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Building and facilitating relationships with FutureLearners

Inky, our User Advocacy Lead, talks about fostering fruitful relationships with users by actively listening to feedback

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

The impact of this much-quoted adage from Charles Darwin reaches much further than the subject of evolution to which it originally referred. At FutureLearn we recognise the universal significance of the ability to change with one’s environment. Openness to change has been part of the FutureLearn culture since our inception. Indeed, the MOOC movement is itself a rapid and revolutionary response to the demands of learners, and one that continues to change.

New technologies and teaching methods have the potential to change the world of online learning. We are aware of this and are always investigating potential ways in which we might innovate. We are aware too that the truest arbiters of our success are you, the users. Indeed, the real innovations of the future may arise from your minds.

To this end, relationships with learners and responsiveness to your needs are paramount to the FutureLearn strategy. We pride ourselves in constantly listening to our learners, to brief and guide the decisions we make. Every piece of feedback we receive helps us better inform the FutureLearn platform and supports our partner institutions in understanding the best way to deliver their courses. This is crucial for us to continually maintain and improve our service. The result is that we are constantly learning. FutureLearn’s pedagogy is reciprocal – you learn from us and we learn from you.

The job of building and facilitating fruitful relationships with our learners is the remit of FutureLearn’s User Advocacy team. We are a small group, but we make up for our size by our passion and commitment. What we strive for is to make our service not merely good, but surprisingly good, by constantly improving our service. We go out of our way to make our users happy.

So how does user-driven innovation happen at FutureLearn? Well, our use of the UserVoice online feedback and helpdesk software allows users to vote for each other’s ideas on the platform, demonstrating to us the level of support within our community of users for an idea. For example, when you requested that we make comments and discussions easier to navigate by providing a way to easily access comments that other learners agree with, we implemented it.

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Many other new features are also being worked on right now, for example, breaking up discussions into smaller groups.

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I’d like to finish this blog post by taking the opportunity to encourage you to engage with the FutureLearn community. If you particularly like something that we do, let us know by clicking the ‘Feedback’ button available on the left of most pages throughout your course. If you have suggestions or concerns, we’d be particularly happy to hear from you.

Help us to create an online learning experience for you.

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