FutureLearn Review (2024 Upd.) Is it Really Worth Your $$$?

Last Updated on June, 2024

Is FutureLearn legit? Yes, FutureLearn is a legit platform owned by the Open University and Seek Ltd and rated 4.7 out of 5 stars in Trustpilot. 

FutureLearn delivers comprehensive courses in various subjects, such as Business Management, IT, Language, Psychology, Teaching, and more!

It offers free (under conditions) and paid courses with formal credentials and certifications. 

This guide will give you a UNBIASED FutureLearn Review to learn about the courses, pricing policies, content structure, instructors, and more details!

 Overall: 4.8/5
future learn platform logo
4.7
Easiness
4.8
Effectiveness
4.8
Price
Features
  • Free and Paid Options
  • Wide range of subjects from top universities and institutions
  • Accessible Anywhere
  • Microcredentials and Degrees
  • Flexible Learning
  • Learning Tracks
  • SEE WHAT’S MORE
Brand Information
  • FutureLearn was launched in December 2012
  • Owned by The Open University in the UK, with SEEK Ltd holding minority shares
  • Collaborates with over 250 universities and organizations
  • Aims to transform access to education through enjoyable and accessible learning experiences
Product Benefits
  • FutureLearn promotes peer interaction in all courses
  • User-friendly interface with well-organized content and navigation
  • Active and encouraged use of discussion boards
  • Limited but high-quality free certificate programs
  • Offers accredited online degrees

About FutureLearn

a screenshot of the the futurelearn online learning platform homepage

FutureLearn is a London-based online learning platform offering over 3000+ courses for students in various subjects. 

Even though FutureLearn was founded in 2012, it is one of the most competitive Edtech companies in the UK. It offers many classes, from small courses to degree and master-level online programs.

The following are the main subject areas FutureLearn covers:

  • Business & Management
  • Creative Arts & Media
  • Healthcare & Medicine
  • History
  • IT & Computer Science
  • Language
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Nature & Environment
  • Politics & Society
  • Psychology & Mental Health
  • Science, Engineering & Maths
  • Study Skills
  • Teaching

Is FutureLearn recognized? Yes, FutureLearn is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars in Trustpilot. 

Is FutureLearn Accredited?

Yes, FutureLearn programs are accredited. They offer accredited certificates issued by reliable and authentic institutes and universities. FutureLearn and the institute that developed the course offer accreditation. 

They have partnered with leading organizations, namely the University of Adelaide and Trinity College Dublin, to expand the fields of studies they provide.

a screenshot of some futurelearn partnered world class institutions

Who Owns FutureLearn?

In 2019, FutureLearn was entirely owned by the Open University in the UK (one of the UK’s largest Undergraduate universities) However, currently, Open University and the Seek Group own FutureLearn. Both these parties own a 50% share of the FutureLearn company. 

What is the Funding Method of FutureLearn?

FutureLearn received its initial funding from 12 UK-based founding universities and the Open University. 

As it wants to expand further, in 2019, Seek Ltd invested £50 million in funding and obtained a share of the ownership. The Seek Ltd’s funding was FutureLearn’s largest funding source so far. 

Does FutureLearn Make Money?

Yes, FutureLearn makes money based on the following methodologies:

  • Obtain fees from Online courses, Micro-Credential courses, and Online degrees learning 
  • It has subscription plans such as Monthly, Yearly, FutureLearn Unlimited, and FutureLearn for Business.
  • Takes payments for end-of-course assessments and certifications. 
  • FutureLearn Shop sells accessories and CDs. 

How Does FutureLearn Work?

FutureLearn works by providing online studies in the form of short courses, micro-credentials, and online degrees. 

Each module provides various learning materials, such as quizzes, videos, and assignments. Learners receive their digital or hard copy certifications after completing the course, tests, and final assessments.

