Learn English through Massive Open Online Courses

British Council has developed Massive Open Online Courses that are available for free 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. These courses draw on the British Council’s expertise in online learning.

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.

Our next online MOOC is Understanding IELTS: techniques for English language tests free online course which is a six-week long course starting on 13 February 2017.

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 13 February 2017.

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.

COURSE OVERVIEW

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: Shakespeare

Our free, six-week online course looks at the life, works and legacy of William Shakespeare, while giving participants the chance to practise their English language skills.

The first week looks at Shakespeare’s life and times, using two short documentaries to take you on Shakespeare’s journey from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London. For the rest of the course, we look closely at a different play each week. Shakespearean actors from around the world will help us explain and explore the universal themes in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth.

Our video tutor will guide you through the course and look at the legacy of words and phrases that Shakespeare introduced to the English language. Short quizzes will check your and you’ll be asked to share your ideas and opinions on the topics Shakespeare raises.

The course is being run in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 

Professional Practices for English Language Teaching

The Professional Practices for English Language Teaching 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 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.

COURSE OVERVIEW

The course takes place over four weeks. It will introduce you to some of the latest ideas in research and practice in language learning and teaching. We will:

  • Explore second language learning and what it means to learn language
  • Consider language classrooms and how teaching affects our language learning
  • Look at the use of technology in teaching, and its benefits and challenges for language learning.

Finally, we will investigate the case of English – the most widely learnt and taught language in the world. How has English achieved this position? What are the implications of the spread of English for policy, teaching and other languages?
The course includes quizzes, activities, discussions and videos filmed around the world. The videos feature experts such as British Council teachers, and staff and students at the University of Southampton.
During the course, you will hear different voices sharing their ideas and opinions – and we want to hear yours too. How do you use language in YOUR life? What is YOUR experience of language learning and teaching? Join us – to discuss effective language learning and teaching.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you are a fully participating learner in this course, you will be eligible to apply for a scholarship to cover part of the MA fees. You will find out more when you join the 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 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.

Teaching for Success: Lessons and Teaching

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: Lessons and Teaching 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).

In the programme, we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on our teacher development framework.

The four week course will focus on four professional practices:

  • Planning lessons and courses
  • Managing resources
  • Managing the lesson
  • Taking responsibility for professional development.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points of each week.
You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.
The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

Teaching for Success: Learning and Learners

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: Learning and Learners 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).

In the programme, we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on the British Council’s teacher development framework.

The four week course will focus on four professional practices:

  • Understanding learners
  • Knowing the subject
  • Using inclusive practices
  • Understanding national policies and practice.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points.
You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.
The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

Teaching for Success: the Classroom and the World

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: the Classroom and the World 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).

In the programme, we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on the British Council’s teacher development framework.

The four week course will focus on four professional practices:

  • Integrating ICT
  • Promoting 21st-century skills
  • Using multilingual approaches
  • Assessing learning.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points.

You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.

The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

English In Early Childhood: Language Learning And Development

How do very young children best learn English as an additional language while they’re still learning their mother tongue? How and why do children learn best through play? What can parents and practitioners do to enable children to get the most out of a learning experience?

English In Early Childhood: Language Learning And Development is for parents and practitioners will explore how young children learn English and investigate many more aspects of early childhood learning and development. 

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

English for the Workplace

English for the Workplace is for people who are learning English and who are interested in developing English language skills for employability and workplace contexts. It will help job seekers and young professionals with the English they need. 

Each week, we’ll focus on key aspects of English for the workplace. You’ll watch videos and listen to audio recordings of people searching and applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, taking interviews, starting their new job, and working with new colleagues. Our experienced tutor will examine some of the language used and will draw your attention to useful points that will help you improve your English in workplace contexts.