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Web address futurelearn.com
Commercial? No
Type of site
Online education
Registration Required
Available in English
Owner The Open University
Launched December 2012
Current status Active

FutureLearn is a massive open online course (MOOC) learning platform founded in December 2012[1] as a company wholly owned by The Open University in Milton Keynes, England. It is the first UK-led massive open online course learning platform, and as of March 2015 included 54 UK and international University partners[2] and—-unlike similar platforms—-includes four non-university partners: the British Museum, the British Council, the British Library and the National Film and Television School.[3]


FutureLearn was launched with 12 university partners, seeking those who "consistently rank at the top end of the…league tables".[4] The launch was described as a move to 'fight back' and provide a space for UK institutions to engage in the MOOC space.[5] FutureLearn's CEO, Simon Nelson, previously worked at the BBC.[3]

Prior to the launch of FutureLearn few British universities had run online courses. Two (the University of Edinburgh and the University of London) had previously signed up to offer such courses through Coursera,[6][7] while The Open University had been publishing a variety of online courses through its OpenLearn platform since 2006, although these were designed for self-directed study rather than cohort learning.[8]


The following UK universities are partnered with FutureLearn:[2]

Non-UK university partners include:[2]

In addition, the National Film and Television School will offer courses in the future and some non-university partners will make content available via FutureLearn: the British Museum, the British Council and the British Library.[2][3][10]


FutureLearn's courses span a broad range of topics. The first course opened on 14 October 2013.[11] The first courses to be made available included "Web science: how the web is changing the world", "Introduction to ecosystems", "Improving your image: dental photography in practice", "Causes of war", "The discovery of the Higgs boson", "Discover dentistry", "Muslims in Britain: changes and challenges", "Begin programming: build your first mobile game" and "England in the time of King Richard III". The first course to launch was "The secret power of brands", conducted by professor Robert Jones of the University of East Anglia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marszal, Andrew (14 December 2012). "UK universities to launch free degree-style online courses". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "FutureLearn partners page". futurelearn.com. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "futurelearn boss on breaking into moocs". Timeshighereducation.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  4. ^ Parr, Chris (20 December 2012). "Futurelearn picks league table stars for debut line-up | General". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Claire Shaw (20 December 2012). "FutureLearn is UK's chance to 'fight back', says OU vice-chancellor | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional". London: Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Parry first=Marc (13 December 2012). "Leading British Universities Join New MOOC Venture - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Chronicle.com. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  7. ^ Anna Fazackerley (3 December 2012). "UK universities are wary of getting on board the mooc train | Education". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Open University launches OpenLearn". The Open University. The Open University. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Matthews, David (17 June 2013). "Monash, Trinity and Edinburgh join FutureLearn | News". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Parr, Chris (3 May 2013). "Four more universities join Futurelearn | News". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Parr, Chris (19 February 2013). "PM hails new arrivals to Futurelearn | News". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

External links[edit]