Before enrolling in any of the programs, you can look at the overview and syllabus content (which helps to understand what you will learn). You can also test out some courses for free.

a screenshot of the course view on week 2 of an example course with a padlock symbol highlighted in the left hand navigation panel

You can enroll in some classes for free with “Limited Access.” However, certificates are excluded here. Depending on the course you enroll in, the length and the billing type (single course payment, subscription-based, monthly-based, and more) may vary. 

Who is FutureLearn for?

The following are the categories to consider to find whether FutureLearn is for you:

  • Do you want to learn a new skill? FutureLearn has many courses to improve your skills and area of expertise. 
  • Are you looking for an online degree? FutureLearn provides online degrees that cost less than expensive college degrees. 
  • Do you want to add credits for your academics? FutureLearn provides credits for some courses. If you want to add credits for your academics, FutureLearn has it!
  • Do you want to upskill your employees’ workforce? FutureLearn provides businesses with a plan to upskill their employees based on a specialized program (discussed below).

If you have a “Yes” to any of the above questions, check out FutureLearn’s courses and start today! 

What Are FutureLearn Lessons Like?

Each FutureLearn lesson differs based on the range of courses.

However, the following are the standard course materials available in these courses (may vary based on the course type):

  • Quizzes
  • Assessments
  • Video lessons, including subtitles and transcripts to support distance learning
  • 24/7 access to discussion forums to collaborate with teachers and students 
  • Readily available support services
  • FutureLearn certificate (printed and digital certificate) for paid users

Best FutureLearn Courses

FutureLearn’s course catalog is divided into four categories: Short courses, ExpertTracks, Microcredentials, and Online degrees. 

Short Courses

a screenshot of the futurelearn short online courses

Quick guidance

  • Duration: Approximately 2-4 weeks (1 hour per week)
  • No of courses available: 2000+
  • Ideal for: Students who prefer to gain expertise in a field within a short time
  • Certifications: Provide certifications upon purchase

FutureLearn’s short courses are designed for fast-paced learning. These courses are partnered with universities and accredited specialist organizations. 

You can use the “Free” or “Limited Access” plan to walk through the short-term courses, including the materials, to get a brief idea about the course.

Expert Track Courses

a screenshot of the futurelearn experttracks

Quick guidance

  • Duration: Approximately 14 weeks (2 hours per week)
  • No of courses available: 122
  • Ideal for: Learners who prefer to learn comprehensive knowledge and improve on a specified field
  • Certifications: Provide certifications upon purchase

FutureLearn’s ExpertTrack courses provide an immense experience. If you complete Expert Track courses, you will be an expert in your chosen study area. They cover high-demand and sort-after skills to empower excellent students into the industry. 

Micro-Credentials Courses

a screenshot of the futurelearn online microcredentials

Quick guidance

  • Duration: Approximately 10 weeks 
  • No of courses available: 84
  • Ideal for: Learners who prefer to gain expertise in a field within a short time but include more expertise and learning than the short-term FutureLearn’s courses. 
  • Certifications: Provide University credits

FutureLearn’s Microcredentials are special programs accredited by prominent universities. You can dive deep into the field and earn a professional or academic credential. 

Online Degree Courses

a screenshot of the futurelearn online degrees

Quick guidance

  • Duration: 1-3 years
  • No of courses available: 78
  • Ideal for: Learners who prefer to obtain an online University pathway opportunity
  • Certifications: Internationally recognized qualification

FutureLearn provides online degree courses from Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees to Postgraduate certifications. You can get an accredited degree by learning flexibility (no need to attend universities physically). 

Also, these degrees are comparatively less costly compared to college degrees. At the end of completion, you get an internationally recognized qualification. 

Who Are FutureLearn’s Instructors?

FutureLearn’s instructors are well-educated and knowledgeable professionals. The course providers are partners from the world’s top universities and organizations specialized in their field of education. 

