What does the future of learning look like?

Looking forward to our next ten million learners with Simon Nelson, Chief Executive at FutureLearn.

At FutureLearn, we’re ambitious with our vision for the future of education.

Since being founded by The Open University in 2012, we’ve grown to partner with over a quarter of the world’s top universities, and many other leading organisations, to offer hundreds of courses and fully online degrees. 

Now, as many of you will have seen last week, we’ve just welcomed the ten millionth FutureLearner who has signed up to learn with us. 

We announced this milestone via this blog post, which received over 150 comments from learners in just a few days.

Personally, I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the comments shared.

Everyone in the FutureLearn team is driven by a desire to open up education, and these kind of learner stories bring home to us what an impact we’re having all around the world.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share the impact FutureLearn has had on their life. You are what inspires us to stick to our goal–to transform access to education.

What’s next for FutureLearn

One of the values we instill in our team members is to think big and we’re already looking at how we welcome our next ten million learners.

As the world becomes increasingly digital and the way we prefer to consume education changes, we predict things may advance rapidly.

Our analysis shows demand for adult education globally is predicted to rise by 14 million new students every year from now until 2030. If they were all to be educated face-to-face, this would require 13 new universities to be built every week, 700 each year, each serving around 20,000 students.

That’s simply not going to happen.

While campus-based education will continue to play the leading role for those who can afford it, we need to look beyond this to help as many people as possible get access to the education they need.

We believe that online learning is the only way to reach those people in ways that can meet their needs. 

Even in our relatively short history, we’ve seen how rapid digital change presents new challenges and adds growing strain to the adult education sector on a global scale.

Alongside the long standing skills gaps in areas such as education and healthcare, the globalisation and digitisation of multiple industries has created enormous demand for skills to fulfill jobs that simply didn’t exist ten years ago.

The impact of artificial intelligence on these industries, and on society in general, is only going to further widen the gaps. Once thought of as a ‘nice to have’, the reality now is that lifelong learning is vital for employers and employees who need to upskill and reskill effectively.

We’re excited about the opportunity these changes present: to open up access to high-quality learning and to start to close skills gaps. We’re passionate about doing this in order to help you, our learners, to get access to skills you need and subjects you just love. 

We hope you’ll agree that we’ve built a fantastic platform for learning and that our partners create some of the highest quality courses there are on the web.

We’re working with those university and industry partners to transform the flexibility, accessibility, and credibility of their courses, breaking down degrees into smaller units and short courses that can fit alongside the other time pressures of non-traditional students.

Our founders, The Open University, have worked tirelessly to support us in our mission, and this year we were excited to welcome the SEEK group as our joint shareholders, who have brought significant investment and a range of strengths and capabilities that can support us in increasing our reach to learners across the globe.

Our purpose remains to transform access to education, and this ten million learner milestone poses a good opportunity for us to stop and reflect on how far we, and online education, have come in a short amount of time.

The challenges we face are great, but the opportunities are greater.

Through collaboration, and rapid action, we can work to further seize these chances to truly change lives worldwide and build the future of learning, together.

We hope you’ll continue with us on this journey and that we’ll be reporting our next ten million learners in the very near future! 

Category Learning, General, FutureLearn news

Comments (23)

  • Li Lya


  • Mario Massanga

    I bilive that here we will become people whit more knowledge.

  • Karim Bakhsh Amiry

    ever since i took my first course in this online platform in 2016, I have enhanced or built my understanding regarding to areas of my interest. I have to confess, that this platform is one of the best online one having different series of courses on different subjects. The materials used in courses of this website are really useful and good to share with others. Well, I can say futureLearn was like a roadway for me to get to my goals partially, and the rest will be my own efforts.
    Thanks to FutureLearn team.

  • frank glover

    Having already completed several course ranging from Fracking to What is a mind, I can only endorse and admire the aims of FL…I am a committed adult learner and believe passionately that it is incumbent on leaders in the field to promote and encourage people to improve their life quality through self development and awareness, particularly in todays volatile and unsettling political atmosphere. My latest quote “fear is not a good guide to political wisdom” ….rationality, reasoning, reflecting seem to be in short demand !

  • Daniel Mekonnen

    Yes, as you have said, you’ve built a fantastic platform of learning.

    It is mentioned that the challenges you face are great. But, beyond the opportunities, I’m sure you do have the courage and the capacity to challenge every challenge.

    I always wish best success for future learn.

  • Trevor Ryan

    I have loved and benefited learning from Future Learn. I hope you will be able to continue, even if it means splitting up the initial team.


    Its really greats ambition for health to reach to low income earners as declare in Al mata convention 1978. health for all. I feel very happy to have this training and I will make sure that health reach to people with need


    So grateful for the opportunity given to study any course and hopefully to see whats next
    Thank you FL


    I agree online learning of futurelearn is a fantastic platform for me who has enough time to study outdoor. I love learning and believe that continuous learning makes one’s life perfect. As I would like to change my career life, I decided to learn English for the profession. I’m keen on teaching too.Besides, I want to support my daughters’ learning English.Learning from futurelearn is a great opportunity for me. Learning systems and techniques are very systematic to transform access to education. It is also a good opportunity for the learners across the globe.I support that lifelong learning is vital for employers,employees and parents who need to upskill ane reskill effectively. I’ll continue the future of learning together with the educators of futurelearn.The courses of futurelearn are the best way to get access the slills we need and subjects we just love. I appreciate futurelearn and please go ahead forever.


    I’m a mother of three teenagers and sometimes is impossible for me to dedicate time and money to study outside my house, I love learning and I feel so fortunate I can study from home. Thank you so much for providing these tools for people like me.

  • Elisabeth Hind

    Having recently completed my twelfth FL course I never cease to be amazed by the amount of input and support from universities around the world, and by the sheer volume of work that enables these courses to happen.
    So THANK YOU Future Learn!

  • Sue Chapman

    Future Learn has made it much easier to participate in studying the things that we like. It is great for old and young alike. It helps us to keep our brain cells active which has got to be a positive step. I have done quite a few courses now which has given me the love of learning back into my life. So Congratulations and keep going!!

  • Olga Dianova

    Thanks to Futurelearn! I’ve been your student for several years. Your team and your aim worth respect. Looking forward to participate your programm in future!

  • gpcus

    I think FutureLearn offer is, as of now, shallow and unappealing, far behind Edx and Swayam\NpTel… I guess there is a lot of room for improvement so best of luck

  • Audrey Ampofo

    I am grateful for joining this website and looking forward to what happens next.

  • Taiwo

    Congratulations on d achievement and for putting smile on my face ,am learning new things every day,it wonderful

    • Dad ali

      I wish to learn more

  • Shivaram phuyal



    Congratulations, the vision of the futurelearn has come to be by reaching out to millions under this platform by educating through digital technology. More rewarding years.

  • Gertrude Mtenga

    Great!I am glad to learn about your achievement.Congratulations!


    Congratulations ! What an achievement in such a short time. Technology has opened up a window for educating all ages in different situs young/old. I have recently joined & find the courses are fantastic spreading knowledge & opening up the old brain cells.
    Well done again.

  • Loueen Bainger

    FL has been a most wonderful learning experience for me. My education was initially a Business based. I always knew I wanted to learn more and FL has given me that opportunity. I thank you sincerely.

  • Bernard

    I have been learning using future learn platform on my favourite course writing fiction offered by Open University in which I have learned great skills on how to create a character. Thanks