I am a lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology, sharing my time between research and supporting Open University teaching and learning. I'm interested in informal and self-directed learning, mobile and location-based teaching and learning practices, community based learning and hacker/maker cultures. I have been a researcher and practitioner in educational technology since 1997, commencing a PhD at the OU in 2003, and through a series of postdoc positions moved to lecturer in IET in 2014.

I am currently co-investigator on the ARCLIGHT project, exploring how hyperlocal network tools (based on the EU MAZI project software, run on low cost battery powered small computers) can support community mental health resilience in Guyana through the collection, curating and sharing of video stories. This approach is also used in the Open University's ZEST (Zambian Education School-based Training) project, where I am providing guidance on a pilot using Raspberry Pi computers and the MAZI system to assess its value in supporting technology-enhanced teacher training in settings where internet and cellphone aspects are unreliable yet there is widespread domestication of smartphones.

My teaching support principally focusses around my work as a member of IET's Quality Enhancement and Innovations team, working in partnership with faculties at the OU and independently to provide pan-university pedagogic insights and ongoing QE process support. Currently I am planning the Quality Enhancement Seminar Series (2021). I have recently led a team investigating students' perceptions of the terms used in the National Student Survey through a series of interviews, exploring whether our university's results in some sections might be influenced by the particular nature of distance learning studying experienced by the Open University's wide student demographic.

I am part of the coordinating team of IET's Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG) seminar series, bringing together researchers in the OU and beyond interested in educational technology. With the shift to online catalysed by the global pandemic I have helped coordinate the annual conference as a virtual event and coordinated the shift of the seminars to online events, which have not only enabled the continuity of community but extended their reach to become international events.

I am currently co-supervising Alastair McCabe (OU STEM): his PhD (part time) is investigating the pedagogy of learning using Online Engineering Laboratories.

Mark Gaved is a lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology, sharing his time between research and supporting Open University teaching. He is interested in informal and self-directed learning, mobile and location-based teaching and learning practices, community based learning and hacker/maker cultures.. He has been a researcher and practitioner in educational technology since 1997, commencing a PhD at the OU in 2003, and through a series of postdoc positions moved to lecturer in IET in 2014.

As a member of IET's Quality Enhancement and Innovations team, Mark is responsible for exploring how we can learn from the Open University's activities to better understand and improve student retention and progression. Mark is an author on the H880 postgraduate level module "Technology Enhanced Learning: Foundations and Futures" and present short courses within the OU, which is now delivered via FutureLearn.

Mark is currently supervising one PhD student and has supervised two doctoral students.

Mark is currently working on the following research projects:

Hyperlocal networking theme: due to the success of the MAZI project, Mark is supporting a number of initiatives exploring how low-cost, portable computers might support community knowledge creation and sharing through enhancing capacity using networked devices owned and run by local groups.

ZEST: (Zambian Education School-based Training) is a project led by the Open University's International Development Office, invited by the Zambian Ministry of General Education to help improve teacher training to support the implementation of a learner-centred model of education. Mark is working with the OU teacher educator team to support the piloting of an 'offline networked learning' approach to supporting teachers' continuing professional development in a number of the target schools with low-cost, battery powered Raspberry Pi computers that enable the dissemination of training materials and offer schools a way of engaging with digital literacy capability building. A successful proof of concept pilot is leading to an expansion of the trials during 2021-2022. http://www.open.ac.uk/about/international-development/projects-and-programmes/zest-zambian-education-school-based-training

Hyperlocal La Campana: Working with the OU Design Group, Mexican researchers and a FabLab in in Monterrey, Mexico, Mark is exploring how an offline, hyperlocal approach to digital resource sharing might support design / maker learning for children and families in an urban area in Mexico who cannot access formal education or a FabLab during the Covid-19 pandemic. Led by Nicle Lotz (OU STEM), we are carrying out an initial pilot to explore how technologies and pedagogies may support this novel form of teaching and learning. Running in 2020-2021 this project has been funded by the OU.

DETECT: citizen based malaria detection in Guyana, using space technologies. Mark's role is to help bridge technical and community teams and advise on the community deployment of technologies, developing expertise from the ARCLIGHT and MAZI projects (see below). https://www.open.ac.uk/research-groups/astrobiology/news/detect-integrated-space-technology-vector-control 

Recent Projects

The following projects have been recently completed, but the team is still writing up the findings and interested to find ways to continue the work - get in touch!

ARCLIGHT was a community mental health resilience project undertaken in Guyana, South America. The research had a unique approach in addressing the question of how to better promote community mental health resilience through engaging the participants as co-researchers. It enabled participants to create positive uplifting collective stories of mental health resilience which they shared with each other and the wider community. These stories were collected, curated and shared through the use of community-owned technologies: smartphones and Raspberry Pi computers with custom software (MAZI- developed on a previous EU funded project which included IET as a key partner). The goal was to empower local communities and provide evidence to support the development of Guyanese undergraduate nursing education. Participants in the three communities that worked with the researchers (a coastal town facing unemployment; a refuge for women; and an indigenous village) demonstrated how communities have collectively managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges through their own actions and resources. As well as academic papers, the project resulted in a Handbook for social and health care practitioners, and developed a distance learning module within The Open University’s OpenLearn Create online platform. This has not only allowed us to achieve our aim of providing the University of Guyana with a module for integration within their nursing programme, but will also enable other institutions within Guyana and beyond to adapt the module for their own programmes. Funded by the British Academy, this project ran from 2019-2020.

