Understanding the needs and behaviours of our learners is integral to how we work at FutureLearn. Insights gained from surveys enable us to improve our platform and learning design guidelines, while partners use these insights to evaluate courses and demonstrate impact.
The table and diagram below outlines when and how learners are surveyed on FutureLearn:
|Survey method||Learners are asked survey questions that are integrated into the learning experience on futurelearn.com|
|When||Learners are surveyed before, during and after the course, but asked a smaller set of questions each time|
|Reach||The weekly sentiment survey allows us to also reach learners who do not complete the course.|
|Data accessibility||Survey results are automatically available through the stats dashboard|
|Limitations||Surveys are not available on private runs, or runs that are part of degree programs.|
This PDF details the exact questions we ask in each of the above five surveys.
How to access survey data
One of the key benefits of having surveys on our platform is that setting up surveys and sharing data is now faster and easier. All data is automatically accessible for partners on the stats dashboard together with current datasets, such as Demographics and Enrolments stats.
We have also added a simple visualisation of the post-course survey responses, which is available on the stats dashboard under the ‘End of course survey results’ tab (the full data set is available as the Post Course Survey Data and Free Text .csv files).
The weekly sentiment survey results are also available on the Facilitation Dashboard, showing the distribution of learners’ satisfaction with the given week, while free text answers are downloadable from the stats dashboard.
We have also created an aggregate analysis that summarises the key insights we have gained from pre and post-course surveys running in 2015-17. Please note that you can also request survey responses for any previous course runs from March 2017 onwards from your Partnership Manager. (Please note: Due to GDPR we deleted survey data from all course runs dated pre-March 2017.)
Conducting your own research
Several partners conduct research studies as part of, or alongside, FutureLearn courses. We encourage research in courses, on the understanding that the research maintains a positive and consistent learner experience, is compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and follows our own legal guidelines and research ethics.
Course survey questions can't be removed from open course runs, and we strongly recommend that your own research is conducted in addition to these questions, and not to replace them.
If you would like to ask learners additional course-related questions, the following two options are available. Please note that these options should be used a maximum of twice per course and require consultation with your Partnership Manager.
1. Sharing a survey link in a course step
You can create your own survey using SurveyMonkey, Typeform or Qualtrics, and then link to the survey on an existing course step – your Partnership Manager will offer further guidance on how to do this. The dataset can be linked to FutureLearn’s regular datasets via the learner_id column in the .csv, however, this can only be included if the survey does not collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about the learner (e.g. name, professional organisation or ethnicity).
2. Sending a survey link in a targeted mail
You can create your own survey and send it to learners who have opted in to receiving research emails, via our targeted email tool. You can find helpful example copy in this article. As this email requires manual setup by partner support, we only recommend using this option if surveying during the course is not suitable (eg. sending an impact survey 6 months after the course ends).
A targeted research email is suitable for research that needs to be sent on a specific date, up to six weeks after the enrolment period ends. At FutureLearn’s discretion, and where there is sufficient reason to believe that the research will be relevant and interesting to learners, this period can be extended. However, it would not be recommended to email learners who have enrolled on a run that finished more than one year ago.
FutureLearn is happy to promote up to two additional learner research engagements or surveys on behalf of partners per course run. For example, one pre- and and one post- impact survey. This limit intends to prevent learners from being overwhelmed by requests from FutureLearn to take part in research.
Learner ids can only be collected if the survey does not ask for any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about the learner (e.g. name, professional organisation or ethnicity).
If you would like to submit a targeted research email, please share the copy and the link to the survey with the partner support team, via email@example.com. Please allow at least 10 working days before you wish to send this type of email.
For more details please consult our Research Guidelines.