What is a MOOC?

A massive open online course (MOOC) is a free online course that supports learning in a variety of different subjects.  The courses are available on FutureLearn, which is the UK’s social learning platform, wholly owned by the Open University, UK with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education. The aim is to connect learners from across the globe with educators and with each other. 

You can buy a Statement of Participation for these online courses — a personalised, printed certificate to show that you’ve taken part. You must mark more than 50% of all course steps as complete and attempt all test questions to be eligible to buy a statement of participation.

Over 122,000 learners registered for our first MOOC, and participation levels were some of the highest that FutureLearn has seen since their launch in December 2012.

What are the British Council MOOCs?

The British Council is working closely with FutureLearn and its university partners to facilitate students’ access to British Council English language content and assessment. 

Our next online MOOC is the Professional Practices for English Language Teaching free online course starting on 31 August 2015.

Professional Practices for English Language Teaching

The Professional Practices for English Language Teaching free online course starting on 31 August 2015 is for English language teachers around the world. It will help you develop the skills and practices you need for your continuing professional development (CPD).

The course will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

Each week, we will look at a different professional practice that helps make a successful teacher. Weekly topics will include lesson planning, classroom management, classroom resources and continuing professional development.

Use the hashtag #FLTeachEnglish to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points of each week.

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

What is language? How do we learn meaning in a new language? What is easy and hard about learning another language? And what is the best way to teach other languages?

This free online course suggests some answers to these questions. Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching starts on 19 October 2015 and it is aimed at graduates with an interest in the development of languages and language teaching.

It has been developed by the University of Southampton and the British Council, and draws on their exciting joint online course, MA in English Language Teaching.

It will give you a taste of postgraduate study in the field of English language teaching. However, no prior knowledge is required to take part in the course and we welcome anyone who is curious to know more about language learning and teaching.

Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests

Anyone thinking about taking an English language test will find this course particularly useful, but all English language learners will benefit from the tips and advice given in the course.

Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests is a six week long online course starting on 21 September 2015.

The course focuses on the IELTS test (International English Language Testing System). IELTS is the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration. IELTS is accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide including universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. Over 2.2 million IELTS tests were taken globally last year.

This course will take you through each stage of the IELTS test — reading, writing, speaking and listening. At each stage there will be advice from our video tutor and a team of experienced IELTS educators. You will also be asked to share your experiences, tips and opinions with other learners.


By the end of the course, you will:

  • be familiar with all parts of the IELTS test
  • have some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals
  • understand how the IELTS test is assessed
  • have an opportunity to have your written and spoken English assessed by other learners.

The British Council has over 80 years’ experience in English language teaching and assessment and delivers IELTS tests in more than 100 countries. The course draws on the British Council’s expertise in online learning and will give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Use the hashtag #FLEnglishIELTS to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Exploring English: Language and Culture

The Exploring English: Language and Culture free online course is for people who are learning English and who are interested in finding out more about British culture and improving their English language skills. The next course date will be announced here.

The course will use short videos to present a different topic each week, including English as a global language, the environment, entrepreneurship and literature. Filmed in Great Britain, these videos will help you to develop your listening skills as you watch authentic examples of people speaking English. Our experienced tutor will examine some of the language used in the videos and will draw your attention to useful points that will help you improve your spoken and written English.

The course does not follow a language syllabus but takes authentic English in context as its starting point. Short quizzes and discussions will help you measure your understanding and practise your English throughout the course. At the end of each week you will be asked to describe your own feelings and experiences about that week’s topic in a short piece of writing.

You can find out more about this course in Chris Cavey’s post for the FutureLearn blog: 3 tips for getting the most out of Exploring English.

Use the hashtag #FLlearnenglish to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Are there any registration charges?

The MOOCs are free, and can be accessed by students anywhere provided they have an internet connection. You can log in for your sessions on desktops, laptops and tablets. But, we recommend you check whether the course meets your requirements before you sign up. The details are available on the respective course pages.

Who do i contact for more details?

For more details, please contact us here.