FutureLearn Review: Are FutureLearn Courses Worth Your Time and Money?

FutureLearn Review

FutureLearn is a UK-based online learning platform that offers a wide selection of virtual courses. The platform was founded in 2012, FutureLearn is owned by the UK’s Open University and works in collaboration with big-name universities to create accredited courses to its students. Open University’s decades of experience in distance education is the greatest USP for FutureLearn.

FutureLearn started off with 12 University partners, which included the Open University, Kings College London, University of Birmingham, University of Leeds, University of Southampton, The University of Bristol, University of Exeter, Cardiff University, University of Warwick, University of East Anglia, St. Andrews University, and Lancaster University.

FutureLearn Review: How FutureLearn works

FutureLearn certifications are grouped into short courses, “in-depth programs,” and online degrees. You can sign up and study several FutureLearn free online courses. However, you will be required to pay fee if you want to “upgrade” the course by completing final assessment and earn a certificate. This is the same model used by Coursera and eDX, where you get to “test the water” with basics before committing your money to the course.

Broadly speaking, FutureLearn courses are grouped as follows:

Short Courses

FutureLearn’s short online courses take anywhere from 2 to 7 weeks to complete when you dedicate a few hours per week to learning. And you can sign up for more than one short course at a time, should you wish to do so.

FutureLearn In-depth programs

These are made up of several short courses that add up to help you realize a specific goal. They are equivalent to the “specializations” that are offered by Coursera. FutureLearn’s in-depth programs vary in length and time commitment, ranging from short programs that are made up of three to five courses and taking several months to a year to complete.

FutureLearn Degree Programs

FutureLearn’s degree programs include online MBAs as well as a range of post-graduate certifications. While FutureLearn does not mention anything about undergraduate degrees, a good chunk of its courses seem to target learners who already have some form of degree.

FutureLearn Courses Review: Subject areas covered by FutureLearn

FutureLearn courses range from History to Business and Management, Psychology, Law, Health, Teaching, and Literature among others. As already mentioned, these courses are offered in collaboration with different universities. As such, upon successful completion of your course, you will be awarded with an internationally recognized degree.

FutureLearn learning methodologies.

FutureLearn utilizes the following methodologies to help learners achieve their learning objectives:


FutureLearn quizzes are designed to help you master course material in a fun way. You can take the quizzes as multiple times as you wish. However, it is important to note that no marks are counted for arriving at the total course score.


Students can only take the tests once upon opting for an upgrade of their courses. The test scores are added to the overall course scores and learners have the chance to attempt each question up to three times.


FutureLearn’s exercises are designed to help you put your learning into practice. The score generated from these exercises do not add up to your overall score.


Assignments are an important part of the coursework that you are required to complete. Once you submit your assignment, you cannot access and edit it. All assignments are pulled together, so learners can review each other’s’ assignments.

How Much Does FutureLearn Courses Cost?

You can access FutureLearn short courses for free. However, this does not come with certificates that cost around $39 to $99. You can also access Premium FutureLearn courses for free before paying between $100 to $400 for the certificate. FutureLearn’s Micro-credentials and online degrees are the most expensive, usually starting at $600.

Learners have three payment plans when it comes to FutureLearn courses:

  1. FREE Plan – you can access FutureLearn courses for free. However, this plan only grants you access to the course materials with no certificate upon completion.
  2. UPGRADE Plan – This plan allows you to get a fully accredited certificate upon completing your course. It also allows you to access course tests if there are any.
  3. UNLIMITED Plan – This is an annual subscription plan that gives you unlimited access to the entire platform’s short courses as well as their tests. It also comes with all the benefits of the “Upgrade Plan.”

FutureLearn’s Unlimited Plan

FutureLearn’s Unlimited Plan costs $270 per annum and in an excellent alternate to the “Upgrade” plan if you are considering taking multiple courses on the platform. Not only will you access a wide range of courses, but you will also get an accredited certificate for each course you complete.

FutureLearn courses review: How do FutureLearn courses feel like?

Overall, FutureLearn courses are quite similar to online courses on other platforms like Coursera. These courses comprise of reading materials as well as video tutorials, with test and assignments provided at the end of each topic. The course syllabi are quite easy to scan through, and the overall user experience at FutureLearn is certainly one of the best.

FutureLearn Limited

FutureLearn Course Catalogue

As of the time of writing this review, FutureLearn has a total of 440 online courses. While the platform offers online courses on virtually all education subjects, they seem to emphasize on the following subjects:

  • Business and Management
  • Science, Math and Engineering
  • Healthcare and Medicine
  • Teaching

So, are FutureLearn courses worth your time and money?

