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  • James A Beaumont

Future Learn - Thoughts So Far . . .

If you haven’t checked it out already then take a look at It’s an excellent website that allows you to sign up to online courses for free. I’ve already signed up for the creative writing course alongside courses in scriptwriting, anatomy, dyslexia and a course titled “Cancer in the 21st Century”. Some of these are topics I have some level of investment in; some are things that simply piqued my curiosity. Either way, IT’S FREE!

The whole Future Learn experience reminds me of something I’ve often thought about – how the internet is so packed full of information yet the typical person doesn’t really invest a great deal of time in using it to increase their knowledge base. I remember being a child when the Net was still in its infancy and imagining a future world where you could access anything. You want to know what DNA really is? Go on your computer and find out. Want to learn a new language? Go on your computer and learn it. Want to see pictures of Mars? Go on . . . well you get the idea. Back then (I must have been around nine) such thoughts really inspired me and I spent a lot of time daydreaming about “surfing the net” (the imagery of that phrase captivated me back then) and I even used to pretend I had access to an infinite web of knowledge on my broken Commodore 64 (which meant my friends would often come round and ask me to do their homework, which never quite worked out well for them).

But not only do we access to basically all general knowledge now but the process is so commonplace that we take it for granted. This is partly due to time management; pretty much everyone I speak to seems to agree that our lives are more hectic than they used to be say twenty years ago but it’s also got to be about the fact that we’re inundated with so much information, regardless of how readily accessible it is.

So, to me, having the right platform to access and digest this information is critical. For me personally Future Learn has provided that platform. Though it hasn’t been without a hitch; already I’ve found myself getting stuck in the same loop of taking the information for granted – this time by signing up for too many courses but I’ve chosen one course to focus most of my attention on: the creative writing course offered by the Open University. Most of the courses are run through universities on Future Learn and I can’t recommend the Creative Writing course enough. Not only is the course great for offering lots of advice from famous authors (through video and audio file forms integrated into the site) but it really comes into its own by giving you the opportunity to freely comment on each step and so it mirrors to some extent the seminar method of teaching you find at universities. This, along with the bitesized chunks in which the website presents each step of the course and the easy to use layout, make it a great tool to use and if you can find something you’re passionate about on Future Learn then, believe me, it can become pretty damn addictive.

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