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Meet Norman: at 92, he’s one of FutureLearn’s oldest learners

We first met 92-year-old Norman last year, when he was one of the early testers of FutureLearn and our pilot courses. We recently caught up with him and updated his story, as part of a series of posts about FutureLearners to celebrate our first birthday.


“I live alone in Bedford and often think of myself as a 92-year-old rogue,” says Norman. “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 FutureLearn.

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

To begin with, Norman joined the OU’s “Introduction to Ecosystems” course. “It’s a topic that’s always interested me,” he explains. “And after taking the course, I found myself looking at the world around me differently – I started to notice a lot of fungi!”

Since then, Norman has joined numerous FutureLearn courses on a variety of subjects.

“Last year, I decided to do a virtual PhD,” he says. “I needed resources and access to information to help with this, and FutureLearn appeared to present all of these.

“I found courses on subjects I already knew about, such as accounting and budgeting, but they weren’t as exciting as something new to me. I really enjoyed ‘The Mind is Flat’ and ‘Good Brain, Bad Brain’ – they gave me a good challenge.

“I’m also completing ‘Developing Your Research Project’ at the moment. It’s getting me off to the right start for the PhD project.”

As one of the first people to test FutureLearn, Norman has witnessed a lot of changes on the platform in the last 12 months – both in terms of new features and new learners.

“Over the year, my passion for learning has increased a great deal,” he says. “And I have made a lot of new friends in the discussions. Every day, I ‘talk’ to folk in Australia, Spain and Germany.”

So does Norman have any plans to stop learning? Not at all. “I now look forward to completing my virtual PhD in about three years,” he concludes. “And, yes, I will be about 95 by then.”

Do you have a great story about your experience of FutureLearn? Send it to us at We’d love to hear from you!

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