FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform, has gained formal academic approval to offer industry-led microcredentials, with credit, from Coventry University, the first UK Institution to achieve 5 stars for online learning under the QS Stars methodology.
Gaining this validation effectively required FutureLearn to create a small university within its platform. The approval enables the online learning platform to work directly with industry to design, build and deliver microcredentials that not only have university-grade teaching, learning and assessment, but career and industry-relevant skills and knowledge as part of the learning experience.
In the wake of economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, today’s learners are seeking credible, valuable and career relevant learning to provide immediate career benefit and recognition. FutureLearn believes that microcredentials, which offer a learning experience more substantial than a short course but without the time and cost of undertaking a degree, will meet this need.
FutureLearn will be the first 100% online Transnational Education (TNE) institution to be awarded this approval by the university.
By having Coventry University as a validating partner, learners on these new microcredentials will be able to obtain 15 UK credits. To achieve this, learners must get at least a pass on all of the assessments as part of a complex and rigorous set of processes and policies that have been put in place.
The first group of these new industry microcredentials, launched in collaboration with Coventry University as the UK validation partner, are Data Analytics with Tableau, Cloud Computing Professional with Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification, Financial Analysis and Decision Making with Xero and Tableau, and Customer Success with Salesforce.
FutureLearn is in the unique position of working closely with both industry and university partners. Because of this, FutureLearn has specific insight into the kind of skills employers are looking for and can bring together industry and educators to create collaborative, credit -bearing learning opportunities to help address the emerging skills gaps. The validation from Coventry University will allow FutureLearn to deliver on this with more efficiency and independence.
Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer said:
‘At FutureLearn, we are innovators at heart, and to be the world’s first online learning platform to become a mini university during a global pandemic is a testament to our incredible team and our strategic partnership with Coventry University. With UK unemployment figures predicted to reach over 4 million by Christmas, many of us are staring an uncertain future in the face. We believe that drawing on the strengths of relevant industry skills and academic rigour is a potent remedy and we hope that through this validation model we will be able to create a wider offering of highly relevant, career- focused microcredentials to help our learners navigate this time of uncertainty.’
Notes to editor
Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support millions of learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.