The key aim of this programme is to keep the OU at the forefront of developments in teaching and learning using the latest technologies and pedagogical innovations, to further enhance our international reputation as leaders in this field, as well as having a real impact on OU practices.
Next generation distance learning is highly focused on learners and their individual and social needs and seeks to find answers to the following key questions:
- Which personal technologies and social media are best suited to meet those needs?
- How can we facilitate effective (and cost-effective) learning in convivial environments that learners will want to return to again and again?
- What can we do to ensure that teaching is a rewarding experience in the midst of constant change?
In addressing these questions, our research and scholarship generates insights that will help nurture the next generation of teachers and students to make them delighted with the quality of their experience, hooked on teaching and learning, and wishing to continue learning throughout their lives.
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Course production and presentation: As knowledge brokers, we unpack and interpret technological and pedagogical innovations for those who can benefit from fully understanding their value and use, including module teams, associate lecturers, and all those designing and mediating learning, making module development proceed more efficiently.
Learners: Our current research includes all kinds of learners, though we strengthen our focus on distance learners, who have specific needs arising from their increased mobility and personal/work/life circumstances that led to choosing distance learning. Their technology preferences need to be understood so what the OU offers is always in tune with their needs.
University: By examining research-informed scenarios, models, evaluations, critiques, etc. generated by IET, the university is able to make good decisions about resourcing the next generation of distance learning.
Projects in this programme include:
- Mobile and contextual learning: MASELTOV, SAFeSEA, eBooks & Mobiles project, MOTILL, Personal Inquiry, Out There and In Here, xDelia, Ethics and mobile learning. See also Research/evaluation projects on the Mobile Connections website
- Learner practices: Net Generation, Achievement goals and approaches to studying; Self-directed mobile language learners
- Social networks/collaboration: Social:Learn; Knowing how to collaborate: Collaborating to know
- Research methods: Methods and Models in TEL - The Next Generation