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.

Mark Gaved is a lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology (Learning and Technology Innovation) , 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.

As a member of IET's Quality Enhancement Insights 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 working on the following research projects:

ARCLIGHT - exploring how community managed digital tools based on the MAZI system (Raspberry Pi computers with custom software) can support the gathering and discussion of positive mental health stories in Guyana, South America. The goal is to empower local communities and provide evidence to support the development of a Guyanese undergraduate nursing qualification. Funded by the British Academy, this project runs from 2019-2020.

'MAZI spin-offs': 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. Using this Raspberry Pi platform, Mark is helping support colleagues in a number of deployments, including teacher training in rural Zambia for the OU's International Development Office ZEST project,and community knowledge sharing in Guyana (with Dr. Andrea Berardi, and Prof. Jay Mistri (Royal Holloway College, University of London).

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!

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

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 consideredhow feedback and progress indicators might create coherent learning journeys from fragmented episodes, and how multisensory contextual support cansupport situated learning.

Earlier Projects

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 has previously supervised the following students:


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


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

Download my research cv 

Office phone: +44 (0)1908 654821 (x54821 on campus)

Where's my desk? Jennie Lee Building, First Floor, south side.(update Spring 2020: Currently working from home because of the pandemic)

Post address:
(Update: send an email for home address details during virus pandemic)

Institute of Educational Technology, Jennie Lee Building, Walton Hall, The Open University, MK7 6AA







  • 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