MAZI - exploring community developed ("DIY") computer networks to support citizen engagement and collective awareness ( http://www.mazizone.eu ). In this project we investigated how community owned and developed computer networks might solve local social issues and sustainable living. This project is funded by the EU's Horizon2020 CAPS framework (Jan 2016 - Dec 2018). The OU worked closely with community technologists SPC, led by James Stevens, on a pilot study in Deptford, London, 'Creeknet'. The Open University was responsible for meta-evaluation of the four project pilot studies (Deptford, Zurich, Berlin, Kokkinopilos)- activity led by Dr. Gareth Davies as part of Mark's team.

RE:FORM - "Reimagining Education for the Future Of Redistributed Manufacturing" ( http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/reform/ ). In this 2015 project we explored how Open University design students can work remotely over the internet with distant trainee fabrication learners ('makers') based in MAKLab, Glasgow to collaboratively design and build full scale chair prototypes that are fabricated using industrial CNC routers. This project was funded by the Royal College of Art and EPSRC in their exploration of redistributed manufacturing supply chains, and our approach was to look at the education and training challenges (Future Makespaces in Re-Distributed Manufacturing, EPSRC (EP/M017591/1) ). I'm working with colleagues to further explore making in community settings, and also how we might develop the RE:FORM work to support design-based university curricula.

SALSA -"Sensors and Apps for Languages in Smart Areas"(http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/salsa/), exploring location triggered language learning. In SALSA (2014 -2015), we explored how to trigger language resources around the city, and to understand their effectiveness as a learning resource, as well as identifying how language learners use smartphones more generally. We have also begun to consider how this approach might be used to encourage the exploration of cultural heritage of cities by tourists and locals, working with colleagues in the MAZI project (see above).This project was funded by the Open University, building on the MK:Smart project exploring how Milton Keynes can develop as a smart city

Earlier Projects

MASELTOV -"Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services" (http://www.maseltov.eu). This was a three year EU Framework 7 project running from January 2012 to December 2014. In this project, I worked as a researcher investigating how incidental learning might support recent immigrants with social inclusion and language learning, devising an incidental learning framework as part of the OU team. We considered how feedback and progress indicators might create coherent learning journeys from fragmented episodes, and how multisensory contextual support can support situated learning.

xDelia - AN EU FP7 projectimproving financial decision making in three different fields of practice: professional trading, private investment, and personal finance. The project used and evaluated the potential of games, game technologies, and sensors as components in learning support environments, and as tools to conduct experimental and field research. As research associate I liaised between technical developers, games designers, and psychologists to enable the running of field trials with financial traders.

Vital - An Open University project to support professional development for teachers in England via an online learning environment and local meet ups. I was the project officer working between teachers, technical developers and content creators.

ERA - "Enabling Remote Activity" (2006- present). An Open University project to support mobility impaired geology students to take part in undergraduate fieldwork activities. We built a highly portable WiFi network that provided students with a live link between their location (e.g. roadside) up to the hill and a geology tutor, enabling participation in field explorations alongside their peers. Dr. Trevor Collins has taken this on and further developed the work.

Schome - An Open University project developing a virtual world informal learning environment for gifted and talented teenagers (developed in Second Life).


Mark is currently co-supervising Alastair McCabe (2020-2026): his PhD (part time) is investigating the pedagogy of learning using Online Engineering Laboratories. Allan Jones is the lead supervisor, and Vikram Goolaup is also co-supervising.

Mark has previously supervised the following students:


Phillippa Seaward (2020).A case study of learning, support and disruption for distance learners in student-led Facebook study groups. http://oro.open.ac.uk/70905/


Rean van der Merwe (2013). Hyperlocal online deliberation and civic governance: a socio-technical perspective). http://oro.open.ac.uk/61731/

Mark also provides Third Party Monitoring support to current PhD students.

Download my research cv








  • Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Adam, Marc; Clough, Gill; Conole, Grainne; Gaved, Mark; Lins, Jeffrey Todd; Lindley, Craig; Peffer, Gilbert; Scanlon, Eileen and Smidts, Ale. (). A game based approach to improve traders' decision-making. In: The International Gamification for Business Conference 2015: Strategic Industrial Applications of Games and Gamification, 21-22 Sep 2015, Innovation Birmingham, Faraday Wharf, Innovation Birmingham Campus, Holt Street, Birmingham Science Park Aston, Birmingham, B7 4BB.




  • Collins, Trevor; Mulholland, Paul and Gaved, Mark (). Scripting personal inquiry. In: Littleton, Karen; Scanlon, Eileen and Sharples, Mike eds. Orchestrating Inquiry Learning Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 87-104.










ARCLIGHT 2019 - 2020
Project Logo MAZI (MAZI:Developing a DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness ) 2016 - 2018
MASELTOV (Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Pervasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services) 2012 - 2014
Project Logo RE:FORM (Re-imagining Education for the Future Of Redistributed Manufacturing (Makespaces and distributed design education: a feasibility study for the RCA)) 2015
Project Logo SALSA (Sensors and Apps for Languages in Smart Areas ) 2014 - 2015


Handheld Learning Innovation award

For Enabling Remote Activity Project

OU Teaching Award

For Enabling Remote Activity Project