FutureLearn, the online social learning platform committed to transforming access to education on a global scale, is offering learners a new way to engage with the platform. Unlimited is a one-off annual payment model that will give learners unlimited access to all FutureLearn short courses that offer a Certificate of Achievement, except premium courses.
Unlimited comes in response to strong learner and employer demand. In October 2018, FutureLearn,surveyed over 3,000 learners from a range of countries* to further understand learner needs and aspirations. Over 70% of respondents said they thought they would start three or more short online courses and nearly half (47%) said they would start three to five courses within the next year. Unlimited incentivises learners to take multiple courses and provides a more financially competitive offer to learners already purchasing multiple courses.
The launch of Unlimited follows FutureLearn research showing both a surge in the number of employees taking courses and a new emphasis being assigned to continuous learning by employers. The research reveals that nearly four-fifths (79%) of the 300 employers FutureLearn surveyed from across the UK, US, and Australia have seen a rise in the number of applicants who have taken an online course; with all surveyed holding recruitment responsibilities within their organisation.
The rise reflects employers’ increasing emphasis on continuous learning. In the UK, evidence of continuous learning featured in employers top five most important considerations for making a new hire. Over a third (39%) listed it in their top five, with many years of relevant job experience (44%); and the equally important quality of the CV and covering letter (44%) deemed most important.
Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said: “Today represents a milestone moment in the continuing evolution of FutureLearn and a great way to celebrate recently welcoming our nine millionth learner to the platform.
“Our mission is to transform access to education on a global scale and our learners are at the heart of what we do. Unlimited is a great example of how we’re honouring that. Learners told us they intend to take multiple courses in a year and we answered with a new model that will allow them to do just that — at what we think is a great price. Following our research we know that employers look favourably upon online learning for both making new hires and considering employees for promotion. With the greater flexibility Unlimited affords learners, we are really excited about the opportunities the model will open up for both employees and those who learn for the sheer love of learning.”
The Unlimited model allows learners to complete a variety of courses to stand out from the crowd at interview and provides yet greater incentive for employees to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of the workplace, with benefits including:
- Access to all upgradable* short courses
- Access to a course for as long as it remains on FutureLearn and the learner on Unlimited — regardless of whether the course run has finished or is no longer taking new enrolments
- Access to tests
- A digital certificate when eligible (90% completion of the course plus an average mark of at least 70% on courses with tests is required)
- Access to courses for as long as the course remains on FutureLearn and where they have reached eligibility for a certificate, even if the course run has finished or is no longer taking new enrolments.
Learners who purchase Unlimited will have unlimited access to all but a few courses, with Unlimited applying to all upgradable courses where learners can gain a Certificate of Achievement, including those within FutureLearn ‘Programs’ — a collection of courses with a final assessment — though the assessments will not be included.
Premium paid-for courses designed for more specialist cohorts, as well as degrees and invite-only courses from organisations are excluded from the new Unlimited model.
* Countries included the UK, US, Egypt, India, Nigeria and the wider European region.
** Upgrading on a free-to-join course gives learners unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn, access to tests if the course has any, and a certificate when learners complete 90% of a course with at least of a score of 70% on any tests.