How to choose the right online course for you

In this post get some tips and tricks for choosing the right online course for you.

It’s really important to find the right online course for you. Starting a course that doesn’t suit you can quickly put you off learning and knock your confidence. But when there are thousands of online courses, how can you choose just one?

Here’s some simple advice you can follow to find the course that’s a good fit for you.

1. Decide your own criteria

Step one is deciding what you want from a course. Do you want a course to improve your skills for work? Or a course that is endorsed by a professional body? Or maybe a course just to pass the time? Maybe you know which topic you want to study, or maybe you don’t.

Before you start looking for a course, try to establish exactly what you want or need from it. Try and answer these questions:

  • Are you learning for work or for fun?
  • How long can you spend learning a week?
  • Are you looking to develop a specific skill, if so, what is it?
  • What topics are you especially interested in?

Graphic of binoculars

2. Spend some time exploring

Now you have a clearer idea of what you need from a course, spend some time browsing courses. On FutureLearn you might want to look through our category pages, or if you know the topic or area you’re interested in, you might want to search directly. Choose courses that match as many of your criteria as possible.

If you find several courses that meet your criteria, don’t worry. Open up each course page and then…

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3. Read the course description(s) thoroughly

This step is one of the most important. Take some time to read all course descriptions thoroughly, making sure you understand what the course is about, what’s on the syllabus and what you’ll learn by the end of the course.

It’s also important at this point to find out exactly who the course is for, so you can ensure it’s the right level for you. On FutureLearn we have a wide range of courses – from those for people with no experience of a subject to those for people who are already working in the field. You don’t want to end up on a course which doesn’t match your experience.

Graphic of a laptop

4. Narrow down your choices using your criteria

After you’re familiar with what the courses cover and who they’re for, you need to check them against the criteria you set out in step one. Which course best meets your needs?

If you find you have a few courses that meet the criteria, you will need to judge whether you have the time to join and keep up with all of them. If you don’t think you can, you can always bookmark them to start later (most courses on FutureLearn run multiple times a year) or upgrade a course, to get ongoing access to it.

Graphic of a graduate cap

5. Start learning!

You’ve browsed, you’ve read the small print, you’ve checked the criteria and, if it’s all gone to plan, you should have a course lined up. The only thing left to do is get started!

If the course doesn’t start for a little while, add a reminder to your calendar or make a note in your diary, so you’re ready when it does start.

Category Learning

Comments (82)


  • Waseem Michael Adam

    I want to equalize my certificate (electrical engineer/specialist in electronics & communications) from university of Mosul in Iraq with the certificate of well-known university in UK by online examinations if it’s possible.

  • Zhanna


  • Ephraim Selasie Yawlui

    occupational health and safety is what I want to learn. Any help available for me?

  • Samuel Mamza

    I wanna learn Spanish & German

  • Elsadig Imam

    I wanna study Spanish Language

  • Momodou sowe

    I want to study

    • Momodou sowe


  • Dr.Muhammad Arif Rana

    I would like to request to respected future learn to remind me about successfully completion of my 25 online distance home based education training and it’s total cost of certificates/transcripts due to professional information about courses towards human resources and human life development.
    With kind regards.
    Dr.Muhammad Arif Rana
    December 02-2018-Tuesday-08:04 PM.

  • Ahmad mahamoud ali

    so reading very lessan

  • Doug Niel

    These are great tips. As I have started to take more courses I have become better at narrowing my own criteria. I have been using a rubric I found on this blog post:

    It does a good job of helping me organize what is really important before I move to step 5!

  • Tatiana

    I can’t fìnd Italian2 Vivace . Please, help!

  • Sonam Pelden

    Just started using future learn so I’m super confused right now….kindly of overwhelmed :p have no idea where to start from!!