Photo of Anne Adams

Prof Anne Adams MSc (UCL), BSc (Mdx)

Professor of Engaged Practice and Research

As a passionate developer of others I am always eager to find the innovative solution and way through challenges that suits others needs. I have used technology enhanced learning in many different contexts and I find it fascinating how technology, often because of its simplicity, brings to the forefront social, organizational and political problems that areoften hidden in face to face communications. I have found that technology also has the potential to empower and enable people, as long as it is driven by peoples needs and not technological requirements. 

Through my 20-year career I have focused my leadership on Knowledge Exchange and professional development through both ‘Engaged Practice’ and ‘Deep Learning’. My external and internal leadership contributions are demonstrated through a combination of: contract research leading to public sector engagement and international support for professional development resulting in business consultancy. This is collectively evidenced through upper quartile performance in external research funding, REF-able publications, strategic and operational changes to the OU’s professional development culture, Consultancy projects, Invitation by government, national and international invites for expertise on knowledge exchange, professional development culture change and innovative Knowledge Exchange outputs.

Deep learning and continuing professional development (CPD) are often undervalued producing simplistic, ‘tick-box’ processes and surface learning. My expertise and leadership in digital, engaged practice, innovations for and deep learning solutions has been recognised and rewarded through prominent contract research with national and international cross-discipline funders including; the European Commission (EC), the College of Policing, The Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and government departments totalling over £6 Million 


From an initial acting career in theatre and film I spent several years in Market Research. My reputation as a researcher was then saved by a degree in Psychology with IT. It was here that I realised computers can do quite useful things as long as they were designed for mere mortals to use them and people are supported in developing their use of these technologies. I continued with this notion by studying an MSc in HCI (human computer interaction) at the UCL interaction center [formerly known as the ergonomics group]. I furthered my knowledge with a PhD at UCL, CS & psychology department looking at security, privacy and multimedia communicaitons. After a research fellow posts & consultancy work at Middlesex University & UCLmy quest to make computers work and support peoples developmentthrough 'elearning' took me into an academic position at Nottingham Univesity.  I now continue my 'elearning' and professional development research in IET at the Open University.


Dr. Adams is the IET Associate Director for Academic Professional Development positioned in the faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS). This work builds on her strategic coordination of practitioner inquiry and action research support within the OU OpenCETLS, as well as developing a mentoring programme for the CETL Fellows.  Dr Adams is also the research lead for innovating pedagogy and a senior lecturer in IET. 

More recent research activities include Associate Director for knowledge exchange and technology pathways in 'The National Centre for Policing Research and Professional Development'.  This project began work in September 2015 and is funded by a grant from the Home Office and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and managed by the College of Policing.  It is coordinated and works closely with the OU policing consoritum with 12 policing forces / bodies, overseen by a Steering Group chaired by Dr Steven Chase, Director of People at Thames Valley Police, and Professor Jean Hartley as the Academic Director.  Dr Adams also leads a research project working with highskillz (a serious gaming company)within the national centre on 'interview simulation for interviewing children'

Dr Adams is Principle Investigator on policing CPD and eLearning development work has now been funded with CEPOL (the European Policing College) to develop requirements and a procurement process for their eNet systems. 

Dr Adams is also Principle Investigator (with Oxford University Education Dept) on the ESRC Impact Accelerator Award developing teacher training and CPD open educational resources around 'tricky topics' a practice based application of threshold concepts. 

Dr. Adams also engages in scholarship activities and has completed two scholarship projects:

GET-IT Project: Participatory Video techniques have been used to support AL staff development across the faculties of business, Education, Healthcare and educational technology.  The results from this project identify that not only are these methods useful at an immediate tool but as an ongoing resource for workshop reflections.  The videos have currently been used by OUBS Course Teams to support international collaboration and understanding aroudn practice based learning.

Mobile Clinical Learnig Project:  Working with UCL CHIME and Turkish Teaching Hospital mobile devices are currently being distributed to clincians to support them in their work-based learning activities.  A comparative mixed method evaluation of these mobile support mechanisms will support an international viewpoint on the use of mobile learning in a global arena.

Dr. Adams has also been commissioned by the NHS to complete consultancy work on digital libraries and information provision in safety critical contexts.








  • Holliman, Richard; Adams, Anne; Blackman, Tim; Collins, Trevor; Davies, Gareth; Dibb, Sally; Grand, Ann; Holti, Richard; McKerlie, Fiona; Mahony, Nick and Wissenburg, Astrid (). An Open Research University. Milton Keynes: The Open University.











  • Adams, Anne and Sasse, Angela (). The User is not the enemy. In: Cranor, Lorrie Faith and Garfinkel, Simson eds. Security and Usability: Designing secure systems that people can use USA: O’Reilly, pp. 610-630.






Project Logo MAZI (MAZI:Developing a DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness ) 2016 - 2018
MIAG (Migration for Inclusive African Growth) 2017 - 2018
OWL (Open World Learning) 2015 - 2020
PKF (Police Knowledge Fund) 2015 - 2017


Gold Award

International Serious Games

Silver Award

International Learning Technologies

Wise Award

sponsored by Goldman Sachs and presented by HRH Princess Royal