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“I love learning, I live on computers and I think FutureLearn is fabulous”

Norman Maxfield, 91, taken on his webcam
Norman Maxfield, 91, taken on his webcam

Norman Maxfield, 91, was one of the early testers of the FutureLearn website. He talks to us about why MOOCs work for him. 

Norman Maxfield, or Normax as his friends like to call him, took the pilot ecosystems course, as one of our early alpha testers.

He said: I live alone in Bedford and often think of myself as a 91 year old rogue. My career revolved around education, working for The Open University (OU) business school in its earliest days and until I was 80. I then retired to care for my wife but continued learning with the OU, The University of the Third Age (U3A) and now with FutureLearn.

I believe that everyone should have a passion in life and mine is learning. I think that I am now at an age of enlightenment – learning is right for me.

I chose to study the ecosystems course by the OU because it is a topic that has always interested me. I had two trees in my garden that I had to cut down, I was fascinated at watching things grow around the stumps the way they did.

Even though I am 91, I walk a lot and, since taking the ecosystems course, I find myself looking at the world around me differently, I have recently noticed a lot of fungi!

Norman identifies ecosystems in his own garden
Norman identifies ecosystems in his own garden

The ecosystems MOOC by The OU, has sparked a new interest in me. I even went to the library to take out a book on ecosystems to continue my learning after the course had ended.

Being 91, people might think that I would struggle learning online, but I actually found it very easy. I love technology; I have a computer, a tablet and two smart phones – I am going to buy another tablet today!

Throughout my life, education has been cornerstone. I was a tutor for 24 years and worked until I was 80. Over the years I have seen education develop, as a tutor, a member of U3A and now taking part in FutureLearn. Because of all of this, despite my age, the delivery of content on did not shock me. I love learning, I live on computers and I think FutureLearn is fabulous.

Since FutureLearn went live last month Norman has already signed up to three of our partners’ courses!


FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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