Louis Major

Dr

  • Ellen Wilkinson Building, Oxford Road

    M15 6JA Manchester

Personal profile

Biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Digital Education at the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE). My research focuses on digital technology’s role in the future of education, in particular, how this can help to address educational disadvantage and support effective dialogue and communication. I co-lead the Digital Technologies, Communication and Education Research and Scholarship group at the University of Manchester. I have also been an Editor of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) since 2020.

I am Principal Investigator (PI) of two large projects exploring digital technology’s role in personalising learning and assessment. This work is undertaken in partnership with technology experts and the global EdTech Hub team, which is investigating how culturally appropriate uses of technology can lead to better learning outcomes for children in low-income countries. Launched in 2019, the Hub is the world's biggest educational technology research initiative. Currently taking place in Kenya, this work integrates design-based research and randomised control trial methodologies and involves several thousand learners aged 4-8 years old.

Prior to joining MIE, I worked as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Education: 2013-21). I was also Principal Researcher and co-founder of the Digital Education Futures Initiative (DEFI) established in 2020. Examples of my previous research includes as:

  • Principal Investigator of the Gaming to Development project (G2D: 2020-21). Stimulated by the narrowing difference between the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ world, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, G2D investigated how a real-time 3D creation platform - the Unreal Engine - can support careers education and enable young people to develop important 'future skills' and competences related to effective dialogue.
  • Co-Investigator of the Virtual Internships Project (VIP: 2019-21). Working with industry partners and teachers in England, VIP investigated how technology can enable young people from areas of low social mobility to engage meaningfully with the world of work (in addition to supporting the development of effective teamwork, problem-solving and creativity).
  • Lead UK Researcher on the Digitalised Dialogues Across the Curriculum project (DiDiAC: 2016-2020). Working with colleagues at the University of Oslo, and teachers across Norway and the UK, developing and evaluating the impact of a microblogging tool (Talkwall) on classroom dialogue and interaction.

Other past work included investigating the role of tablet computers in schools and the use of digital video to support teacher professional development.

I am particularly interested in educational design-based research as a methodological framework as well as systematic approaches to synthesising research evidence.

My PhD (Computer Science) involved evaluating the effectiveness of digital tools to support the learning of computer programming. I have also worked as a Research Assistant for the Lifelong Learning Network (based at Staffordshire University: 2009-11) and Sessional Lecturer and Teaching Assistant at Keele University (2009-13).

Teaching

I am part of the MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education (DTCE) teaching team at MIE.

During the 2023/24 Academic Year, I will be teaching mainly on the 'Digital Education Research' units.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Association for Learning Technology (ALT), Associate
  • British Educational Research Association (BERA), Member
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA), Fellow

Supervision information

I would welcome informal contact from prospective doctoral students with research interests very closely aligned to the areas outlined above (e.g., a strong focus on educational disadvantage, educational dialogue/communication and/or digital personalised learning). Please send a full CV and proposed research plan that clearly demonstrates links to these areas. Information about potential postgraduate research funding at The University of Manchester is available online.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, PhD Computer Science, University of Keele

20092013

Master of Science, Information Technology, University of Keele

20082009

Bachelor of Arts, Law & History, University of Keele

20052008

External positions

Editor, British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET)

2020 → …

Fellow, The Higher Education Academy

2018 → …

Areas of expertise

  • L Education (General)
  • Digital Education
  • Educational Technology
  • Education Futures
  • Educational Dialogue
  • International Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Design-based research
  • Evidence synthesis
  • QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
  • Computer Science Education

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Digital Futures

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