Course info

Course Overview

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) into Learner Experience Research (#LERMOOC) is offered by and for members of the ELESIG community ( ELESIG is a community for those interested in educational evaluations that investigate learners’ experiences with technology. 

The course is a community-based development, where many ELESIG members are offering to share their knowledge and experiences through writing case studies, producing videos, moderating activities and presenting at webinars. 

Because of all the different people who have been involved, you may find that #LERMOOC looks and feels different from other MOOCs you may have completed. We hope you enjoy exploring a range of different perspectives and approaches each week. 

We also hope you feel part of this community, and are able to share and contribute to the resources we are collecting here.  If you are a social networker and post about the MOOC, please use the hashtag #LERMOOC (and #ELESIG if you have enough characters).

What to expect

We have chosen to focus on one research approach – action research – as a way of conducting research into learners' experiences of technologies.

In this course, you will work on a plan for a small-scale action research project in preparation to write and publish about student learner experience. You will consider why we need learner experience research and follow a series of activities to guide you through the process. 

This MOOC has 6 lessons, with each lesson divided into several units. If you want to complete all the activities, you will need 3-4 hours per week. You can do additional readings and activities to expand upon some of the topics.

The course is structured into six lessons as shown in the diagram below:

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Who is this MOOC for?

#LERMOOC is for those who are interested in undertaking research into learners’ experiences of technologies within an educational setting. These are likely to be staff based in further and higher education organisations, and may include representatives of other education sectors too.

This MOOC is targeted at those new to conducting learner experience research, especially teachers researching their own practice. We also welcome researchers experienced in other fields who wish to update and share their knowledge and expertise.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this MOOC, successful participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of learner experience research
  • Choose between methods of data collection suitable for learner experience research
  • Plan a small scale action research project in learner experience
  • Create a writing and publication plan
  • Consider a range of dissemination methods


Successful participants will develop the knowledge and skills to be able to carry out a small scale research project and develop a plan for writing and publication.

Certification and Additional Info

EMMA provides a certificate to whom complete more than 70% of the course. These certificates are not credit bearing.

You will receive your certificate directly via email a couple of weeks after the end of the course.


Sincere thanks to:

  • Katharine Jewitt for setting up this MOOC space and bringing the ELESIG community together to work on LERMOOC;
  • Shirley Williams (Emeritus Professor at the University of Reading), Denise Sweeney (University of Nottingham) and Sarah Cornelius (University of Aberdeen) for reviewing a draft of the MOOC content and providing constructive feedback;
  • Ilaria Merciai and Eleonora Panto (Emma platform) for their help and assistance in using the Emma platform;
  • Simon Rae for his excellent cartoons accompanying each week; and
  • Andy Sim, University of Glasgow, who filmed and produced the week 1 overview video and created the video intros and outros.

Use of content and licenses

The course materials are available under the Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA , unless stated otherwise.

Course Structure

  • Lesson 1 - Welcome and getting started: Why we need learner experience research by Dr. Vicki Dale27/02/2017
  • Lesson 2 - Methods to use in the field of learner experience research by Professor Rhona Sharpe06/03/2017
  • Lesson 3 - Carrying out Action Research by Dr. George Roberts13/03/2017
  • Lesson 4 - Writing up your Action Research by Dr. Sue Becker20/03/2017
  • Lesson 5 - Publication and Dissemination by Tünde Varga-Atkins27/03/2017
  • Lesson 6 - Consolidating the Course by Sandra Huskinson03/04/2017


Vicki Dale

I co-coordinate the Learner Experience Research MOOC with Professor Rhona Sharpe, which has been designed, developed and/or reviewed by a number of dedicated educators from across the ELESIG community.

I am a Senior Academic and Digital Development Adviser at the Learning Enhancement and Academic Development Service at the University of Glasgow (UofG). My main remit to date has been to support academic staff in designing, developing and evaluating blended and online distance programmes and courses, and this has expanded to incorporate academic development more broadly. 

I have a particular interest in learner experience research, my previous role at UCL being E-Learning Evaluation Specialist. I am also heavily involved in quality enhancement work with key stakeholders across UofG, to progress student, staff and institutional transitions to blended and online distance learning. I am currently co-lead for ELESIG Scotland alongside Prof Peter Hartley.


Rhona Sharpe

Rhona has been working as an educational developer in higher education for 20 years. She began her career as a psychology lecturer at the University of Plymouth where she first encountered teaching and learning specialists. After that she moved to the Open University where she worked a Staff Tutor in the Institute of Educational Technology, recruiting and supporting online tutors on the MA in Open and Distance Education. Rhona moved to the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development in 2003 where she held positions as a Senior Lecturer and Principal Lecturer before becoming Head of the Centre in 2011 and Professor in 2013.

Rhona’s interests are around developing online courses and uses of technology and encouraging pedagogic research. From 2005-2010 she directed a number of learner experience projects which have received great interest and national recognition across both the further and higher education sector, in pioneering innovative research methods and techniques for eliciting students’ expectations and experiences of using technology in their learning. The culmination of these projects was the creation of ELESIG; a special interest group for those interested in evaluations of learners' experiences of e-learning.  


Sue Becker

Dr Sue Becker is a Social Psychologist and Senior Lecturer
at Teesside University. Sue is a specialist in qualitative research methods and
uses Action research in both her teaching and research. Sue supports final year
Psychology students to use Action research to design and evaluate innovative
approaches to deliver sexual health and sex education to marginalised groups as
an assessment strategy on her final year option module. The module has been
recognised by the HEA and QAA as an example of effective practice in independent
learning in the sector. Sue also conceived and used an action research approach
to work in partnership with Psychology Undergraduates develop the Student’s Academic
Literacy Tool (SALT) project. The project has received national recognition
both from JISC as winner of the 2015 Summer of Student Ideas competition and
coming runner in the 2016 Guardian University Awards.


Sandra Huskinson

consultant specialising in educational
multimedia I have worked on a variety of projects providing consultancy and
training in the following areas: course development for online and classroom
based use of technology (from initial conception to final product including
interactive elements), copyright and intellectual property law with specific
application to learning and interacting via social media, usability for
efficient and creative interface design and the pedagogical aspects and use of
animation, video, lecture capture and utlising different types of multimedia to enhance teaching and
learning curriculum and experience. Authoring and creating: animation,
illustration, photography and video materials I also work as a student mentor for the University of Nottingham    


George Roberts


Tunde Varga-Atkins

As a Learning Technology Developer at the eLearning Unit of University of Liverpool, I support staff across the university in their e-learning development. I have also developed a specialism in research and evaluation, focusing on technology-enhanced learning and building pedagogic research capacity of colleagues. I do this via co-facilitating TEL Research @Liverpool, a group aimed at building capacity around TEL research, co-convening a regional ELESIG NW group and organising seminars and conferences for staff. My specific areas of interest included the development of digital capabilities, researching learner experiences of e-learning and the educational uses of wikis. My interest in visual and other research methods, such as the nominal group technique all feature in my research and evaluation work.


Week 1 Tutors

Week 1 is delivered by a team of educators: 

Dr Vicki Dale (lead author, pictured above), Senior Academic and Digital Development Adviser at the University of Glasgow; 

Kirstie Coolin (moderator, top left), E-Learning and Media Manager, Health E-Learning and Media, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham; 

Shane McMordie (moderator, top right), online university teacher and PhD student at Lancaster University, researching technology enhanced learning; 

Prof. Amanda Jefferies (moderator, bottom left), Professor of Technology-Enhanced Learning and National Teaching Fellow, University of Hertfordshire. Amanda researchers students' experiences of using digital technologies to support their learning; and

Dr Paul Richardson (bottom right), biologist and online educator for Jisc. Paul advises colleges and universities on technology enhanced learning and network infrastructure.


Week 2 Tutors

Week 2 is delivered by a team of educators:

Prof Rhona Sharpe (lead author), is Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development and Professor of Higher Education at Oxford Brookes University; 

Dr. Mark Childs (webinar lead), has taught on staff development programmes at Warwick, Coventry and Worcester Universities and is now a senior lecturer in technology-enhanced learning at Oxford Brookes University. Mark will be joined in the webinar by Peter Bryant from the London School of Economics and Ronald Macintyre from the Open University in Scotland, and Prof. Amanda Jefferies

Prof. Amanda Jefferies (moderator), Professor of Technology-Enhanced Learning and National Teaching Fellow, at University of Hertfordshire. Amanda researchers students' experiences of using digital technologies to support their learning; 

Margaret Chawawa (moderator), Senior Lecturer and HEA Senior Fellow at Leeds Beckett University, and PhD student at Lancaster University, E-Research and Technology Enhanced learning.

Lorraine Syme-Smith (moderator), is Programme Convenor, at University of Dundee; and

Alistair McNaught, Subject Specialist (Accessibility and Inclusion), Jisc, who provided additional learning material.


Week 3 Tutors

Week 3 is delivered by a team of educators: 

Dr George Roberts (lead author), Oxford Brookes University. George is an Educational Developer (e-Learning) for the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development;

David Bevington (moderator), LC Lead and eLearning Facilitator at the Cornwall College Group;

Hayley Atkinson (moderator), Manchester Metropolitan University. Hayley is an e-learning developer with research interests in student perceptions of e-books and student-created animations for assessment purposes; and

Anna Rolinska (moderator), University of Glasgow. Anna is a Lecturer in English for Academic Study and has a keen interest in online learner autonomy and identity as well as action research. She is also a Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching representative at the University of Glasgow.


Week 4 Tutors

Week 4 is delivered by a team of educators:

Sue Becker (lead author), University of Teeside. Sue is a Social Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at Teeside University who uses action research in her research and teaching.

Dr Lina Petrakieva (webinar lead), Glasgow Caledonian University. Lina is an Academic Development Tutor at GCU's Learning Development Centre;
Hayley Atkinson (moderator), Manchester Metropolitan University, who you met in Week 3; 

Mark Childs (moderator), Oxford Brookes University, who you met in Week 2; and

Kirstie Coolin (moderator), University of Nottingham, who you met in Week 1. 


Week 5 Tutors

Week 5 is delivered by a team of educators:

Tunde Varga-Atkins (lead author), Learning Technology Developer in the E Learning Unit, Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Liverpool. Tunde also champions ELESIG North West with colleagues from Manchester and LJMU;
Dr Mary McVey (moderator), Lecturer in Life Sciences, University of Glasgow. Mary is a regular presenter at ELESIG Scotland events and has special interests in blended and online learning, and e-assessment;
Kirstie Coolin (tweet chat lead), University of Nottingham, who you met in week 1;

Prof. Amanda Jefferies (moderator), University of Hertfordshire, who you met in weeks 1 and 2; and

Dr Vicki Dale (moderator), University of Glasgow, who you met in week 1.


Week 6 Tutors

Week 6 is delivered by a team of educators:

Sandra Huskinson (lead author), Freelance Educational Consultant;

Dr Leah Marks (moderator), Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Glasgow. Leah has experience in designing and running MOOCs on genomics, and is a keen proponent of online education;

Dr Mary McVey (moderator), University of Glasgow, who you met in week 5; and

Prof. Rhona Sharpe (moderator), Oxford Brookes University, who you met in week 2.