FutureLearn’s instructor’s characteristics include the following:

  • Published authors
  • Professional researchers
  • Academics from high-ranking colleges
  • Senior professionals specialized in their field of study
  • Senior professionals with a passion for teaching
  • Experts prefer to extend the business domain

FutureLearn Pricing

a screenshot of the futurelearn pricing plans

The price of all the courses in FutureLearn may vary depending on your course type. 

However, you can enjoy shorter courses with a “Free” or “Limited Access” option (excluding FutureLearn certificates).

How Much Do FutureLearn Courses Cost?

Here’s a breakdown of the main types of programs in FutureLearn based on their pricing:

  • Short courses: You can check these short crash courses for free with a “Limited Access” option (you can view all content but no certificate). If you need the FutureLearn certificate, you can pay a one-time course fee and learn at your own pace. In that case, the average price per course is $125. You can also use the FutureLearn Monthly subscription or its Unlimited plans for short-term courses (instead of paying per course).
  • ExpertTracks: To check ExpertTrack programs for free, you can use the 7-day free trial (obtain one free trial per ExpertTrack course). Here, you need to pay $46 per month, and FutureLearn Unlimited is not accessible for this type of program. 
  • Micro-credentials: The price of a micro-credential course may depend on the number of credits offered (accredited by leading universities). For example, a 10-credit course may cost about $963. The payments are based on pay per course structure (no subscription plans are considered).
  • Online degrees: Online degrees may cost about $20,000 for one year. Also, no financial aid is available. The payments are set by paying upfront in one go or paying per program. However, the price of online degrees may vary depending on the type of degree and partner institutions. 

Here are the subscription plans of FutureLearn:

  • FutureLearn Unlimited: You can gain unlimited access to 1400+ FutureLearn programs in this subscription model. The annual subscription costs up to $244.99 per year (or has a monthly payment of $20.42). 
  • FutureLearn Monthly subscription: FutureLearn provides a monthly subscription for $39.99 per month to check with 1,400+ short-term courses. 
BEST ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM
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FutureLearn
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How Does FutureLearn Free Trial Work?

The 7-day free trial is only available for ExpertTack courses to check the full course content (excluding certificates). 

After the trial period, you will be charged the displayed amount of the course. However, you can cancel the trial anytime during the period (no charges are added).

Free trials are unavailable for FutureLearn’s short courses, micro-credentials, and degree programs. 

However, you can appeal a refund within 14 days of signing up for the courses for micro-credential and degree programs.

a screenshot of the 7 trail for futurelearn experttracks

Does FutureLearn Refund?

You can appeal a refund within 14 days of signing up for the course. It includes both payments for courses and subscriptions. 

However, the refund policy may vary based on the type of course, so please check out the FutureLearn cancellation and refund policy

Can I Buy FutureLearn As a Gift?

No, currently, you cannot purchase FutureLearn as a gift. Since the platform is expanding, let’s hope this feature will be out very soon.

FutureLearn for Businesses

a screenshot of the futurelearn for business

FutureLearn offers a business plan for businesses that want to upskill their employees. However, the prices for businesses depend on their size and goals. To get to know its business plans, you need to get in touch with them officially and figure it out. 

The following are the unique services offered for Business users in FutureLearn:

  • Ability to create course content unique for their business.
  • Ability to implement strategies based on business requirements.
  • Offer bespoke learning experience for employees’ training requirements.

Does FutureLearn Have Free Courses?

Yes, specific short online courses are offered at no cost with limited access. You can check the course content during this period, including reading materials, videos, and discussion forums. But it excludes course tests and certificates.

Also, specific modules like ExpertTrack (as discussed above) offer a trial period of 14 days to check the course materials. 

FutureLearn Certificate Reviews

a screenshot of the futurelearn certificate of achievement page

Here is some quick information on FutureLearn’s certifications.

Does FutureLearn Give Free Certificates?

Yes, FutureLearn offers free certificates for some short fields of study and accredited online courses. You can check these types of FutureLearn courses here!

