Dr Niall Winters

Dr. Niall Winters is an Associate Professor of Learning and New Technologies at the Department of Education, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. His main research interest is to design, develop and evaluate technology enhanced learning (TEL) programmes for healthcare workers in the Global South. He mainly works in Kenya, in partnership with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and Amref Health Africa. Niall also has a strong research interest in the role technology can play to support social inclusion in the UK. He is co-Director of the Learning and New Technologies Research Group and was formerly Deputy Director for Research at the Department and Director of the MSc Education (Learning & Technology). 

Niall is on the Visiting Faculty of the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po, Paris and co-editor of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET). He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, a Trustee (former Chair of the Board) of the Restart Project and has consulted for UNESCO, DFID and the NHS. 

Niall holds a PhD in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin and has been a visiting researcher at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon and MIT Media Lab Europe. Before joining the Department of Education in 2014, Niall was a Reader in Learning Technologies at the UCL (previously London) Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education and Deputy Head of the Department of Culture, Communication and Media.

If you are interested in doing a DPhil (PhD) in any of the following areas, please drop Niall an email:

  • The design and development of mobile-based training interventions for healthcare workers in the Global South 
  • Evaluating the role of technology for postgraduate medical training in the UK or the Global South
  • The application of theories of social justice in ICT for Development (ICT4D)
  • The role of technology in supporting social inclusion in (in)formal education and training in the UK

Current doctoral students

  • Imogen Casebourne (co-supervised with Susan James Relly)
  • Karim Elmhairy (co-supervised with Bernie Hogan, Oxford Internet Institute)
  • Rebecca Inglis (co-supervised with Arjen Dondorp, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit)
  • James O’Donovan (co-supervised with Chris Paton, Nuffield Department of Medicine) [Clarendon-ESRC Scholar] 
  • Kinga Petrovai (co-supervised with Gabriel Stylianides)
  • Laura Pinkerton (co-supervised with Rebecca Eynon)
  • Isobel Talks (co-supervised with Anne Geniets) [ESRC scholar]
  • Timothy Tuti Ng’ang’a (co-supervised with Chris Paton and Mike English, Nuffield Department of Medicine and KEMRI-WTRP) [ESRC AQM scholar]
  • Erin Young (co-supervised with Rebecca Eynon) [ESRC-EPSRC Scholar]

Previous doctoral students

  • Jade Vu Henry (PhD 2018, co-supervised with Martin Oliver, UCL IOE)Theorising the Design-Reality Gap in ICT: Matters of Care in Mobile Learning for Kenyan Community Health Workers
  • Laurenz Langer (PhD 2018, co-supervised with Ruth Stewart, UCL IOE/University of Johannesburg) Rethinking mobile learning for development: Using the Capability Approach and a mixed-methods systematic review to conceptualise the application of mobile technologies as an educational tool in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Michael Sean Gallagher (PhD 2016, co-supervised with John Potter, UCL IOE) Charting Trajectories on the Peripheries of Community Practice: Mobile Learning for the Humanities in South Korea
  • Ronda Zelezny-Green (PhD 2017, co-supervised with Dorothea Kleine, Royal Holloway) The Role of Girls’ Mobile Phone Use to Increase Access to Educational Content After School: A Capabilities-Based Evaluation in Nairobi
  • Damien Darcy (PhD,  2016) Learning Design in Hybrid Spaces:  Challenges for Teachers and Learners
  • Saima Rana (PhD 2011, co-supervised with Martin Oliver, UCL IOE) ICT and Educational Purpose in the English Secondary School: Using Bell’s Cultural Contradictions to Challenge Techno-economic Justifications of ICT Use
  • Kevin Walker (PhD 2010, co-supervised with Richard Noss, UCL IOE) Designing for meaning making in museums: Visitor-constructed trails using mobile digital technologies
  • Christothea Herodotou (PhD 2009, co-supervised with Maria Kambouri, UCL IOE) Game appropriation: Where does the gamer fit?
  • Esra Wali (PhD 2008, co-supervised with Martin Oliver, UCL IOE) Reinterpreting mobile learning: An activity-theoretic analysis of portable devices in higher education

