Technology-enhanced learning: foundations and futures

This module is for everyone with a professional interest in digital or technology-enhanced learning. It provides hands-on experience of a range of learning technologies and enables you to explore the processes of designing, implementing and critiquing elearning and the ideas that underpin these processes. You will use a range of social media and tool, learn collaboratively and undertake individual study. You'll examine the use of technologies in different contexts and develop your skills in using evidence to recommend specific technologies. By the end of your studies, you will have developed your skills, knowledge and practice in relation to digital learning, teaching and training. All students who complete this 60-credit module successfully will qualify for the Postgraduate Certificate in Online Teaching (K43).

Vocational relevance

This module is highly relevant if you work in, or wish to move into, elearning within higher education, further education, non-formal education or training.

When you have successfully completed the four eight-week study programs that make up H880, you'll have developed your ability to act as an effective professional within the broad field of technology-enhanced teaching and training.

The module is aligned with the Professional Standards Framework developed by the UK’s Higher Education Academy (HEA), a framework used for benchmarking success within higher education teaching and support. Students working towards HEA Fellowship will be able to use their work on the module to help them build a fellowship case.

Some of our postgraduate students are sponsored by their employers, and we expect this to be the case on this module. Employers have demonstrated that they value its vocational relevance and the professional benefits that it brings to their staff.


H880 is a compulsory module in our:

H880 is an optional module in our:


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

A team of leading-edge researchers and educators who work on Learning, Teaching and Innovation at the OU have developed the materials for this module, which is presented on the FutureLearn platform, giving you the opportunity to explore in depth issues related to learning at scale, open learning, and learning design. All module materials are online. You’ll explore them individually, some in small groups and some with the entire cohort. Small-group work will take place using both text-based discussion and online room sessions, guided and supported by your tutor. You’re also welcome to lead your own online discussions and to use a range of online resources, including those provided by the OU and by FutureLearn. You will be supported in individual study, in working together, and in seeking out new networks and sources of information on the Internet – from online journals to social media, and from learning at scale to open educational resources, mobile learning and citizen science.

One purpose of the module – and one of the main reasons we have chosen to use the FutureLearn platform – is to give you hands-on experience of current and innovative learning technologies, together with opportunities to reflect on that experience. Whether you are blogging or sharing material on social media, reflecting on your experience of open courses, talking online with your tutor and fellow students or trying out a new tool you have just found, we’ll be asking you to keep in mind fundamental questions about the nature of learning, teaching, assessment and learning design. You’ll consider issues of openness, networking and accessibility and how these relate to different contexts. You’ll examine the keystones of technology-enhanced learning and their relevance in different contexts. You’ll also look ahead to new developments on the horizon and how these are likely to relate to your own practice.

The study materials and your tutor will support you as you read papers from some of the leading thinkers in the field. These resources will enable you to sift evidence from researchers and practitioners around the world who are working in further and higher education, training and other settings for learning. By the end of the 32 study weeks, you should find that you have new skills to apply in your own context, a deeper understanding of the practices and debates shaping the world of technology-enhanced learning and a clearer view of its foundations and futures.

You will learn

You'll learn about the choices that practitioners and learners make when using technology in education, and how these choices relate to current debates and key theories. You will experience and reflect on the use of a range of conventional and innovative technologies in different learning contexts. You will explore a range of formal and informal sources, interpret and discuss their implications, and articulate your ideas about them for different audiences. These experiences will enable you to draw on a range of evidence to support the choices you make when designing learning activities or developing training materials.

Learning platform

This module will be delivered on the innovative online platform of FutureLearn. You may already know FutureLearn, which was founded by The Open University, for the free short courses it hosts for universities and institutions around the world. In addition to these free short courses, FutureLearn has a growing collection of full fee-paying university courses linked to undergraduate and masters-level qualifications. These fee-paying courses feature additional options and tools that aren’t available on the free courses.