Also, it teams up with organizations such as the British Council. In collaboration, it provides free certifications to students. However, this offer would be available only for a limited time. Remember, these certificates are offered at no expense. 

Are FutureLearn Certificates Recognized?

Yes, all the study programs FutureLearn offers are recognized because accredited and recognized universities and organizations offer them. Therefore, the FutureLearn certificates are highly recognized. 

Specific specializations like degree programs and micro-credential programs even offer credits. Companies will recognize most FutureLearn certificates (especially micro-credentials and online degrees) if you want to get hired.

FutureLearn Review: What Reviewers Said?

Before checking out what the students said about FutureLearn, remember that the reviews depend on each course and instructor you pick.

Here’s a review of the structure of the course:

Inspiring and Informative!
A well structured course that included links to further learning. It was inspiring and informative and directly relevant to my role as a learning assistant in FE
Kim M
Verified Futurelearn User

Kim M appreciates the course content, usefulness, and the level of knowledge the course provided him. 

Here’s an insightful review thanking the entire FutureLearn team:

Food Labeling importance
Future learn team with the coordination of EIT Foods, design a well structured course that enables common people to understand what is food product actually carrying in the packaging. Reference articles, practical exercises made this course more beneficial to take the right decision while buying food products

Hafiz A says how well the course was knowledgeable, having all the essentials, exercises, and the usefulness of enrolling in the course. However, some of the students have shown their dissatisfaction, too.

Here’s a review found on the FutureLearn platform: 

Not a Good Course.
It didn’t value for money because the its teacher just wanted to present something. He had worked on its syllabus. The are many better courses than this.

Meysam A says that the course he picked didn’t have the expected content. Therefore, check the overview and syllabus before enrolling in the pathway. 

Here’s another review about free courses:

Money making scheme
This is advertised as a ‘free course’ however they don’t make it clear until the very end that you don’t get a certificate unless you pay.
Beth S
Verified Futurelearn User

Beth S says about the disappointment of not getting a certificate for a free course. As discussed above, no certificates will be provided if the course has a “Limited Access” option. Therefore, be careful with what you pick. 

However, FutureLearn has both ups and downs, but it depends on the type of course and the institution offering it. Therefore, thoroughly research before enrolling in any course for the best study experience. 

Is FutureLearn Worth it?

Whether FutureLearn can be worth it depends on your requirements. 

For example, if you want to develop your skills for your career, add certifications to your Resume, achieve academic qualifications, or pursue a hobby, this learning platform can be the best pathway.

However, use the “Limited Access” option to walk through the course before making payments. It helps narrow down your decision on whether the course will be helpful. 

Since most of the studies are accredited, it can be worth your effort. You also get a certificate from a recognized organization for paid courses.

BEST ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM
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FutureLearn
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Pros of FutureLearn

Here are the pros and cons of using FutureLearn as your study forum:

Pros

Good Sense Of Community: Student-to-student interaction is encouraged in every FutureLearn course. Therefore, distance learning is never a task for online pupils here. It helps to overcome the sense of isolation and keep the study time interesting. FutureLearn maintains a good understanding of the community among the students.
User-Friendly User Interface: The overall user interface, navigation, course content, and the required information are located correctly. They have an easy and user-friendly navigation process, making figuring things out less complicated.
Active And Friendly Discussion Board: The discussion board is well-used and encouraged in FutureLearn. For example, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing exists here. Therefore, the discussion boards are continuously overloaded with learnings, queries, and clarifications. 
Offer Free Certificate Courses: Even though the collection of free certificate programs is limited, they are top-notch and worth it. It is an excellent opportunity for individuals who can’t afford a paid course and still paves the way for the development of new skills. 
Recognized Online Degrees: FutureLearn provides recognized and accredited online degrees for students. It has some of the best online degrees in the world. It also has many online degrees fitting various fields and distance education requirements. 
Well-Defined And Structured Course Syllabus: The FutureLearn syllabus is well-structured and easy for students to learn. There are fewer chunks of text, and more reader-friendly too. Good education adventures focus solely on the syllabus structure, and FutureLearn wins here! 

