On demand is the default business model for our short courses.
On demand courses are open for learning continuously. Learners can begin learning as soon as they enrol (provided the course start date has passed), never waiting for a new ‘run’ to begin. Data illustrates that this is the desired model for our global learners who juggle work and family life. Prospective learners scroll course listings and are more likely to enrol on those available to learn now. Enrolling on a course in the future often does not convert to active learners.
All ExpertTracks are on demand. On demand does not apply to Invite-only (private) short courses, Microcredentials or Degrees.
Four top tips for on demand courses
1. Pin a note and utilise facilitation windows
Learners need clarity on how much facilitation a course will have (if any) - and when it will be available - to align their expectations. On-demand courses may have short periods of facilitation or no facilitation. By design FutureLearn short courses do not require active, constant facilitation.
- Pin a comment to an early step in the course explaining if you will or won’t be facilitating (once it is live). It will appear at the top of the comments. See the facilitation page for guidance on how to pin comments. Pinned comments can be unpinned and replaced with a new pinned comment. This avoids continually editing the step content on a live course.
- If you decide to facilitate your on demand short course for a short period insert the dates into Course Creator. These facilitation windows are promoted to learners on the Course Description Page.
- Example: After hosting a facilitation window, new learners will see educator’s previous responses and may presume the course remains facilitated. Pin a comment thanking learners for their contributions and explain that the team will no longer be answering questions.
2. Avoid 'we look forward to hearing from you'
Social learning is part of the FutureLearn DNA. Write your course content in a conversational tone of voice - to create a reassuring and engaging educator presence - but construct your discussions questions and social prompts carefully. Avoid insinuating that you will be monitoring all comments. Instead, use language to encourage peer-to-peer learning.
Learners are particularly likely to ask for or expect educator help and support in discussion steps. See our example text at the bottom of this page and utilise our automated social prompts.
3. Utilise course emails
- Be clear in your week 1 email if your course will be unfacilitated. For example:
“I will be encouraging you to take part in online discussions with your fellow learners as the course progresses. Use these discussions to ask questions if you’re struggling, and help other people if they’re stuck. I won’t be able to answer any of your questions myself, but I hope you enjoy sharing your ideas and experiences with the global learning community”
- If your course will only be facilitated during the first few weeks after the course start date, use the ‘joined during extended enrolment email’ to explain that the course is not facilitated and explain to learners that they can still benefit from commenting with each other. On demand courses have an extended enrolment of 250 weeks after the original length of the course.
- Partners with organisation admin permission can put weekly emails back into draft, update their content and resubmit them if course facilitation changes.
4. Market your course after the course start date
- On demand courses remove the pressure to enrol a large cohort of learners for the short period the course is open for learning.
- This removes the need to open the course for enrolment ahead of the course start date and makes marketing your course easier.
- Instead of enticing learners to enrol on a course that has not yet started, courses can be promoted over a longer period which are available to join and learn now.
- Course Description Pages (CDPs) can accumulate better Search Engine Optimisation over time and learner reviews can appear on CDPs further marketing the courses’ value.
All courses are reactively-moderated by a specialist third-party moderation service. If a learner ‘flags’ a comment, this team responds in accordance with moderation guidelines based on our Code of Conduct and Terms & Conditions.. Read more about how moderation works on FutureLearn.
Making changes to on-demand course content
Short courses available on demand require a new run when substantial changes are required. Major updates to the existing run affect the learning experience of learners who have long-term access to it. Create a new run and pin a new note (see above). Comments do not pull through to new runs.
Substantial changes include:
- adding or removing steps
- adding, changing, or removing quiz/test questions or answers
- changing the upgrade price
- changing the course name
- changing the learning outcomes of the course
- Major updates to the course description
Email email@example.com explaining the substantial changes you are planning to do. The Content Team can determine if an additional Quality Assurance review may be required.
Changes that do not warrant a new run and can be updated on the current course:
- fixing minor errors in the text e.g. typos
- small updates to step text e.g. for clarification purposes
- adding references, links and additional resources to the bottom of a step
- change in course educator/ course team
- changes to course emails.
- The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion - supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way. Don’t forget to comment, reply to other learners and ‘like’ comments.
- The Educators and Mentors were actively facilitating this course between X and X dates. It was a huge joy to interact with learners. We are now not active in facilitating comments.
- Thank you all for the fantastic and insightful questions. We have answered many but are no longer able to respond to further questions. We encourage learners to answer each other’s questions and engage in discussion.
- This course is not facilitated. Develop ideas through conversation…Learners are encouraged to support one another, share personal experiences, and see new perspectives.
- Learn from the experts and develop your own ideas through conversation. Course educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. Learning is focused around conversation. You are encouraged to support other learners, share your own experience and knowledge, and listen to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.
- This course is unfacilitated. We encourage you to answer each other’s questions where you can. If you have found the answer to your question off-platform, come back to the discussion with what you have found. This may help your peers if they have similar questions.
- Comment below with your experiences, like and reply to other learners who have had similar, or very different experiences to you.
- Comment below with your experience and try to find another learner who has had a similar or very different experience to you. Reply to one or more learners and ask them a key question to explore their experience further.
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary
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