British Council launches first UK ELT Mooc

November 20, 2013

The British Council’s English language learning content will be made available through the FutureLearn Massive Open Online Course (Mooc) platform from 2014, allowing learners around the world to develop their English Language proficiency.

FutureLearn, owned by Open University, offers a range of Mooc courses, which are free and available to everyone, in subjects including literature, history, computing & IT, marketing and psychology. The UK’s first Mooc platform, it joined US competitors such as Coursera, edX and Udacity on the scene in October this year.

The new initiative, announced by the two organisations in India on a recent trip, will provide a route for learners worldwide to take assessments in the International English Language Testing System (Ielts), which is accepted by over 8000 institutions globally at over 900 testing centres around the world.

British Council and FutureLearn, as well as its university partners, will work together to create a portfolio of English language Moocs.

The initiative signals a new move in globalisation of language learning by allowing users to complete their learning on smartphones and tablets while connecting with learners around the world, using FutureLearn as a social media platform.

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn, visited India to discuss the role of Moocs in the country’s HE sector with government officials. He highlighted that India was FutureLearn’s “second biggest market in terms of overall visits to courses by enrolled learners”. He continued, “Many [are] drawn to topics that could enhance career development and employability.

“This new initiative with the British Council provides a valuable opportunity for us to support the development of English language and communication skills for our learners around the world.”

Martin Davidson, CEO of the British Council, commented, “It is right that India should be one of the first places where we collectively launch the FutureLearn Mooc platform and courses. FutureLearn will provide young Indians with another means of access to the UK’s world-class education institution; people who would not otherwise have this opportunity.” He visited the country to launch a British Council/Pratham ASER English Impact Report.

He added, “The British Council is delighted to be working with FutureLearn, the UK’s new digital learning platform.”

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