awards
FutureLearn is offering a range of programs designed to suit a variety of purposes that can help you progress your career or demonstrate your academic aptitude.
Some programs allow you to earn university credit, while others offer accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or the opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to studying a topic in depth.
To complete a program and earn an award, you need to take part in a series of courses; buy a Certificate of Achievement for each course, to prove that you have successfully completed it; and, on some programs, pass a final assessment course, to demonstrate your understanding of what you’ve learned.
Start learning for free and pay as you go
Each of the courses in the programs will be offered in the usual FutureLearn way: you’ll be able to take part in the individual courses for free and buy the Certificates of Achievement once you’ve completed them.
If there is a final assessment course, you’ll only need to pay for it once you’ve completed all of the courses in the program. You can also start by joining a single course, then join the program later if you wish.
It’s up to you to when you want to start working towards an award. And with most programs, you can take the courses in any order you like, giving you the opportunity to learn at your own pace and whenever suits you.
Earn credits towards qualifications flexibly
Among the programs we’re launching today, there are several where universities will be awarding credits. Credits represent a recognised award on their own, but they can also contribute towards a degree or a professional qualification.
The programs offering credit are normally designed by universities as a pathway into the degrees they offer, giving you the opportunity to start earning credits before you commit to a full degree. If they’re at the right level and in the right subject area, the credits gained may also be recognised by other institutions (but you’ll need to check with them first).
Our goal is to make recognised higher education available in a much more flexible way that gives you more control to decide when and where to study. We want to enable you to continue to learn and gain recognised awards throughout your life, and have the opportunity to try out different subjects with a variety of providers, before you decide how much time and money you want to commit.
What programs are on offer?
13 programs are available for you to join today and we’ll be announcing many more over the coming months. Here are just a few examples to whet your appetite:
For academic credit
The University of Leeds, a member of the UK’s renowned Russell Group, will be offering a program on Environmental Challenges. Learners who successfully complete the program will be awarded 10 UK credits at undergraduate level.
Meanwhile, The Open University’s triple-accredited Business School will be offering an MBA elective on the Digital Economy, which will allow you to get a taster of its flexible MBA and start to work towards this qualification by earning 15 UK credits.
This is the first time major UK universities have offered credit via massive open online courses (MOOCs).
The Open University is also collaborating with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) to offer a program where you can earn a CMI Level 5 Award in Management and Leadership – the first step to Chartered Manager status.
For professional development
As well as programs offering credit towards formal qualifications, we’re also offering programs to help support professional development.
Genomics in Healthcare from St George’s, University of London is a series of courses to help healthcare professionals develop a deeper understanding of the rapidly developing area of genomics and gain CPD credits accredited by several Royal Colleges, such as the Royal College of General Practitioners.
The British Council is offering a program on English language teaching, to help teachers develop their professional practice.
And Australia’s RMIT University is offering a program aimed at supporting budding entrepreneurs who are starting an online business, which can also be converted into a national vocational qualification.