Innovation in Learning

Innovation in learning embodies a wide diversity in research, including creative learning and teaching in formal, nonformal and informal contexts, understanding children and young people’s worlds, intercultural communicative competence, academic and digital literacies, language learning, mobile and ubiquitous learning, citizen engagement, open education practices, issues of inclusion, social justice and well-being, and research into addressing real-world problems of learning in contexts of disadvantage and ill-health. It also includes new disciplines such as learning analytics and new fields of inquiry such as learning futures and performance augmentation.  

The pathway offers opportunities for collaborative, participatory and interdisciplinary research, alongside research in technology-enhanced learning. Educational research relevant to this pathway sits within the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS), which is home to the UK’s only Regius Professor in Open Education, the Institute of Educational Technology, the Centre for Literacy and Social Justice, the Children’s Research Centre and the new Centre for the Study of Global Development. WELS is also home to the OU's largest group of postgraduate research students and offers an inclusive and cohesive research community.

The +3.5 route is for students with a Master’s degree that meets the 2022 ESRC Training Guidelines. The +4 pathway is for applicants who require further training in research methods. Both are available for full-time and part-time students.

Further information about PhDs at The Open University can be found here.

The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) projct builds on a network of universities, institutions and individuals from across the entire continent. TESSA has developed Open Educational Resources in four languages to support school-based teacher education and professional training. TESSA has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education and the WISE award at the World Innovation Summit for Education. Successor projects, such as TESS-India and English in Action are also dedicated to the effective educational use of digital technologies in developing countries.

In the UK, CREET hassupplied research, pedagogy and policy expertise to the BookTrust in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership aimed at helping that organisation capitalise on the potentials of digital technology.

LNTRG projects are also run in partnership with non-academic partners, including the Kenyan Ministry of Health and AMREF. These and other projects offer opportunities for both short and long-term research assistantships.

Pathway leader: Dr Margaret Ebubedike


The Open University


WELS Research: WELS research | Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies


Structure of provision: +3.5, +4