Designing a premium end of course experience

Overview

FutureLearn's end of course experience was okay but a little outdated and basic. It didn't celebrate learner success and lacked guidance on what to do next, leading to users dropping off after completing a course. With the introduction of Microcredentials, a premium and more expensive course, our brief was to look at how we communicate and celebrate achievement, introducing awards that felt worthy of the higher price, while additionally aiming to increase retention.

Duration

3 months

Role

User research

Information architecture
UX design
Visual design

A desktop screen showing a learner what they were awarded for passing their course

Our goal was to design a page to celebrate a learners achievement and communicate the awards being received.

A co-design workshop with people gathered around sketches

Learning from existing research

Our existing research showed learners need better guidance 
around what to do after finishing a course, whether with continuing their education or progressing in their career. We also found that employers don't always understand what users have learned on a course, giving us an opportunity to bridge this gap.

A low-fidelity design of the award pageSketches with post-it comments about the designs

User testing the initial concept

I held internal sketching sessions and designed a low fidelity concept exploring a range of ways to celebrate learner success and promote their new skills. Testing this revealed that learners expect to receive a university certificate, rather than one from FutureLearn, as proof of their achievement. It also confirmed that while there's an appetite to continue improving skills, learners spend a long time figuring out what to study next.

A woman interviewing another woman

Creating the visual language

We used the insights from user testing to encourage universities 
to provide a certificate, but found that learners could have to wait up to a year to receive it. In the meantime we needed to give learners proof of their achievement that was premium and credible, without looking too much like the certificate. I created a new visual language that stood out from the existing courses, and better reflected the new higher price point.

A before and after image of the cerificate
A screen with six wireframe iterations of the design

Defining the content hierarchy

With two documents with similar purposes, we needed to make sure the differences were clear. After early attempts to combine the two failed, the solution lay in placing both documents side by side. This 
was where users expected to find them, gave our certificate extra weight, and with descriptive text made it clear that while similar, 
the two documents were distinct.

A screen with four images showing how the design progressed from wireframe to visual design

Increasing retention

In addition to providing a tangible award, we were also keen to explore ways of improving retention and saw an opportunity to do this by recommending further courses. Although this was a step up from the current experience, learners still found this limiting and wanted more flexibility. I solved this by showing additional related topics and redesigning these to inspire learners to dig deeper and discover more courses to help them on their journey.

Three design iterations of 'Discover more topics' module

Learners can now get clear, personalised guidance about using their qualification, and feel confident about making decisions about their future.

Two images of the final design showing someone has passed and recommendations of what they can do next

Outcome

A new end of course experience that celebrates learner success, and helps them take actionable steps to achieve their career and learning goals. The celebration page allows learners to see their awards in one place, market their newly acquired skills, and understand their further learning options in simple terms. It takes away the stress of figuring out their next steps and gives them control over their future.

We released the final version of the Microcredential celebration page in August 2020, and it's now available to all learners who 
have passed their course.