Groups can only be used in invite-only (private) courses, and courses that make up Microcredentials and Degrees.
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary.
There are three types of groups:
- Learning Manager groups
- study groups
- small collaborative groups.
Learning Manager (LM) groups are used to manually group students into smaller cohorts. These groups can be used with either the study group or small collaborative groups.
Group top tips
- Introduce group tasks early in the course so that learners know how to engage.
- When group tasks are introduced, give learners a task to do in their group immediately to set the tone for future activities.
- Below the task instructions, provide further information about how the group will work together.
- Plan regular, structured, achievable tasks for the group to perform within the learning hours of the course.
- The course team requires the necessary permissions to facilitate group tasks consistently throughout the course.
Learning Manager groups
Create a Learning Manager (LM) group in the Learning Manager tool. Manually and deliberately add learners into a group.
- LM groups do not have a limit on how many learners can be allocated to them (but we do offer recommendations).
- LM groups can be reused for different program runs.
- A learner can only be in one Learning Manager group per program run.
- Learners invited to the organisation through Learning Manager or the University-initiated enrolment API can be added to a Learning Manager group before they’ve accepted their invitation and created their FutureLearn account.
- Learners can be added and removed from the LM groups up until the start date of the first course that is using that group. After that date, they can be added but not removed.*
- LM groups are set up slightly differently depending on whether you want to use a LM group with Study Groups or small collaborative groups.
Create Learning Manager groups
Learning Manager Groups must be created before the groups are assigned to courses.
This can only be done by a course team member with the Learning Manager permission.
- In Learning Manager, under the Groups tab, click ‘Create a new group’.
- Enter a group name. This is required and will be displayed to learners within the Study Groups.
- Example: Pure Maths Group 1
- Example: Applied Maths Group 1
- Enter a group code.
- Example: MA_PURE_GROUP_1
- Example: MA_APPLIED_GROUP_1
Next steps if creating a study group:
- ignore the Mentors field.
- the Course Runs field is not used in Study Groups and should be ignored.
- click ‘Save group’.
Alternatively, next steps if creating a small collaborative group:
- add the user who will appear as the Mentor to this group on their group tasks.
- select the course runs which this grouping should belong to. Once learners have been added to the groups, these course runs cannot be added or removed.
- click ‘Save group’
The study groups feature should not be enabled for small collaborative groups, even if learners are being allocated via Learning Manager.
Add learners to Learning Manager groups
Learners invited to the organisation through Learning Manager or the University-initiated enrolment API can be added to a Learning Manager Group before they’ve accepted their invitation and created their FutureLearn account. Learners can be added and removed from the LM groups up until the start date of the first course that is using that group. After that date, they can be added but not removed.*
- On the Groups page, find and click the name of the group.
- Click ‘Add members to group’.
- Find the learners that should belong to this group using the search tool provided. Learners can be found by either their name if they have a FutureLearn account linked to the organisation, or by their university ID. Occasionally, you’ll need to use the learner’s email address.
- Click ‘Add members’.
Course runs cannot be removed once learners have been added to a Learning Manager group.
Allows learners to hold discussions alongside the content of the course.
Learners access study groups via the the ‘Study Groups’ tab on their course page.
- Learners can be randomly allocated to a study group or the study group can be linked to a Learning Manager group.
- Regardless of which allocation method is used, an organisation admin must enable the study group feature on the course run before the start of the course by clicking the ‘switch study groups on’ button in the facilitation tab in Course Creator.
- If randomly allocating students, enabling the group is the only required action ahead of course start.
- If using LM groups with Study Groups, follow the instructions below.
- Study Groups do not require a “mentor” to be added during the Learning Manager group setup. Mentors are only relevant to small collaborative groups.
- Courses within a program run can only use either randomly-allocated or LM groups, not a mix of both.
- The content of study group discussions is only available at the course run level, and cannot be accessed from a different course run than the one it was used on.
- Study Groups appear in the Facilitation tab in Course Creator only after the first learner has clicked the Study Group tab in the course, regardless of whether the course uses randomly-allocated or LM groups.
- If randomly allocating students, the partner can customise how many learners are in each study group. The default is 80 learners, but it can be adjusted by multiple of 5s (so 5 learners, or 10 learners, etc). This can be done on the Study Group facilitation page in Course Creator, under the Settings tab.
Enabling the Study Group feature in Course Creator
Contact your Partnership Manager to enable the Study Group function for each course that will require it. Also, request that they 'enable degrees' at an organisation level if you wish to choose which groups Learners are assigned to.
This must be completed before the course starts.
Assign Learning Manager groups to Study Groups
As this feature is currently in beta, this step needs to be completed with the help of a FutureLearn developer. This part of the process must follow after the Learning Manager groups are created but can be done before students are assigned to the groups.
Study Groups appear in the Facilitation tab in Course Creator only after the first learner has clicked the Study Group tab in the course, even if the below process is carried out.
- First, the partner needs to create a CSV document that maps out which Learning Manager Groups should be linked with which program runs.
- This document requires three columns: program_code, program_run_code and group_code
- This document needs to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, where a support team member will ensure the script is run to connect the Learning Manager Groups with the requested programs. Please allow at least 3 days to action this.
Learners join their study group
Learners join these manually-assigned groups in the same way they do the regular Study Groups, ie. by clicking ‘Join Group’ on the Study Group tab on their course page.
If learners are added or removed from a Learning Manager group after courses using that group have started, the changes won’t be applied to courses where the learner has already joined their study group.
Learners can still be removed from the LM group after the course has been started, but this won’t remove them from the corresponding study group if they’ve already joined it.
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