Learning futures

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
PhD or Professional doctorate PhD:
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
October November to January
PhD or Professional doctorate
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
Start dates
Application period
November to January

Tackling global challenges in education and shaping its possible futures through multidisciplinary research networks and pedagogical innovation. It is our mission to tackle global challenges in contemporary education and shape its possible futures for widening participation. IET’s Learning Futures research and innovation programme aims to investigate, establish and encourage multidisciplinary networks to embrace global challenges within education with highly scalable Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), MOOC platforms and portable devices supporting mobile learning.

Engaging with communities, partners and stakeholders across academia, industry, government and civil society in the UK and internationally, our research in mobile learning, citizen engagement, online language learning and MOOCs addresses the needs of dispersed and disadvantaged learners.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and an MA or research methods training at MA level (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Current/recent research projects

  • Every1
  • A new approach to doctorate supervision
  • ExtenDT²
  • ReMaLIC
  • Virtual museums in the covid era
  • ADDAPT Digital
  • Badges for Teacher Professional Development in India
  • The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on OU students
  • MAP
  • EduCS
  • CitSci diaries
  • mEvaluate
  • nQuire
  • LEARN CitSci
  • Close-Up on Heritage Language Learners: An Inquiry project
  • MAZI
  • Science learning with Angry Birds
  • Empowering Design Practices
  • nQUIRE: Young Citizen Inquiry
  • Beyond Prototypes

Potential supervisors

Contact the programme lead to advise: Professor Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

Fees and funding

PhD fees

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Professional doctorate fees

UK fee International fee
Part time: £3,643 per year Part time: £9,250 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership and the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Man using virtual reality goggles

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Tim Coughlan, PGR Convenor in the Future of Learning
Email: WELS-student-enquiries@open.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1908 832511

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.