About our research
The aim of the faculty Educational Sciences is to further education. To support it in its much-needed innovation and professionalisation activities. The best way to do that is through collaboration. The faculty Educational Sciences has chosen the approach of the 'ecology of education'.

This means that the faculty is not only active in the field of theoretical scientific research but also collaborates with users in developing and implementing scientifically sound learning environments, forms of education and didactics. The research activities take into account the complexity of education and the use of the rapidly developing technologies play an important part in them. The underlying thought is that the contact between educational science and educational practice is of vital importance for good educational research and therefore for the improvement of educational quality.

Nevertheless the faculty Educational Sciences imposes on itself very stringent scientfic demands: the results of its scientific activities have to be validated, have to be susceptible to generalization and have to find their way into authoritative (national and international) publications.

Research programme

The faculty Educational Sciences (formerly the Welten Institute) integrates perspectives in carrying out scientific research of complex, practice-relevant issues in the ecology of education. Its research delivers ecologically valid and high-quality results through an integrated approach to issues that draw upon theories of learning and cognition, technology, new media, networking, and educators’ practices and behaviour. The objective of this research is the improvement of the quality of education and the professionalization of educators. To this end, the faculty Educational Sciences contributes to the design and development of tools for learners and educators, as well as the growth of knowledge and expertise in the educational sciences and educational technology.

Disciplinary research

The faculty works on a comprehensive research programme in the field of educational technology, online learning and innovation through IT. The programme is called: Educational Research with impact on activating (online) education. The research followes two research lines. The research line disciplinary research the focus is on formulating theories and instruments in the field of educational sciences that also contributes to the expertise development in the field of educational innovation. 

Multidisciplinary research

In a multidisciplinary programme different disciplines collaborate in doing research into current societal challenges. The Open Universiteit has defined one multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience. This programme consists of three research lines:

  • Safety and Resiliency in Urban Environments
  • Learning and Innovation in Resilient Systems
  • Innovation in education

The Faculty of Educational Sciences contribures mainly to the research line Innovation in education.
This research aims at improving higher and scientific education in general and more particularly improving hte education of the Open University. To this end content specialists and educational scientists closely collaborate. Even more than the disciplinary research this multidisciplinary research is aimed at combining science and valorisation. The focus is on online learning, blended learning, on the use of media and on educational technology. Innovations are studied form a scientific and a design point of view. Partners participate in these projects in different ways: as researchers, as educational designers and/or as teachers.


Research coördinator is prof. dr. Rob Martens

Within the faculty there are four departments:

Technology enhanced learning and innovation

Head of department: dr. Roland Klemke 

Research themes:

  • Educational games, gamification and simulation-based learning 
  • Mobile and seamless learning design 
  • Multimodal learning experiences 
  • Learning analytics and visualizations 
  • Artificial Intelligence for Education 

Read more on education and research on Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovation.


Online learning and instruction

Head of department: prof. dr. Halszka Jarodzka

Research themes:

  • Design of instruction
  • Competences
  • Teacher as supporter

Read more on education and research Online learning and instruction

Social learning

Head of department: prof. dr. ir. Karel Kreijns

Reserach themes:

  • Online Collaborative Learning 
  • Professional Learning Communities and Network Learning

Read more on the education and research on Social learning.


Conditions for life-long learning

Head of department: prof. dr. Renate de Groot

Research themes

  • Context: de leeromgeving
  • Condities: de variabelen die de biopsychologie van de lerende beïnvloeden

Read more on our education and research on Conditions for Life-Long Learning.


Go to the overview of the staff of the Faculty of Educational Sciences



Het research of the Faculty of Educational Sciences focuses on the followin topics: