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Studying a Fast Online Course: What Are My Options?

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In the last years, online studies have transformed from a second option or a tempting alternative to the first choice for many students of all ages.

That’s because studying online comes with numerous benefits, such as unparalleled flexibility, lower overall costs, and the ability to learn or develop new skills quickly.

But choosing one course over another can be tricky when so many types of online programmes are available.

To help you better understand your options, let’s look at FutureLearn and the main types of online studies they provide.

Online Short Courses

Short courses are an excellent choice for people who want to learn a new skill as fast as possible. While you get a certificate of completion, it doesn’t hold the same significance as a full-time degree or more advanced and accredited online studies.

Online short courses represent a way to test the waters, an opportunity to see if a specific field or subject is a good fit without spending a lot of money or investing too much time.

The duration of each course depends on the complexity of the subject matter. For example, you can find some online short courses taking 3-4 weeks to complete, some taking between 1-3 months, and others taking over 3 months.

Each online platform sets prices based on its own approach and course type. That’s why:

  • some online short courses are free
  • some online short courses have a fixed price for the full course
  • some online short courses have a fixed price per month; the faster you finish, the less you pay
  • other online short courses have a price per module

Online short courses are available for most of the popular academic subjects. For example, FutureLearn offers:

Keep in mind that other institutions also make short courses available on campus, although the vast majority are offered as either online or blended studies.

Find other short courses providers

Online ExpertTracks

ExpertTracks are a unique initiative from FutureLearn. Unlike regular short courses, ExpertTracks are more in-depth, and the whole approach is designed to help students learn practical, real-life skills that can be applied at work immediately after completing the course.

Usually, people enrol in this type of courses to advance in their profession or make a swift and smooth transition to a different career.

What makes ExpertTracks stand out is that they are designed based on input and feedback from relevant entities, such as universities and top companies from different industries.

FutureLearn home page

Initially, FutureLearn launched only 35 ExpertTracks, but that number has quickly grown to 96, and it won’t stop there. Some of the most popular subjects available as online ExpertTracks are:

Online ExpertTracks usually take between 1 and 5 months to complete, and students pay a monthly subscription of 39 USD (around 35 EUR). You also get a 7-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.

Learn more about ExpertTracks.

Online Microcredentials

Both short courses and ExpertTracks come with the option to receive an official certificate of completion. However, these certificates aren’t equivalent to academic or professional accreditation.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then look no further than Microcredentials. These online programmes are either created or accredited by official universities and aim to help you expand your knowledge in a particular area.

The official accreditation offered by Microcredentials can make the difference in a very competitive job market, where every candidate strives to stand out from the rest.

Another cool feature of Microcredentials is that some courses allow you to use the earned academic credit towards completing a full-time degree later on. Unfortunately, not all universities enable this, so be sure to check out beforehand.

FutureLearn offers over 50 Microcredentials programs in various disciplines, including:

Online Microcredentials take between 1.5 and 3-4 months to complete but don’t be surprised if you discover advanced courses that take even longer. Prices range between 139–1,319 USD per course.

Learn more about Microcredentials.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone when it comes to efficient online studies. Whether you’re an aspiring student or an ambitious professional looking for a new career path, you can achieve your goals with a short online programme, no matter the type.

Of course, there’s also the option to study a full degree online, and both FutureLearn and other organisations offer this option.

Find other short courses providers

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