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Mr Andrew Brasher

Profile summary

  • Academic Related Staff
  • LTD Manager (Research Projects)
  • Institute of Educational Technology
  • Evaluation & Data Insight
  • Learning & Teaching Development Team
  • andrew.brasher

Professional biography

I work in the Learning and Teaching Development team in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University. My role is to get involved in a wide variety of research and development projects, with the aim of  determining new tools and practices which will benefit the university's teaching and learning strategies. (You can get an overview of the sort of work the Learning and Teaching Development team does by looking at the publications that various members of the current team have led or contributed to since the team was formed in 2004).

My current and  recent projects include:

  • LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange)
    I'm working on a study of Visions of the Future in learning analytics. This will be informed by experts' views and perceptions of  what is desirable, what is feasible and the obstacles to making what is desirable happen
  • HOME (Higher education Online: MOOCs the European way), which aims to develop and strengthen a European network of organisations interested in cooperating about open education in general, and MOOCs in particular.
  • Metis (Meeting teachers' co-design needs by means of Integrated Learning Environments)
    In this project I'm working with the Metis partners to produce and run a series of workshops on designing elearning activities. The first workshop on designing collaborative activities was held at the OU on October 24th 2013.
  • Maseltov  "Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services"
     My work included developing an initial version of  'Incidental learning framework' in collaboration with others here at the OU and partners from Spain and elsewhere in the UK. I edited and co-wrote Deliverable D7.1.1 "Incidental Learning Framework".

 Past work includes

  • Work on the OU learning design initiative the aim of which is "to develop and implement a methodology for learning design composed of tools, practice and other innovation that both builds upon, and contributes to, existing academic and practicioner research". Most of my work within this initiative has focused on the development of CompendiumLD a software tool for designing learning activities using a flexible visual interface.
  • Pelagios "Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems'"
    A JISC funded project to help introduce Linked Open Data into online resources that refer to places in the Ancient World. Applying linked open data in this way will make lots of things possible, including new modes of discovery and visualization for scholars and the general public. Working with Liz  Fitzgerald and Juliette Culver I organised requirements gathering surveys and usability testing events to help develop some visualisation widgets, and reported on this in a series of blog posts. (Liz focused on the research aspects, and Juliette did all the technical development work).
  • Bridge to Success
    I wrote a review of literature related to teaching maths online, focusing on best practice, mechanisms to engender peer support, and mechanisms to deal with the anxiety that affects some people when they encounter maths in school or elsewhere.

Other stuff


In general the aim of a technology roadmap is to provide a consensus view or vision of the future landscape available to decision makers. I have worked on several roadmap studies aiming to define future research activities related to educational technology. The first of these aimed at creating a roadmap for research into e-learning relevant to Higher Education in Europe and is described in the paper "Determining Research Questions in e-learning" (McAndrew, Brasher, Hardy, 2004). In the Mobilearn project I led the development of the Mobilearn roadmap which considered ways that the lessons from MOBIlearn can inform future research and activity on mobile learning.

In 2005-2006 I worked on a roadmap for e-assessment (funded by the JISC e-Learning programme). This work has attempted to combine inputs such as governmental and organisational policies with the views and research outputs of domain experts into a coherent vision of the future of e-Assessment in the UK HE and FE sectors. My colleagues Denise Whhitelock and Simon Cross have just started a study of the current state-of-art in e-assessment: it'll be interesting to see how (in)accurate our roadmap is even after such a short time has passed.

Relevant projects: eLearnTN, Mobilearn, JISC e-assessment roadmap

Structuring of content, description of content

I am interested in how content (e.g. web pages, Word™ or text files, images, movies, or any multimedia combination of these) may be structured so that it provides some form of added value for its users. Related to this is how content can be described in ways which add value for users. In particular, I am interested in the human factors affecting the design, creation, and exploitation of structures within educational resources and descriptions of educational resources. My work in this area includes  semi-automatic generation of audio versions of learning content which built on  investigations into issues concerning metadata (e.g.  the paper "A Model For The Creation Of Human-Generated Metadata Within Communities")  but it also covers a variety of topics including schema design and vocabulary selection.

Relevant projects: GUARDIANS, Mobilearn, Subtle.

Research interests

Ambient technology

Since 2004 I have been very interested in the idea of using ambient (or ubiquitous or pervasive) technology to gain a detailed view of peoples learning experiences. I have written and presented a couple of papers about this, one of which (co-authored by Josie Taylor) won the best paper award at the MLearn conference in 2004. I have been looking at applying these ideas to longitudinal studies of informal learning, because these are the studies for which the practical limitations of current methods (which usually involve participants or researchers as observers) are most acute. There is a presentation showing the direction I am going in with this work: "A look at ubiquitous technology for testing theories of informal learning longitudinally" (this was presented at the CALRG conference, 2006).

Relevant projects: Mobilearn.


Teaching interests

I have written a couple of activities for IET's postgraduate module 'Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates' (H800).


Book Reviews (2016-07-08)
Beavers, Sian; Brasher, Andrew; Buckler, Alison and Iniesto, Francisco
Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1 (p 16)
Mobile Incidental Learning to Support the Inclusion of Recent Immigrants (2015-09-14)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Gaved, Mark; Paletta, Lucas; Scanlon, Eileen; Jones, Ann and Brasher, Andrew
Ubiquitous Learning: an international journal, 7(2) (pp. 9-21)
Automatic generation of audio content for open learning resources (2009-12)
Brasher, Andrew and McAndrew, Patrick
Journal of Interactive Media in Education(5)
Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity (2008)
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and Culver, Juliette
Educational Media International, 45(3) (pp. 177-194)
A model for the creation of human-generated metadata within communities (2005-07)
Brasher, Andrew and McAndrew, Patrick
Learning, Media and Technology, 30(2) (pp. 219-240)
Metadata vocabularies for describing learning objects: implementation and exploitation issues (2003)
Brasher, Andrew and McAndrew, Patrick
Learning Technology, 5(1)
Reflections on developing a tool for creating visual representations of learning designs: towards a visual language for learning designs (2015)
Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon
In: Maina, Marcelo; Craft, Brock and Mor, Yishay eds. The Art and Science of Learning Design. Technology Enhanced Learning (9) (pp. 169-180)
ISBN : 9789463001021 | Publisher : Sense Publishers | Published : Rotterdam
Developing a Roadmap for e-Assessment: Which Way Now? (2006-07)
Whitelock, Denise M. and Brasher, Andrew
In: Danson, Myles ed. Proceedings of the 10th CAA International Computer Assisted Assessment Conference (pp. 487-501)
ISBN : 0-9539572-5-X | Publisher : Professional Development, Loughborough University | Published : Loughborough, UK
Development of a research plan for use of ambient technology to test mobile learning theories (2005)
Brasher, Andrew and Taylor, Josie
In: Attewell, Jill and Savill-Smith, Carol eds. Mobile Learning Anytime Everywhere: a book of Papers from MLEARN 2004 (pp. 33-37)
ISBN : 1-84572-344-9 | Publisher : Learning and Skills Development Agency
Development of a research plan for use of ambient technology to test mobile learning theories (2005)
Brasher, Andrew and Taylor, Josie
In: Attewell, Jill and Savill-Smith, Carol eds. Mobile learning anytime everywhere (pp. 33-37)
ISBN : 1-84572-344-9 | Publisher : Learning and Skills Development Agency | Published : London
Human-Generated Learning Object Metadata (2004)
Brasher, Andrew and McAndrew, Patrick
In: Meersman, R; Zahir, Tari and Corsaro, A eds. On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems 2004: OTM 2004 Workshops. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (pp. 723-730)
ISBN : 978-3-540-23664-1 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Berlin
Learning Analytics: Visions of the Future (2016-04-28)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Brasher, Andrew; Clow, Doug; Griffiths, Dai and Drachsler, Hendrik
In : 6th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference (25-29 April 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland)
How to design for persistence and retention in MOOCs? (2016)
Brasher, Andrew; Weller, Martin and McAndrew, Patrick
In : WOW! Europe embraces MOOCs (30 November 2015, Rome) (pp. 179-187)
Designing for inclusion through incidental language learning (2012-11)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Gaved, Mark; Brasher, Andrew; Jones, Ann; Scanlon, Eileen and Paletta, Lucas
In : ICT for Language Learning (5th Edition) (15-16 November 2012, Florence, Italy)
New methods and approaches to the design and evaluation of open educational resources (2009)
Conole, Grainne; Wilson, Tina; McAndrew, Patrick; Culver, Juliette; Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon
In : EDEN Annual Conference 2009 (10-13 June 2009, Gdansk, Poland)
Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design (2009)
Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew
In : ALT-C 2009 “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”: Choice, Evidence and Change (8-10 September 2009, Manchester, UK)
Cloudworks: social networking for learning design (2008-12)
Conole, Grainne; Culver, Juliette; Williams, Perry; Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew
In : ASCILITE 2008 conference: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? (30 Nov-3 Dec 2008, Melbourne, Australia)
A new methodology for learning design (2008-07)
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Nixon, Stewart; Clark, Paul and Petit, John
In : Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) (30 June - 4 July 2008, Vienna)
Mapping a landscape of learning design: Identifying key trends in current practice at the Open University (2008-06)
Cross, Simon; Conole, Grainne; Clark, Paul; Brasher, Andrew and Weller, Martin
In : 2008 European LAMS Conference (25-27 June 2008, Cadiz, Spain)
CompendiumLD – a tool for effective, efficient and creative learning design (2008)
Brasher, Andrew; Conole, Gráinne; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and White, Juliette
In : Proceedings of the 2008 European LAMS Conference: Practical Benefits of Learning Design (25-27 June 2008, Cadiz, Spain)
Smart labs and social practice: social tools for pervasive laboratory workspaces: a position paper (2006-01-06)
Taylor, Josie; Minocha, Shailey; McAndrew, Patrick; Brasher, Andrew and Joinson, Adam
In : Designing for e-Science: Interrogating New Scientific Practice for Usability, in the Lab and Beyond (26-27 January 2006, e-Science Institute, Edinburgh, UK)
Determining Research Questions in e-learning (2004-04)
McAndrew, Patrick; Brasher, Andrew and Hardy, Pascale
In : Networked Learning Conference 2004 (April 5-7 2004, Lancaster University, UK)
Mobile Situated Language Learning (2014-09-30)
Pearson, Charlie; Gaved, Mark; Brasher, Andrew; Jones, Ann; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Scanlon, Eileen; Jones, Janet; Neumann, Lukas and Busta, Michal
MASELTOV Consortium, Graz, Austria.
MASELTOV Deliverable D7.1.1: Incidental Learning Framework (2012-09-03)
Brasher, Andrew; Dunwell, Ian; Akiki, Oula and Gaved, Mark
MASELTOV Consortium, Graz, Austria.
OULDI-JISC Project Evaluation Report: the impact of new curriulum design tools and approaches on institutional process and design cultures (2012-07-31)
Cross, Simon; Galley, Rebecca; Brasher, Andrew and Weller, Martin
OULDI Project (Open University)