Definitely yes. FutureLearn courses are excellent. Learning online with FutureLearn is a wonderful experience thanks to the overwhelmingly supportive community of fellow learners, carefully designed curricula, and dedicated instructors. As a learner on FutureLearn, you will have access to a student forum from where you can interact with co-learners and build a great network.

FutureLearn Micro-credentials and Accreditation program

FutureLearn’s micro-credential programs are designed to validate a graduate’s competence in a specific field and upskill them for work in rapidly-growing industries without the cost and time commitment of a full degree. These programs are fully accredited and require at least 100 hours of study to complete. They are ideal for working professionals and students who want to boost their resumes and grow in their career paths.

FutureLearn micro-credential programs are special because they are among the first to meet the standards set by Europe’s new Common Micro-credential Framework. This framework was created to standardize micro-credential programs while ensuring that micr0-credential courses are created to high-quality standards. This guarantees consistency, quality, and portability across different online learning providers.

Why take a Micro-Credential program?

There are a number of benefits that come with taking a micro-credential program at FutureLearn. Here are some of them:

  1. Prestigious certificates – Micro-credentials are both time consuming and comprehensive. As such, their end-result are certificates that prove the graduate’s competence. Most employers prefer micro-credential certificates to regular online certifications.
  2. University level credit – FutureLearn’s micro-credential programs provide credit towards complete Master’s degree qualifications.
  • Project-based assessment – Micro-credential programs make it possible for a one-on-one interaction with the instructors. This ensures that student projects are valuable since they are created through a highly customized student-learner cooperation and mentorship.

Selection of micro-credential programs

Currently, FutureLearn has 32 micro-credential programs on their platform. Click here to access a full list of FutureLearn micro-credential programs.

Other FutureLearn Accreditation programs

Alongside the micro-credential programs, FutureLearn also offers alternative forms of professional and academic certifications.

8 Academic Accreditation programs

These FutureLearn programs are designed to strengthen your understanding of a specialist subject with the goal of pursuing further academic study. You will earn an academic credential from a top international university upon completing any of these programs. These programs take between 10 to 15 weeks to complete.

5  Professional Accreditation programs

These programs are designed to help professionals progress in their careers, with an opportunity to earn a credential from a leading institution. They take between 14 to 20 weeks to complete and you will earn a professional certificate upon successful completion.

Does FutureLearn give free certificates?

Yes, there are a few FutureLearn courses with free certificates. Through these courses, you can get a certificate of completion at no cost. You can find all FutureLearn free online courses here.

FutureLearn Online Degrees

FutureLearn has one of the best selection of online degrees on the web. Currently, the platform has over 34 fully accredited online degrees from 7 universities.

FutureLearn’s online bachelor degrees

FutureLearn has a fairly limited selection of bachelor’s degree courses. Currently, the platform has the following online bachelor’s degree courses:

FutureLearn’s online post graduate degrees

Currently, FutureLearn offers 14 post-graduate degrees on its platform. These programs are designed to serve as the stepping block in-between bachelor’s and master’s degrees. These programs typically take between 6 to 9 months to complete. Here are the post-graduate degrees on offer on FutureLearn:

FutureLearn’s Online Master’s Degrees

FutureLearn has a total of 17 online master’s degree programs on its platform. These courses are offered by UK and Australian universities and take between 2 to 5 years to complete depending on the intensity of study. Here are the online master’s degree programs available on FutureLearn.

FutureLearn Review: What Makes FutureLearn Stand out?

FutureLearn has many advantages over other online learning platforms. 

Here are some of the FutureLearn pros:

  1. Anyone can sign up for FutureLearn courses
  2. Courses come with plenty of flexibility
  3. Learners get to connect with each other through discussion boards
  4. You can upgrade from FutureLearn free online courses to paid courses any time
  5. You will get an accredited certificate from a recognized university upon completing your course

FutureLearn demerits

  1. You need to follow through with the course and pass your assignments and tests to graduate
  2. You need to “upgrade” and pay for the course to get your certificate
  • Most courses are quite pricey compared to other online learning providers

FutureLearn Review: Final thoughts

FutureLearn is a well put together online learning platform that offers fully accredited courses from top universities. It is possible to take FutureLearn free online courses. This is a great option of you are trying to test the waters before committing your money. Whether you are a student or professional looking to prop up your career, these popular FutureLearn courses will definitely quench your thirst for knowledge. 

We wish you a happy learning!

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