Cons

Paid Certificates: As discussed above, you need to subscribe to the type of payment offered by the specific course to obtain certificates (there is an additional cost). 
No Android And iOS Apps: FutureLearn is unavailable for Android and iOS users. A mobile application in these OS (operating systems) helps to follow the course steps easily. 
No Android And iOS Apps: FutureLearn is unavailable for Android and iOS users. A mobile application in these OS (operating systems) helps to follow the course steps easily. 
Confusing Test Layouts: Some students need help with the test layouts, such as confusing test appearance and specific questions needing clarification. 
Limited Free Programs: Even though there are some free programs, FutureLearn can expand the number of those studies to include individuals who need more money to afford paid programs. 
Alternatively, they can introduce the ‘Financial Aid’ option to assist such individuals. 

FutureLearn Alternatives

udacity logo
udemy learning platform logo
coursera learning platform logo
edx learning platform

The following are the best alternatives to FutureLearn:

  • Udacity: Udacity includes both paid and free programs. Like FutureLearn, it has partnered with many organizations, universities, and government institutes. 
  • Udemy: Udemy offers cost-effective courses based on the budget. Therefore, it can be cheaper compared to FutureLearn.However, Udemy courses may not be accredited. 
  • Coursera: Although Coursera is an excellent alternative to FutureLearn, its pricing may be even higher than FutureLearn (depending on the course). 
  • Edx: Edx also offers high-quality online courses, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform. It has over 3000+ courses in its catalog. 

Other e-learning platforms reviewed:

Final Thoughts

FutureLearn emerges as a reputable and diverse online learning platform. Owned by the Open University and Seek Ltd, it boasts a Trustpilot rating of 4.7/5, offering a wide array of courses spanning numerous fields. 

With both free and paid options, including formal certifications, FutureLearn accommodates learners of varying needs. 

While it has its strengths, such as fostering a sense of community and recognized online degrees, it’s important to consider some limitations, including the need for paid certificates and the absence of mobile apps. 

To determine if it’s right for you, explore the platform’s offerings and use the “Limited Access” option for an informed decision. Ultimately, FutureLearn stands as a valuable resource for those seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills. 

FAQs

FutureLearn is a real and legitimate platform offering various online courses, including short programs, micro-credential programs, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Yes, FutureLearn is accredited in the UK through partnerships with reputable universities and institutes, providing recognized courses and certificates.

The parties behind FutureLearn are the Open University and Seek Ltd. The key people are Andy Hancock, the CEO since Oct 2021, and Jo Johnson, Chair of the Board.

The duration varies depending on the type of course. For short study programs, it can be a couple of weeks. Micro-credential courses typically take a few months. Degrees may take 1 to 3 years or more to finish.

Yes, FutureLearn is a good site for online learning, offering a wide range of courses from reputable universities and organizations worldwide.

FutureLearn partners with various universities and organizations that may offer courses accredited by professional bodies or institutions. However, the certificates typically serve as a proof of completion and may not always carry formal academic credit.

OUR #1 RECOMMENDATION
Future Learn
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Easiness
Effectiveness
Price

4.7

4.8

4.8

Overall Score

4.8

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Pros
Good Sense Of Community
User-Friendly User Interface
Active And Friendly Discussion Board
Offer Free Certificate Courses
Well-Defined And Structured Course Syllabus
Get the BEST PRICE valid until the end of June
Cons
Paid Certificates
Limited Free Programs

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Carlos Eduardo
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Carlos Eduardo
Hey there, I’m Carlos Eduardo, the Founder and Author of Scorebeyond. Delving deep into 20+ years of education transformation through innovative e-learning, I’ve poured my expertise into this platform. My enduring legacy continues to drive the path towards a future empowered by knowledge!

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