If you’ve studied with the OU recently, you’ll find that FutureLearn works a little differently. For example, it’s entirely online and highly interactive, so you won’t be using printed or offline course materials. However, you’ll still have access to our tools and resources, as well as new options that aren’t available in the OU’s virtual learning environment. Importantly, as a fee-paying student, you’ll still have the same excellent tutor support that you would on any of our other modules.

This module is divided into four eight-week programs: Foundations of TEL, Adapting to Contexts, Opening Up Education, and Educational Futures. Each program ends with reflection and assessment. There is a week’s break between each block.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will guide you on many aspects of the module, and will grade and comment on your written work. You may also ask your tutor for advice and guidance. You will be taught and assessed through a combination of media, including the Internet, live discussion online, text-based discussion, email and written assignments. The module offers online tutorials. In these you’ll be able to interact with your tutor and other students using voice, visuals and text-chat.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You'll submit your tutor-marked assignments online through the eTMA system. An extended piece of work takes the place of an examination.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Technology-enhanced learning: foundations and futures starts once a year – in February.

This page describes the module that will start in February 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2026.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

To take this module you need to be ready for study at postgraduate level, usually demonstrated by having a bachelors degree or equivalent qualification. You need easy access to the Web, but you don’t need to be experienced in studying online. Nor do you need to be working in technology-enhanced learning but you should be interested in developing some expertise in this area.

All teaching is in English, and your proficiency in the language needs to be adequate for postgraduate study and for contributing to online discussions by text and voice. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you make sure you can achieve a score of at least seven in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). To assess your English Language skills in relation to your proposed studies, you can visit the IELTS website.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
03 Feb 2024 Oct 2024 £2760.00

Registration closes 18/01/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2026.

Future availability

Technology-enhanced learning: foundations and futures starts once a year – in February.

This page describes the module that will start in February 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2026.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

This module provides you with specially written online teaching material, learning activities that you will undertake individually or in small groups of fellow students, support from your tutor, online discussion and live online tutorials, a dedicated website, unlimited access to The Open University's Online Educator online course, and other internet resources.

As an OU student, you can use the Open University Library website. This provides access via the internet to a wide range of online resources such as databases, full-text ejournals, reference sources, ebooks, newspapers, images and more to support your studies. You can use these to do a literature search, keep up to date with your subject or read around a topic. Support for developing and improving your information-searching skills is available on the Library website and the Library’s Learner Helpdesk is there seven days a week to provide help and advice on finding and using information.

You will have access to the cutting-edge research and academic expertise offered by the Learning Teaching and Innovation team within the OU. You will also have opportunities for communication – both live and asynchronous – with world-leading researchers in educational technology. 

Computing requirements

You'll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available.

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

If you have a disability

You will be encouraged to consider the issues associated with accessibility in technology-enhanced learning. It will include opportunities to reflect on accessibility issues posed by different tools and resources, and to suggest practical approaches that learners, educators and designers can use to address these challenges. It will also include opportunities to consider and review the use of assistive technologies in the field of technology-enhanced learning.

This module requires the use of a wide range of resources, as you study emerging online technologies. Many of the materials will be delivered as web pages, PDF files and web-based tools. Tutorial and student-led discussions and activities will be carried out in online rooms. In addition, some discussions and collaborative activities will take place as live voice-based events in our audio-conferencing environment.

We have tried to avoid using inaccessible resources, but some material that is core for the module may not be easily accessible if you use assistive technology. Some students may also find the amount of reading from technically different sources challenging. In many cases there will be sufficient alternative activities and material to enable you to complete assignments successfully. Where this is not the case, your tutor will give you additional support in collaboration with other OU staff. Support for access to Library resources is available from the Library Helpdesk.

As you will be asked to study the use of emerging online tools, and to participate in live online discussions in an audio-conferencing environment, you may find it beneficial to have someone assisting you. Advice on this is available from an adviser.

Students are asked to consider a range of audiences in terms of writing and disseminating research outcomes. We encourage more scholarly writing where appropriate and it is possible that some students may experience some challenges with this, as with the need to write in different environments, such as online forums. Tutors will help by working with individual students to find strategies to manage specific learning activities in alternative ways.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.

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