This article contains information on Programs made up of open courses on FutureLearn. If you are looking for information on Degree Programs, please see our guidance here.
What is a Program?
A program is a pathway of between two and six short courses that enables learners to explore in greater depth and develop a set of skills in a specific subject area. Courses within a program include between two and five learning hours per week and are generally worked through sequentially by learners to result in a completed program.
Courses within a program are scheduled to allow learners to complete them in sequence. This means that start dates for courses within programs are staggered; the next course in the program should be scheduled to start after the previous one ends. We want to ensure that your courses are available to join and start learning on at any time though, so we suggest you schedule regular runs of the courses within programs, so learners aren’t waiting to get started.
How to set up a Program
The process for submitting a program proposal is:
- Decide the program topic and number of courses.
- Submit the program itself via the program proposal form.
- Submit the courses as part of the program through our normal course proposal process, and flag that they are due to be part of a program as part of the submission.
Assessment and Accreditation
Courses within a program should include only automated in-course assessment, no summative assessment. Learners who purchase upgraded or unlimited access may earn FutureLearn Certificates for courses within a program. If these learners gain certificates for all of the courses within a program, they will also earn a digital FutureLearn award for that program.
For courses that award professional or academic credit and may include summative assessment please see our information on Microcredentials.
What is a FutureLearn Program?
A program is a series of courses by a single partner (or a small consortium working together) that has a defined set of learning outcomes and provides learners with a deeper and more valuable learning experience than a single course.
Is that the International English version of “programme” (UK English) you’re using?
Yes. Despite FutureLearn’s headquarters being in the UK, we are an international company and are looking to adopt International English wherever we can.
How many courses does it include?
For programs that carry academic credit, we expect these to:
- Made up of 2 or more short courses
- Each course contains 2-5 hours of learning time per week
Are the courses all open and free to join?
Courses within a program follow FutureLearn’s upgraded access or paid for course model.
For upgrade courses:
- Learners have the choice of joining a course for free or upgrading for access to a package of additional features: access to tests; a Certificate of Achievement when they qualify; and unlimited access to the course once it’s finished.
- Learners will be able to upgrade a course at any time – at the start of the course, during the course, or even after it has ended.
Remind me what a Certificate of Achievement is?
Certificates of Achievement were introduced on courses in early May 2016. They offer learners proof of learning. A learner must complete 90% of steps and achieve a pass mark of 70% (where the course includes scored steps such as tests). They also come with a transcript that includes learning outcomes and details of additional endorsement and accreditation.
How does a learner join a program?
Learners can join a program in a similar way to how they join a course. When they do, they will receive a confirmation email and will automatically be enrolled on the next available runs of the courses in the program.
Can learners join a program after they’ve already completed one of the courses?
Yes, and we’re anticipating that progressing learners from doing single courses to the full program will be an important way that people discover and commit to longer programs.
Will learners be able to pay up front for a program?
Currently, programs are “pay-as-you-go”. Learners will need to pay to upgrade each of the courses within them.
In the pay-as-you-go model, the program costs the total of the components required to demonstrate a learner has completed it.
Who decides the price?
FutureLearn will propose the price for each course, based on the data we have available, in order to maximise the total revenue for the course (balancing price point and conversion rate) and therefore also maximise partner’s revenue share. This price will also take into account the price of competing online and face to face courses. The price will be agreed with the partner before the course is opened for enrolment.
Do all courses within a program need to carry the same price?
Not necessarily, but we think in general it feels more logical and easier to understand if upgrading on all courses in the program carries the same price point. However, we think there will be reasons to deviate from this, for example an introductory course might carry a lower price point to tempt people into further study. FutureLearn will propose a suggested price point to partners.
Can courses within a program be done in any order or do they need to be done sequentially?
Some programs may contain courses that need to be done sequentially, with some courses a prerequisite for another as knowledge needs to be built upon. We can support both programs that can be completed in any order, and programs that need to be done sequentially. Your decision should be based on the needs of your specific program and its target audience.