Photo of Simon Cross

Dr Simon Cross MA, PhD, PGCE, FRGS

Associate Director, Quality Enhancement

My research work within IET/LTI-Academic is focused on several areas. These include: understanding the context, role and impact of open and online study on student learning; issues and trends in use of handheld mobile devices for study and non-study purposes; student perceptions and understanding of Learning Gain; design and effectiveness of micro-level learning pathways; and exploring emerging opportunities for VR technologies. I also contribute to a range of institutional strategic projects and faculty-initiated work. I joined the academic team as lecturer in late 2014. See my blog for recent news (under social media tab). My present areas of interest are:

Open and Online Learning

I have led or been involved in developing a number of open online courses. As a member of the TESS-India academic team I have worked on the design, facilitator training, delivery and evaluation of two teacher trainer MOOCs in India (2015 and 2016) and at present we are working at State level to support strategic alignment and uptake of the TESS-India OER resources. The TESS-India project was Best International Project, Guardian University Awards 2017 (for more information see our latest paper: MOOC adaptation and translation to improve equity in participation). I've also been involved in evaluating the 2013 OLDS MOOC, the 2013 Open Education MOOC and FutureLearn MOOCs, and led the delivery team of the 2009-10 OpenED OOC (EU funded project). I am an author on the OU's MA in Online and Distance Education.

Learning Analytics and Gains

I am a member of the ABC Learning Gains project team and currently leading the analysis of quantitative data collected from in-depth student interviews. Of particular interest are the perceptions, framing and interpretations of the concept of making a 'learning gain'. I am a principal member of the OU's Data Wrangler team who analyse and interpret learning analytics and student feedback data. In the last two years, I have written reports in to the impact of studying concurrent study, module performance, and assessment banking. I also worked on the 2015-2016 OU Learning Anlaytics project.

Mobile and Handheld Learning

Over the last three years I have been lead of a longitudinal survey seeking to monitor and understand student uses of handheld technologies. Our current dataset represents a unique insight into distance learners' use of handheld devices and the changing place and space of study.

Learning Design, Student Choice and Micro-learning Pathways

I have a longstanding interest in learning design and visualisation. I first joined the OU's strategic Learning Design project in 2007 and was involved throughout the 2008-2012 JISC sponsored Open University Learning Design Initiate (OULDI) Project. At present I am interested in implementing adaptive and multi-path learning routes by using existing VLE functionality and framing this as a choice to students. A small-scale pilot on a post-gradaute module is currently being evaluated.

Assessment and digital badges

I have been involved in several projects related to the OU's institutional Assessment Programme. In 2014-16 I led the Student Experience of Assessment, Feedback and Revision (SEFAR) project and made contributions to the institutional benchmarking of assessment practice. I have a particular interest in exploring synergies between learning design, revision design, and learning/assessment analytics. Between 2016-2017 I was co-investigator and Work Package lead for the EU funded TeSLA project and remain interested in the function and roles of digital badges for learning and for learners.

Dr Simon Cross is a lecturer at The Open University (UK). His current research interests include embedding open and online learning, the contextualised experience of MOOCs, VR, student experience and perceptions of learning gain and assessment, learning design, and mobile learning. He is an academic author on the university’s MA in Online and Distance Learning and has led projects aligned to strategic learning and teaching programmes. Simon has worked on nine externally funded projects since joining the university and has presented at many international conferences.
















A longitudinal mixed method study of learning gain: applying Affective-Behaviour Cognition framework at 3 institutions 2015 - 2018


Invited Talk

18th July 2019

Digital Badges and Learning Design for teacher professional development

Research Seminar Series, Centre for Education Innovation and Action Research Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

Conference Presentation

1st July 2019

Invited Talk

26th June 2019

Conference Presentation

18th June 2019

Invited Talk

21st March 2019


30th January 2019


22nd January 2019

Introducing Digital Badges for Learning

Digital Badges Symposium Delhi, India (via remote link)

Conference Presentation

7th November 2018

Conference Presentation

16th December 2017

Effective use of MOOCs in English and Hindi for teacher training in India

Transforming Education for Humanity (TECH) Conference Visakhapatnam, India

Conference Presentation

8th December 2017

How do students understand and interpret learning gains? Perspectives from in-depth interviews

Society of Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Conference Newport, Wales


10th February 2017

Designing effective exam revision experiences

New Technologies in Education Belgrade


10th February 2017

Improving student retention using TEL and course design

New Technologies in Education Conference

Conference Presentation

7th June 2016


26th February 2016

Making the most of learning analytics: achieving impact

New Technologies in Education Conference Belgrade

Invited Talk

26th February 2016

Emerging patterns in distance learners' use of mobile devices

New Technologies in Education Conference Belgrade

Invited Talk

20th January 2016

Conference Presentation

26th November 2014

Invited Talk

5th March 2014

Badges for Learning: a review of the formative role of badges in two open online courses

Link: Online

Conference Presentation

13th June 2012

Defining the learning design problem space: creating a better learning solution

International Blended Learning Conference Herefordshire