Managing My MOOCs

Using innovative learning to address the crisis in personal financial management

Martin Upton

Director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin)

Email Martin

Addressing the failings in personal financial capability in the UK

A recent survey commissioned by the OU showed that one third of adults failed to correctly answer personal finance questions on basic issues like interest, choices between savings accounts, overdrafts and mortgages.

Since September 2014, personal finance has been in the English schools’ curriculum, having been taught in schools in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland since 2008. Our children are being taught how to handle household finances, but what about the adults?

Supported by a 5-year donation from the financial services firm True Potential, The Open University is doing something about the shortcomings in personal financial capability.

True Potential PUFin

The True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin), established in 2013, is dedicated to research into how to develop personal financial capability and to offering free education to the public on personal financial management.

The education work of the Centre involves the development and presentation of three free courses – available via FutureLearn and OpenLearn – to get people up to speed on personal finance.

Learn more about our work in True Potential PUFin on the Centre’s website.

“Many thanks for the course. It should be compulsory for all school leavers! Given the upheavals in pensions and benefits, the course content is highly relevant to all households.”

Jeff Shaw

Managing My Money student

The ‘Managing My …’ MOOCS

‘Managing My Money’ launched in May 2014 and so far some 50,000 learners have registered to study across three presentations on FutureLearn.

The course covers all areas of personal finance – budgeting, taxation, state benefits, borrowing, savings and investment, mortgages, pensions and insurance – using a range of audio-visual materials, quizzes, tests, and interactive discussions with learners. It’s fun, but also very informative and provides clear structures and tips to enable people to get to grips with their personal finances.

‘Managing My Investments’ – focusing on investment management and pension planning – launched in May 2015. Nearly 20,000 signed up for first presentation on FutureLearn.

“An incredibly high quality course, thank you for opening my eyes and educating me on investments and pensions! I am sure that in 40 years’ time I will look back to this course and give my honest thanks again.”

Diana Richards

Managing My Investments student

Tracking financial policy

These courses are bang up-to-date, interactive, very accessible, and have facilitated support and social events to answer the questions posed by learners. The video below is an extract from one of the social events and shows me and Jonquil Lowe (from the OU’s Economics Department) tackling questions on the very topical issue of the recent reforms to pensions in the UK.

The huge success of these courses means that they will be re-run in the coming years with the content regularly updated to incorporate policy and economic changes.

Share Radio

Managing My Journey will launch on Share Radio in April 2016

Repurposing MOOCs for radio

Managing My Money is now on radio too, having been re-versioned for presentation on Share Radio.

‘Managing My Journey in the Financial Market Place’ will launch in April 2016, providing a guided tour of the financial services industry, including coverage of consumer rights and protection.

So, this suite of courses and True Potential PUFin’s research agenda are collectively addressing the issue of this country’s dearth of capability in managing personal finances.


The establishment and activities of The Open University’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance have been made possible thanks to the generous support of True Potential LLP. True Potential has committed to a five-year programme of financial support for the Centre.