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. We’ve put a handy checklist together, which you can print and fill in to help you work out some criteria.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ready to find a course? Browse all our courses.

P.S. Have you got a good tip for choosing a course? Let us know in the comments below.

Category Learning

Comments (68)


  • ndeye fatou FALL

    if possible I would like to start again with FUTURELEARN


    I’m learning.

    • said mursal

      i’m learning this course, if possible i would start

  • Kaputula Watson

    Good enough & clear. I want to enroll for my second course with future learn..I feel very motivated after the first course with you on setting up district eye care team (cataract & comprehensive community eye care screening)
    Thanks future Learn

  • Maria

    I have found FutureLearn through research and I’m sooo happy to have found you!! I am very excited to have started a class and am ready to get on the next one!

    Thank you to FutureLearn and Glasgow for these opportunities!!


  • catherine chisunkha

    Thank you future learners …I would like more courses on cancer

  • Lê Tươi

    I really like with many people because everybody will help me study!!

  • Waleeda

    I love to learn guidance and councellin.thank for your support.

  • Abida Chohan

    Thanks.Now it’s very easy to choose a course.I’ll be with you early with my fourth course of future learn.

  • Ingyinn Oo

    I like to study about public health.

  • Maia Kratsashvili

    Thank you for great advice. It was very helpful to me. There is so many interesting courses and we don’t know what to start from… This way we get the real chance to meet our goal, to start and get it done.

  • Gilson

    I’ d like something about parasitology or Trypanosoma cruzi, in particular. There could be also courses about biostatistics to help me understand my research results. Thank you.

  • Mohamed ali

    Wonderful thank u

  • Mohamed ali

    It is very clear and beneficial explanation

  • Philip Neale

    suspect as usual this a no reply service
    From the ” old gits parade” appraoching retirement:
    Nothing here I can see for continued education along the horticultural side. ( growing food)
    UK Royal Horticultrial Society RHS courses are so expensive Couldnt there be primer ? Those latin names.

  • Maria

    Thank you Future learn! This education opportunity is wonderful.

    I would like to improve my English skills learning from Tourism, Events management and public relations topics. Also, to learn skills to become an English teacher as a second language for kids.

  • Fazeelat

    I would like to improve my english because I want to clear my ilets exam.

  • Kosoko Grace Omobolaji

    Yes.. thank you very much.. I will like to take a course in Mass communication.

  • Igiraneza

    I need to learn Spanish from the beginning, can I have a course about it?

  • Giuliana

    I’d like to improve my english language (level b1) . I want to learn Whit course about modern and contemporaney history.

    • Gladys

      I would like to improve my english skills and know about estrategies for teaching it.