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Learner stories: Why you should take an online course with FutureLearn

Thinking of taking a FutureLearn course? Read the stories of five of our learners to find out how they benefited from learning with us.

Learner takes an online course from FutureLearn on their laptop

When you take an online course, do you have a specific goal in mind? Maybe you’re aiming to impress your boss with new skills and eventually earn a promotion, or maybe you’re just truly passionate about a particular subject and want to enhance your knowledge.

At FutureLearn, our global learner community is at the heart of everything we do, and we love talking to learners about their goals and aspirations. We especially love to hear how our learners have been positively impacted by taking FutureLearn courses. 

That’s what this article is all about – we spoke to five different learners, all with completely different interests and goals, and found out what they achieved after taking a FutureLearn course. 

Feeling inspired yet? Why not find an online course that speaks to you and your dreams? With courses on almost every topic imaginable, including music therapy, criminology and software development, the ball is in your court. 

Jesse, The Netherlands

I switched careers to become a web developer

Meet Jesse Dijkema. He completed 39 courses in Tech, IT and UX from Coventry University and the Institute of Coding.

Yes, you read that correctly – Jesse has taken an extremely impressive 39 courses with us! And it seems like it’s paid off. “I’m a sports and health specialist, with a sports degree and the top certificate for health/sports professionals in Europe. However, I’ve wanted to work in tech for ages”, he told us.

“With these courses, I finally felt confident enough to start making this career switch. I’m now a website developer and am looking to explore my career in tech further.”

Jesse’s determination and success show that there’s always a potential for you to reach your goals later in life. You don’t have to stay on the path you’re on – there may be something better out there. That’s why lifelong learning and curiosity are so important.

Jesse’s top tip for learning

“Just go for it. Choose whatever you like to learn, take your time and do whatever interests you.”

Nick, Scotland

I published my first novel

Meet Nick Edmunds. He completed the Start Writing Fiction course by The Open University.

Many people dream of writing fiction but struggle to bring their dreams to fruition. Nick, however, managed to achieve his dream with the help of a FutureLearn course.

“Without the Start Writing Fiction course, I would never have continued to write”, he told us. “The knowledge and encouragement the course gave me was the impetus I needed to persevere with writing my first novel. I have now had that novel, Miles Away, published by Bear Press”.

So, if you’re still wondering whether to take the leap and try an online course in a subject you’re truly passionate about, let Nick’s story be a sign. The evidence is in the bookshops!

Nick’s top tip for learning

“Find your own way of learning and stick with it. I tried to take just one key learning point from every lesson, tutorial, lecture, and conference.”

Roshelle, Jamaica

I’m becoming a UX designer

Meet Roshelle Pinnock. She completed the Digital Skills: User Experience course by Accenture.

Previously working as a Product Manager, Roshelle always wanted to learn more about User Experience (UX) design and was looking for an online course to help her achieve her goal. 

“I came across the UX course syllabus on FutureLearn and was very impressed by how they introduced and broke down first-order principles in design and then complemented that with lessons on design artifacts”.

“The best part for me was that after each week of studying there is an assessment to test your understanding of what was taught”, she told us. “This helped to keep me accountable and engaged throughout the course.” 

When we asked Roshelle whether the course had a positive impact on her, she said, “Completing the User Experience course has definitely bolstered my transition into a UX career path.”

“I feel empowered by the knowledge gained so far and look forward to putting these lessons into practice as I build out my design portfolio.”

Roshelle’s top tip for learning

“My top tip is to approach lessons with a critical mindset. As you learn something new, ask the questions: Why? How? What for? And then, enquire about the ideas you come across. This helps with active learning and will improve your ability to memorise and understand.”

“Also, you should approach learning as if you’re going to be teaching the same concepts to someone else. Try to deeply understand things to the point where you can explain it to anyone.”

Matt, USA

I have a deeper understanding of social-emotional learning

Meet Matt Dombrowski. He completed the Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play course by The LEGO Foundation.

Not all of our learners are looking to change careers. Matt is a great example of this – he already has an extremely impressive career both as a professor of animation and the creative director of a nonprofit.

He spoke to us about Limbitless Solutions, the nonprofit he works for. “We provide 3D printed bionic arms to children with limb differences ages 6 to 17, and these arms are provided at no cost to the families”.

“We have found a strong connection with social-emotional learning, visual arts, and the perceptions that come with being disabled”, he told us, indicating why he wanted to learn more about this subject area.

“I saw a few colleagues who had already completed this course and posted it on their social media. Being married to a licensed mental health therapist, we speak about social-emotional learning frequently in our household.”

Rather than looking to switch careers or earn a promotion, Matt took this course as an opportunity to deepen his understanding of “the subtleties that come with social-emotional coping and learning”. 

So, if you’re looking to dig deeper into your passion, taking an online course might be the perfect option for you – it may even benefit your career, too.

Matt’s top tip for learning

“Learning can occur in all different formats over various media. To make learning truly holistic, we, as educators, must engage through all types of media such as imagery, writing and video.”

Arfeen, India

I can now handle difficult conversations at work

Meet Arfeen Rajpurkar. She completed the Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work course by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding.

Communication skills are some of the most essential life skills that everyone needs, especially in the workplace. 

“Just like any other professional, I’m always looking for ways to finetune my skillset”, Arfeen told us. “FutureLearn provides online certification specifically tailored toward all possible areas of improvement”.

We spoke to Arfeen a bit more about why she wanted to take the course, and what she got out of it.

“As an HR professional, it’s not just the stakeholders we need to reach but we are also the main source of information and support for employees. Being able to efficiently handle their questions and complaints is a key skill I was looking to strengthen”. 

“This course helped me to learn of different types of communication styles and handle difficult conversations at work”, she told us. “It helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses, and I also developed a plan for areas of improvement”.

Arfeen’s top tip for learning

“The first and foremost thing an individual should do is write down their strengths and weaknesses and areas they want to improve. Once we have a goal to improve our own skill, and that skill would help us develop personally, or in our careers, learning automatically becomes fun.”

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