Current Research Projects

Niall is currently Principal Investigator (PI) on the:

  • Intelligent support for serious mobile games to improve health care training in the developing world, GCRF, Mar 2017 – Mar 2019, Budget: £49k (PI) (with A. Geniets, C. Paton, M. English)
  • Building an Evidence Network for Community Health Worker Training, HEFEC, Mar – Jul 2018, £69k (PI) (with A. Geniets, L. Langer, J. Robson, A. Lakati & P. Maulik)
  • HBB Module for LIFE Platform, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, £9k, Oct 2017 – June 2018 (CI) (with. C. Paton)
  • GoGirl: Code and Create – Apr 2015-Sept 2018 (co-PI with Anne Geniets), £270k, Oxford University Seed Innovation Fund and Goldman Sachs Gives. For more details, see: http://gogirloxford.org
  • eCraft2Learn: Digital Fabrication and Maker Movement in Education: Making Computer-supported Artefacts from Scratch, EU Horizon 2020, Jan 2017-Dec 2018. Budget: €1.9m (€216k for Oxford). (CI) For more details, see: https://project.ecraft2learn.eu

Previous research projects (selected)

  • KCL – Oxford Symposium on Ethics of innovative technologies for improving health in low-income countries, Wellcome Trust Society & Ethics Small Grant, October 2016 – November 2016. Budget: £2,700. (CI) (with S. Venkatapuram & A. Geniets)
  • An evaluation of a serious mobile game to improve trainee nurses knowledge and skills in emergency neonatal care in Kenyan teaching hospitals, Oxford Wellcome
  • Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), Oct 2016 – June 2018. Budget: £61k. (PI) (with A. Geniets, C. Paton, M. English & G. Irimu)
  •  “Hidden” Children and the Politics of Poverty: Addressing Child Abuse in the Context of Disability in Kenya, Oxford University John Fell Fund, Sept 2015-Aug 2016. Budget: £60,000 (co-PI with A. Geniets)
  • The design and evaluation of a mobile learning intervention for the training and supervision of community health workers, ESRC-DFID, Oct 2012 – Sept 2015. Budget: £496,197 (PI) (with Martin Oliver and Amerf Health Africa). The ESRC Impact Case study for this project is here [link: https://esrc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/impact-case-studies/the-mobile-app-supporting-kenyan-healthcare/]. The dataset is here [link: https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:08b9f5e2-b677-4142-ade7-87603ab1533f]. 
  • The professional development of postgraduate medical trainers’ technology enhanced learning design expertise, HEIF, Feb 2013 – Jan 15. Budget: £32,174 (PI)
  • An investigation of mobile learning for formative assessment and reflective practice in postgraduate medical education, HEA, June 2012-May 2013. Budget: £7,000 (PI)
  • Peer learning and knowledge sharing for distance learning students using mobile phones, CDE, March 2011 – August 2011. Budget: £4,980(PI)
  • Mobile learning for development, HEIF, September 2009 – July 2010. Budget: £20,000 (PI)
  • Learning patterns for the design and deployment of mathematical games, EU Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence, 2006, LKL budget: £39,644 (Project Co-director)
  • ReMATH: Representing Mathematics with Digital Media, 2006-2008, EU FP6-2004-IST-4. LKL budget: £182,626, (Co-I, LKL with C. Morgan)
  • CoMo: Supporting collaborative group work using mobile phones (2007-2008), £20,000 (PI)


  • Winters, N (2014) Practical Design Patterns for Teaching and Learning with Technology. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.

  • Luckin, R, Puntambekar, S, Goodyear, P, Grabowski, B, Underwood, J (2013) Handbook of Design in Educational Technology.

  • Winters, N (2013) The Routledge Handbook of Design in Educational Computing. London: Routledge.

Book chapters

  • Mayhew, SH, Unterhalter, E, Poole, N, Dasandi, N, Winters, N (2015) “Case study on sexual and reproductive health and education: reflections on interlinkage and governance”, In: J Waage, C Yap (eds.) Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development. London: Ubiquity Press. 89-107

  • Winters, N (2015) “E-Learning for development: the role of the teacher”, In: AP Hwa, R Mansell (eds.) Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. New York: Wiley.

