FutureLearn's five brand values underpin the tone of voice we aim to use in all our content. Abiding by them will make your writing as clear, compelling and consistent as possible.
FutureLearn’s purpose is to transform access to education. To do this, we must turn complex, academic concepts into simple, accessible ideas, which everyone can understand.
• Use plain English, choosing short words and sentences over long ones.
• Be direct, giving your reader clear instructions on what they should do next.
• Be selective about jargon and specialist terms – only use them if your reader will understand.
FutureLearn is global and the majority of our learners speak English as an additional language. To help them fulfil their potential, we must always write for an international audience.
• Use concise, precise language, stripping out the filler of adverbs and adjectives.
• Choose the active voice over the passive, and use the present tense wherever possible.
• Avoid slang, humour and other cultural references that are unlikely to translate.
We want to change FutureLearners’ lives, so we’re optimistic in our outlook and strive to inspire our readers.
• Ask big, and sometimes difficult, questions, prompting your reader to think about their place in the world.
• Highlight the benefits and impact of your course or lifelong learning.
• Use motivational language, congratulating your reader on their successes and celebrating their progress with them.
FutureLearn is building a global community, where everyone learns together. We reflect this by ensuring our writing feels like a one-to-one conversation between us and our reader.
• Address each reader individually as “you” and refer to yourself as “I” or “we”.
• Use informal, but not colloquial, language, including common contractions such as “can’t” or “let’s”.
• Ask questions within copy and subheadings, so that your writing becomes a two-way dialogue.
We want to make online learning enjoyable. So we strive to make our writing engaging and charismatic, not boring and dry.
• Tether lofty ideas in the everyday, so your reader understands not just the theory, but how they can apply it.
• Use short sentences. And use longer ones like this, to keep your reader interested.
• Be lighthearted – use rhythm, rhyme or alliteration, to retain your reader’s attention.