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Online Learning with OpenLearn and FutureLearn

Are you thinking of a career change?  Or just want to learn a new hobby? Or perhaps you are already interested in a subject area but not sure whether it’s right for you. FutureLearn and OpenLearn are free resources that bring learning into your living room. 

FutureLearn is an online training provider offering a wide selection of courses, often delivered in association with big-name universities whereas OpenLearn is from the long-established and well-respected Open University.

Future Learn and OpenLearn courses are made up of pre-recorded video lectures and readings that you can work through when it’s convenient.  They also have student discussions on every page of the course.  You can also find quizzes, polls, and study pages. In some courses, there is more of an emphasis on articles and text than on videos.  How you respond to this depends on your learning style.  I personally like the variety, and feel that reading sometimes feels more like legitimate study.

Official tests or exams are only available for students who pay for certification.  Most FutureLearn Courses are free for a limited time (course length) plus 2 weeks.  This keeps you focused and if you are really interested in the course you are more likely to stick with it.  Though with OpenLearn there is no beginning and end date.  Unfortunately, most people who join on-line Universities give up after a few months because they didn’t appreciate the amount of time involved or the aptitude needed so on Open Learn and FutureLearn you can really see whether it’s right for you before you pay for certification or embark on a course that you may never finish.

The internet is full of a wide range of differing quality of online learning platforms.  Some not so good because of aggressive marketing and the need to give credit card details even before you have started your learning adventure.  Yes, I’m looking at you Shaw Academy but OpenLearn and FutureLearn tower above the rest and may be the first great step to that new career you want to embark on!

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