After finding myself disappointed with my university course, I was in desperate need of something to do at the end of term. Then I remembered I signed myself up to FutureLearn last year; a website that provides free online courses, delivered by universities. What better way to spend my time than learning about something I enjoy?
Online courses, it seems, are getting bigger and bigger. The Open University is one that springs to mind – where people can pay to get a university degree online! This means there is much easier access than an actual university; and it’s something you can do at your own pace. Although there are quite large fees involved with the OU (although they’re not as extortionate as standard university fees), you do come out with a real degree at the end.
If, like me, you’re just looking for a quick course where you can learn about something that has always interested you, Future Learn is a pretty good site. There are hundreds of free courses you can sign up for, and if you miss a course, don’t worry! They run the courses over and over again – just register your interest and they’ll email you when it’s coming up.
There is one catch, however. If you’re looking to have proof you have completed this course (perhaps for a CV), then you do have to purchase a certificate. I don’t believe these to be too expensive, though.
Since I joined last year, Future Learn has updated. This means that it now also hosts ‘programmes’ and full degrees. Programmes contain multiple courses that you have to complete. They tend to involve languages, as they require multiple courses for you to learn the language as a whole. You do have to pay for programmes BUT you can still do the courses individually, and for free! You just won’t get a certificate at the end, and you’ll only have limited access to the courses. (Having said that, some of the free courses are free through and through, so you have unlimited access to them once you have registered).
There are also some university degrees on the site, but again, these come at a cost. Their variety isn’t very wide at the moment – something I assume will be improved with the growing success of FutureLearn. More and more courses will be added and (I hope) many of them will stay free!
FutureLearn is a really easy website to access, with lots of content for all interests. It’s easy to navigate, and the courses are beautifully interactive. The lecturers and professors involved with the courses are also often on had to answer any queries, as well as taking part in the discussions you have with other members of the course.
If you’re looking for a free way to learn something new, it’s definitely something to try!
Featured Image | Wolff Olins
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with FutureLearn, other than a registered learner on the website. They have not contacted me to write this article, and every opinion expressed within is entirely my own.