Learn to Teach Online: Microcredential for Educators

FutureLearn's "Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners" is a program designed to help you master teaching online.

This page may feature links to offers from our partners who compensate us with an affiliate commission.

Key Points
Learn to Teach Online: Microcredential for Educators

The teaching profession is undergoing a dramatic transformation. This is partly fueled by the ongoing pandemic, which forced classroom teachers to dive head-first into the digital realm: with or without experience. But, in reality, the tides shifting towards online learning had started far before this crisis.

Consider this:

  • In 2019, more than half of K-12 teachers were already participating in online teacher training.
  • Since 2010, online college enrollment has been on a steady rise, while overall enrollment in college has been declining.

These shifting tides in education have been illustrated by Dr. Tony Bates:

The Impact of COVID-19 on E-Learning.
The Impact of COVID-19 on E-Learning. By Dr. Tony Bates.

As it appears from this graph, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of online and blended learning formats has seen a sharp uptick. But, there’s reason to believe that education will ever revert back to “normal”.

Due to this, many institutions are now seeking out teaching professionals who can create engaging, effective educational experiences either fully online or in a blended learning format. Universities, colleges, and other adult learning environments are all searching for experienced online educators, with salaries for online professors in the United States averaging $89,123 as of August 2021.

In line with this trend towards online teaching, the online learning platform FutureLearn is launching a new microcredential program titled “Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners“, developed in collaboration with the Open University and the Association for Learning Technology.

This microcredential program is what I’ll be taking a closer look at today:

Who are the instructors of the program?

All three of the instructors are professors from The Open University. Without a doubt, they are experts at online pedagogy and each of them brings a unique set of skills into the program.

Dr. Rebecca Ferguson

Dr. Rebecca Ferguson is a Professor of Learning Futures at The Open University, the academic lead of their microcredentials, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She is a learning analytics expert, as well as a professor specializing in MOOCs, innovative pedagogy, and online social learning. Her work in educational research is widely recognized, and she has countless citations across her many academic publications.

Dr. Leigh-Anne Perryman

Dr. Leigh-Anne Perryman is a Senior Lecturer at the Open University and she was the co-recipient for the OE Open Research Award in 2015.

Her dedication to inclusion and social justice is also demonstrated by her ongoing study on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) for development.

Martin Weller

Prof. Martin Weller is a Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University. He led one of the university’s first online learning courses back in 1999 and he currently leads the OER Hub: a team that conducts research on the effectiveness of open educational approaches.

Just like the two previous instructors of this course, Prof. Weller is an active researcher and his contributions to education cannot be overstated.

What's taught in the program?

The “Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners” microcredential includes, but is not limited to, the following main topics:

  • Key theories of adult learning. You’ll learn how adults learn online, what teaching strategies work, and how to help your students become successful learners.
  • Key methods of adult learning. You’ll have a good overview of the various types of online teaching and learning methods, together with their each of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Online learning design. You’ll be taught how to create online instructional and learning activities, courses, and tests that cater to a wide variety of learners’ demands.
  • Learning technologies. You’ll learn how to use modern learning technology to your advantage by leveraging various tools and using them to create a compelling online learning environment.
  • Accessibility, safety, and integrity in online learning. You’ll learn how to establish a secure and welcoming learning environment for all types of learners.

Who is the program meant for?

Although there are few strict requirements, there are a few things to think about when deciding whether it’s a good fit for you.

Firstly, the ideal candidate for this microcredential is someone who is dedicated to teaching adults. Teaching adults online requires a different set of skills and abilities than teaching K-12 classrooms, and the lessons here are targeted specifically at adult pedagogy.

Secondly, the ideal candidate has prior experience with teaching adults in an educational environment. Having experience ensures that the skills and theories taught in this course will be applicable to you and that you will be able to integrate the methodology taught in the lessons straight into your real-world teaching practices.

Thirdly, this microcredential (and most others) require that you have the ability to learn independently and possess good time management skills. Teaching is a time-intense profession, and a comprehensive online program such as this one will require a significant time commitment on its own. Pair the two together, and your recipe for success involves having strong time management skills.

Finally, FutureLearn also recommends having a bachelor’s-level education for enrolling in this program. If you’re unsure of whether your current skill level matches the requirements of this program, consider using the registration form on the bottom of the course page to get in touch with the program coordinators directly.

If you’re interested in enrolling in the “Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners” course, follow the link and register your interest on FutureLearn. The course will be launching on the 11th of October 2021.