  • Unterhalter, E, Poole, N, Winters, N (2015) “Education, information, and knowledge”, In: J Waage, C Yap (eds.) Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development. London: Ubiquity Press. 51-61

  • Winters, N (2013) “An introduction to technology enhanced learning design in postgraduate medical education”, In: R Luckin, P Goodyear, B Grabowski, N Winters (eds.) Handbook of Design in Educational Technology. London: Sage.

  • Winters, N (2013) “Mobile learning in the majority world: A critique of the GSMA position”, In: S Price, C Jewitt, B Brown (eds.) Sage Handbook of Researching Digital Technologies. London: Sage.

  • Dray, S, Light, A, Evers, V, Dearden, A, Densmore, M, Kam, M, Marsden, G, Ramachandran, D, Sambasivan, N, Smyth, T, van Greunen, D, Winters, N (2012) “Human Computer Interaction for Development: Changing HCI to Change the World”, In: J Jacko (ed.) Human Computer Interaction Handbook Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies, and Emerging Applications, Third Edition. CRC Press. 1375-1399

  • Winters, N, Mor, Y, Pratt, D (2010) “The distributed developmental network – d2n: a social configuration to support design pattern generation”, In: P Goodyear, S Retalis (eds.) Technology enhanced learning: Design Patterns and Pattern Languages. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

  • Pratt, D, Winters, N, Cerulli, M, Leemkuil, H (2009) “A Patterns Approach to Connecting the Design and Deployment of Mathematical Games and Simulations”, In: N Balacheff, S Ludvigsen, T de Jong, A Lazonder, S Barnes (eds.) Technology-enhanced learning: Principles and Products (Part IV). Rotterdam: Springer. 215-232

  • Wali, E, Winters, N, Oliver, M (2009) “Are they doing what they think they’re doing? Tracking and trianguating students’ learning activities and self reports”, In: G Vavloula, N Pachler, A Kukulska-Hulme (eds.) Researching mobile learning: frameworks, tools and research designs. Oxford: Peter Lang.

  • Gaspar, J, Winters, N, Grossmann, E, Santos-Victor, J (2007) “Toward Robot Perception through Omnidirectional Vision, Studies in Computational Intelligence”, In: JS Chahl, LC Jain, A Mizutani, M Sato-Ilic (eds.) Studies in Computational Intelligence. Berlin: Springer. 223-270
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-72696-8_9

  • Winters, N (2006) “What is mobile learning?”, In: M Sharples (ed.) Big Issues in Mobile Learning: Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Mobile Learning Initiative. Nottingham: University of Nottingham.

Conference papers

  • Kahn, K, Winters, N (2017) “Child-friendly programming interfaces to AI cloud services”, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). 10474 LNCS 566-570.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-66610-5_64

  • Herodotou, C, Kambouri, M, Winters, N (2015) “What characteristics of the gamers'profile should be taken into account in player-centred game design?”, WORKSHOP PROCEEDINGS OF THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTELLIGENT ENVIRONMENTS. 19 289-297.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.3233/978-1-61499-530-2-289

  • Winters, N, Langer, L, Stewart, R (2014) “Mobile learning for development: Ready to Randomise?”, mLearn 2014, CCIS 479M Kalz (ed.) . (Zurich) Zurich: Springer. 156-167.

  • Langer, L, Stewart, R, Winters, N (2014) The impact of mobile technologies on education in low- and middle-income countries: A mixed-methods systematic review. Manila, Philippines: 3ie/Asian Development Bank Impact Evaluation Matters Conference.

  • Underwood, J, Luckin, R, Winters, N (2011) “Retelling Stories: Setting Learner Narratives in Resource Ecologies”, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2011). (Hong Kong) Hong Kong: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

  • Winters, N (2009) “A framework for designing mobile learning experiences”, Proceedings of Online Educa Berlin. (Berlin)

  • Winters, N, Wali, E, Oliver, M (2008) “Mobile Learning across contexts: Methodological considerations”, Proceedings of Mobile Learning 2008. (Algarve, Portugal) 98-105.

  • Ananny, M, Winters, N (2007) Designing for Development: Understanding the One Laptop Per Child in its Historical Context. (Bangalore, India)

  • Mor, Y, Winters, N (2007) Towards participatory design for m2o, In HCT4D – Designing human centred technologies for the developing world.

  • Geniets, A, Winters, N Gender, Health and Technology: Lessons from a mobile intervention for training community health workers, UNESCO Mobile learning week, Paris, 25 February 2015.

  • Geniets, A, Winters, N, Oliver, M, Lakati, A, Mbae, S A mobile intervention for training community health workers to assess the stages of child development, UCL mHealth Conference, London, 27 January 2015.

  • Underwood, J, Luckin, R, Winters, N “MALL in the wild: Learners’ designs for scaffolding vocabulary learning trajectories”, EUROCALL 2014S Jager, L Bradley, EJ Meima, S Thouësny (eds.) . (Groningen, The Netherlands)

  • Winters, N, Mbindyo, C, Matiang’i, M “The role of mobile learning in applied distance education”, Proceedings of eLearning Africa 2011. (Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania)

  • Winters, N “Veterinary training with mobile phones: a case study from Zanzibar”, Proceedings of eLearning Africa 2010. (Lusaka, Zambia)

  • Geniets, A, Winters, N Practical Solutions: Providing Equitable Health Care Training for Vulnerable Populations Using Technology. Conference on Refugee Health, Green Templeton College, Oxford 23 April 2016.

  • Geniets, A, Winters, N mCHW – A mobile learning intervention for the training and supervision of CHWs in Kenya. Presentation at the Impact-Initiative Workshop on Disability, University of Cambridge, 29 February – 1 March 2016.

  • Winters, N, Short, N, Aanensen, D, Hagner, A Innovations in mobile phone applications for health and education in East Africa. (Edinburgh)

Journal articles

  • Winters, N, Langer, L, Geniets, A (2018) “Scoping review assessing the evidence used to support the adoption of mobile health (mHealth) technologies for the education and training of community health workers (CHWs) in low-income and middle-income countries.”, BMJ open. 8(7) e019827+.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019827

  • O Sullivan, K, Robson, J, Winters, N (2018) “‘I feel like I have a disadvantage’: how socio-economically disadvantaged students make the decision to study at a prestigious university”, Studies in Higher Education. 1-15.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1460591

  • Winters, N, O'Donovan, J, Geniets, A (2018) “A new era for community health in countries of low and middle income?”, The Lancet. Global health. 6(5) e489-e490.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/s2214-109x(18)30072-x

  • Hennessy, S, Girvan, C, Mavrikis, M, Price, S, Winters, N (2018) “Editorial”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. 49(1) 3-5.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12598

  • O'Donovan, J, O'Donovan, C, Kuhn, I, Sachs, SE, Winters, N (2018) “Ongoing training of community health workers in low-income andmiddle-income countries: a systematic scoping review of the literature.”, BMJ open. 8(4) e021467+.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021467

  • Winters, N, Oliver, M, Langer, L (2017) “Can mobile health training meet the challenge of 'measuring better'?”, COMPARATIVE EDUCATION. 53(1) 115-131.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/03050068.2017.1254983

  • Winters, N, Langer, L, Geniets, A (2017) “Physical, psychological, sexual, and systemic abuse of children with disabilities in East Africa: Mapping the evidence.”, PloS one. 12(9) e0184541+.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184541

  • Girvan, C, Hennessy, S, Mavrikis, M, Price, S, Winters, N (2017) “BJET Editorial November 2016”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. 48(1) 3-6.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12542

  • Henry, JV, Winters, N, Lakati, A, Oliver, M, Geniets, A, Mbae, SM, Wanjiru, H (2016) “Enhancing the Supervision of Community Health Workers With WhatsApp Mobile Messaging: Qualitative Findings From 2 Low-Resource Settings in Kenya.”, Global health, science and practice. 4(2) 311-325.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-15-00386

  • Herodotou, C, Winters, N, Kambouri, M (2015) “An Iterative, Multidisciplinary Approach to Studying Digital Play Motivation”, Games and Culture. 10(3) 249-268.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1177/1555412014557633

  • Oliver, M, Geniets, A, Winters, N, Rega, I, Mbae, SM (2015) “What do community health workers have to say about their work, and how can this inform improved programme design? A case study with CHWs within Kenya.”, Global health action. 8 27168+.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.27168

  • Oliver, M, Geniets, A, Winters, N, Rega, I, Mbae, SM (2015) “What do community health workers have to say about their work, and how can this inform improved programme design? A case study with CHWs within Kenya.”, Global health action. 8(1) 27168+.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.27168

  • Herodotou, C, Kambouri, M, Winters, N (2014) “Dispelling the myth of the socio-emotionally dissatisfied gamer”, Computers in Human Behavior. 32 23-31.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.054

  • Underwood, J, Luckin, R, Winters, N (2012) “Managing resource ecologies for mobile, personal and collaborative self-directed language learning”, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 34 226-229.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.02.045

  • Herodotou, C, Winters, N, Kambouri, M (2012) “A Motivationally Oriented Approach to Understanding Game Appropriation”, International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. 28(1) 34-47.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2011.566108

  • Mor, Y, Warburton, S, Winters, N (2012) “Participatory pattern workshops: a methodology for open learning design inquiry”, Research in Learning Technology. 20(sup1) 19197-19197.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v20i0.19197

  • Herodotou, C, Kambouri, M, Winters, N (2011) “The role of trait emotional intelligence in gamers’ preferences for play and frequency of gaming”, Computers in Human Behavior. 27(5) 1815-1819.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.04.001

  • Wali, E, Winters, N, Oliver, M (2011) “Maintaining, changing and crossing contexts: an activity theoretic reinterpretation of mobile learning”, Research in Learning Technology. 16(1)
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v16i1.10884

  • Winters, N, Mor, Y (2009) “Dealing with abstraction: Case study generalisation as a method for eliciting design patterns”, Computers in Human Behavior. 25(5) 1079-1088.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2009.01.007

  • Mor, Y, Winters, N (2008) “Participatory design in open education: a workshop model for developing a pattern language”, Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2008(1) 12-12.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/2008-13

  • Winters, N, Mor, Y (2008) “IDR: A participatory methodology for interdisciplinary design in technology enhanced learning”, Computers & Education. 50(2) 579-600.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.09.015

  • Mor, Y, Winters, N (2007) “Design approaches in technology-enhanced learning”, Interactive Learning Environments. 15(1) 61-75.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/10494820601044236

  • Winters, N, Santos-Victor, J (2002) “Information Sampling for vision-based robot navigation”, Robotics and Autonomous Systems. 41(2-3) 145-159.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8890(02)00278-6

  • Gaspar, J, Winters, N, Santos-Victor, J (2000) “Vision-based navigation and environmental representations with an omnidirectional camera”, IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. 16(6) 890-898.
    DOI: http://doi.org/10.1109/70.897802

  • Winters, N, Toyama, K “Human-Computer Interaction for Development: Mapping the Terrain”, Information Technologies and International Development 5(4).

Internet publication

  • Robson, J, O'Sullivan, K, Winters, N (2017) Black students on going to Oxbridge: ‘it’s not even asked or pushed for, it’s just assumed no one is applying’. The Conversation.


  • Winters, N, Sharples, M, Shuler, C, Vosloo, S, West, M (2013) The future of mobile learning: Implications for policymakers and planners. Paris: UNESCO.

  • Winters, N, Price, N, Oliver, M, Pelletier, C (2012) A scoping exercise to explore the use of Web 2.0 and mobile technologies to support faculty development in postgraduate medical education across LP/LEP networks in London. London: London Deanery.


  • Power, T, Gater, R, Grant, C, Winters, N (2014) Educational Technology Topic Guide. HEART/DFID.


  • Department staff

College affiliation

  • Kellogg College


  • Associate Professor of Learning and New Technologies

Subject area

  • MSc Education (Learning and Technology)

Research groups

  • Learning and New Technologies

+44 (0)1865 274 007

Publications, books and other work