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Department of Education

Niall Winters

Honorary Norham Fellow

College Affiliation: Kellogg College

From 2023, Niall is an Honorary Norham Fellow at the Department and a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College. His main research interest is advancing knowledge of the complex development processes involved in designing socially-just technology innovations. This research agenda has been supported by over €7m in funding.

Niall was previously Professor of Education and Technology at the Department, co-convenor of the Critical Digital Education Research Group, and Director of the MSc Education (Digital and Social Change. Niall continues to supervise DPhil students but is no longer accepting new students.

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. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin.

Niall has been a visiting researcher at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon and MIT Media Lab Europe, a Fellow of the L’Institut d’études avancées de Paris, a member of the Visiting Faculty of the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po, Paris, co-editor of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET), member of the ESRC Peer Review College, a Trustee (former Chair of the Board) of the Restart Project and has consulted for UNESCO, WHO, DFID and the NHS.

Funded Research Projects:

  • Development of an AI Application & Training Module for Frontline Health Care

  • Feb 2019 - Sept 2019

    Funder: Wellcome Trust

  • 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)

  • 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, University of Oxford Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF)

  • Oct 2016 – Mar 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

  • ept 2015-Aug 2016

    Budget: £60,000 (Co-PI) (with A. Geniets)

  • GoGirl: code + create, Oxford University IT Innovation Seed

  • £90,000 (CI) (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 Amref Health Africa)

  • The professional development of postgraduate medical trainers’ technology enhanced learning design expertise, HEIF

  • Feb 2013 – Jan 15

    Budget: £32,174 (PI) (with S. Price, C. Pelletier and C. O’Keeffe)

  • 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)

  • Mobile phones for development: Supporting veterinary training of distance learners in Tanzania, CDE

  • July 2009 – August 2010

    Budget: £4,990 (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

    Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) funded by the EU under the FP6-2004-IST-4. LKL budget: £182,626, (Co-I, LKL with C. Morgan)

  • CoMo: Supporting collaborative group work using mobile phones

  • (2007-2008)

    Centre for Distance Education. Budget: £20,000 (PI)

Doctoral Applications

Niall welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • The design and development of mobile-based training interventions for healthcare workers in the Global South (with a specific focus on child development, disability or mental health but other areas would be considered)
  • Evaluating the role of technology for postgraduate medical training in the UK and 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


  • Books

  • Book chapters

    • Winters, N., Geniets, A., & Lakati, A. (2022). A systems-thinking approach to the training and supervision of community healthcare workers in Kenya. In Systems Thinking for Global Health: How can systems-thinking contribute to solving key challenges in Global Health? (pp. 77-85).

    • Petrovai, K., Stylianides, G., & Winters, N. (2022). The relationship between knowledge exchange and teachers’ use of mobile technologies in the mathematics classroom. In International Encyclopedia of Education: Fourth Edition (pp. 272-286).

    • O’Sullivan, K., Robson, J., Hannon, C., & Winters, N. (2018). Migrating Innovations Across National Boundaries Starting Early Access Interventions in the United Kingdom. In ACTIONABLE RESEARCH FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM IN CHINA AND BEYOND (pp. 88-108).

    • Winters, N. (2015). E-Learning for development: the role of the teacher. In A. Hwa & R. Mansell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. Wiley.

    • Mayhew, S., 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 (pp. 89-107). Ubiquity Press.

    • Unterhalter, E., Poole, N., & Winters, N. (2015). Education, information, and knowledge. In J. Waage & C. Yap (Eds.), Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development (pp. 51-61). Ubiquity Press.

    • Winters, N. (2013). An introduction to technology enhanced learning design in postgraduate medical education. In Handbook of Design in Educational Technology (pp. 301-309).

    • Winters, N. (2013). Mobile learning in the majority world: A critique of the gsma’s position. In The SAGE Handbook of Digital Technology Research (pp. 402-411).

    • 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 (pp. 1375-1399). CRC Press.

    • Dray, S., Light, A., Dearden, A., Evers, V., Densmore, M., Ramachandran, D., Kam, M., Marsden, G., Sambasivan, N., Smyth, T., van Greunen, D., & Winters, N. (2012). Human-Computer Interaction for Development: Changing Human-Computer Interaction to Change the World. In The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies, and Emerging Applications, Third Edition (pp. 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. 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 Technology-Enhanced Learning: Principles and Products (pp. 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. Peter Lang.

    • Gaspar, J., Winters, N., Grossmann, E., & Santos-Victor, J. (2007). Toward robot perception through omnidirectional vision (pp. 223-270).

    • 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. University of Nottingham.

  • Journal articles

    • Lynch, M., Yoo, J., Mukami, D., Arian, W., Bashford, T., Hobden, P., Luthra, P., Patel, M., Ralph, N., Winters, N., McGrath, L., & Simms, B. (2022). Principles to guide the effective use of technology to support capacity development in global health partnerships. BMJ Global Health, 6(Suppl 6), e006783.

    • O’Donovan, J., Kahn, K., MacRae, M., Namanda, A., Hamala, R., Kabali, K., Geniets, A., Lakati, A., Mbae, S., & Winters, N. (2022). Analysing 3429 digital supervisory interactions between Community Health Workers in Uganda and Kenya: the development, testing and validation of an open access predictive machine learning web app. Human Resources for Health, 20(1), 6.

    • Gao, M., Zhang, J., Lu, Y., Kahn, K., & Winters, N. (2022). Grit and learning: Understanding the sequential learning behaviours in snap!. JOURNAL OF COMPUTER ASSISTED LEARNING.

    • O’Donovan, J., Nakku, D., Nyanzi, D., Nakasagga, E., Hamala, R., Namanda, A., Kabali, K., Winters, N., Chadha, S., & Bhutta, M. (2021). Training, supervision and performance of Community Health Workers in the delivery of ear and hearing care to 321 community members in rural Uganda. Clinical Otolaryngology : Official Journal of ENT-UK ; Official Journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery, 46(6), 1193-1199.

    • Kahn, K., & Winters, N. (2021). Learning by enhancing half-baked AI projects. KI - Künstliche Intelligenz, 35(2), 201-205.

    • Kahn, K., & Winters, N. (2021). Constructionism and AI: a history and possible futures. British Journal of Educational Technology, 52(3 ), 1130-1142.

    • McCabe, C., Patel, K., Fletcher, S., Winters, N., Sheaf, G., Varley, J., & McCann, M. (2021). Online interprofessional education related to chronic illness for health professionals: a scoping review. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 35(3), 444-453.

    • Winters, N., & Patel, K. (2021). Can a reconceptualization of online training be part of the solution to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 35(2), 161-163.

    • Ng’ang’a, T., Paton, C., & Winters, N. (2021). The counterintuitive self-regulated learning behaviours of healthcare providers from low-income settings. Computers & Education, 166.

    • Denton-Calabrese, T., Mustain, P., Geniets, A., Hakimi, L., & Winters, N. (2021). Empowerment beyond skills: Computing and the enhancement of self-concept in the go_girl code plus create program. COMPUTERS & EDUCATION, 175.

    • O’Donovan, J., Thompson, A., Stiles, C., Opintan, J., Kabali, K., Willis, I., Mutimba, M., Nalweyiso, E., Mugabi, H., Kateete, D., Ameniko, M., Govina, G., Weberman, R., O’Neil, E., Winters, N., & Mutreja, A. (2020). Participatory approaches, local stakeholders and cultural relevance facilitate an impactful community-based project in Uganda. Health Promotion International, 35(6), 1353-1368.

    • Tuti, T., Winters, N., Edgcombe, H., Muinga, N., Wanyama, C., English, M., & Paton, C. (2020). Evaluation of adaptive feedback in a smartphone-based game on health care providers’ learning gain: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(7).

    • O’Donovan, J., Namanda, A., Hamala, R., Winters, N., & Bhutta, M. (2020). Exploring perceptions, barriers, and enablers for delivery of primary ear and hearing care by Community Health Workers: A photovoice study in Mukono District, Uganda. BMC International Journal for Health Equity, 19.

    • Winters, N., Venkatapuram, S., Geniets, A.-K., & Wynne-Bannister, E. (2020). Prioritarian principles for digital health in low resource settings. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46(4), 259-264.

    • Hennessy, S., Mavrikis, M., Girvan, C., Price, S., & Winters, N. (2020). Editorial. BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 51(1), 5-9.

    • Winters, N., Eynon, R., Geniets, A., Robson, J., & Kahn, K. (2019). Can we avoid digital structural violence in future learning systems?. Learning, Media and Technology, 45(11), 17-30.

    • O’Donovan, J., Hamala, R., Namanda, A., Musoke, D., Ssemugabo, C., & Winters, N. (2019). ’We are the people whose opinions don’t matter’. A photovoice study exploring challenges faced by community health workers in Uganda. Global Public Health, 15(3), 384-401.

    • Winters, N., Langer, L., Nduku, P., Robson, J., O’Donovan, J., Maulik, P., Paton, C., Geniets, A., Peiris, D., & Nagraj, S. (2019). Using mobile technologies to support the training of community health workers in low-income and middle-income countries: mapping the evidence. BMJ Global Health, 4(4).

    • Tuti, T., Winters, N., Muinga, N., Wanyama, C., English, M., & Paton, C. (2019). Evaluation of adaptive feedback in a smartphone-based serious game on health care providers’ knowledge gain in neonatal emergency care: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 8(7).

    • Henry, J., Oliver, M., & Winters, N. (2019). Global-local divides and ontological politics: feminist STS perspectives on mobile learning for community health workers in Kenya. Learning, Media and Technology, 44(33), 235-251.

    • O’Sullivan, K., Bird, N., Robson, J., & Winters, N. (2019). Academic identity, confidence and belonging: the role of contextualised admissions and foundation years in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 45(3), 554-575.

    • O’Donovan, J., Verkerk, M., Winters, N., Chadha, S., & