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OpenScience Laboratory

Project website/blog

What research questions the project addresses, aims & themes

The OpenScience Laboratory aims to develop an international virtual laboratory for innovative practical science teaching. Guided by rigorous research, it will inspire students and transform access to the world of science. The contribution of IET is to examine how learning can be enhanced by a combination of new methods of active scientific inquiry and innovative technology.

How the research questions are addressed by the project (methodology and activity/environment)

The Laboratory will support the development of scientific inquiry. This includes support for students to share ideas and engage in scientific communities. The nQuire toolkit developed with IET is being integrated into the Laboratory, enabling students to carry out inquiry-based learning projects. The Laboratory will be designed, constructed and based at The Open University and will address the UK STEM agenda but, from its inception, will also be prepared for a global market.

Findings and outputs

The Laboratory is developing digital laboratories and observatories delivering authentic experiences. Its primary users will be higher education students but the resources will have wider relevance. The Laboratory will itself serve as an observational platform. Teachers and pedagogical researchers will use learning analytics to monitor and understand student behaviour as they carry out their science activities. This research will be used to further improve teaching methods and assist individual students.

Project impact

The Laboratory is being designed so that colleagues across the sector and across the globe can adopt its methods in their teaching. Our aim is to revolutionize the practical learning experience and build a community of educators who are inspired by new ways of teaching practical science and who will ensure the continuing development of the Laboratory.


There are no publications yet as the project has just started


Science laboratory, inquiry learning,

People involved

The project leads from IET are Professor Eileen Scanlon and Professor Mike Sharples

Project partners and links

We will work in collaboration with Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and the Adam Centre for Research in Computing in Ghana to maximise impact in countries with limited infrastructure.


Wolfson Foundation

Start Date and duration

April 2012 to July 2013

Research & Innovation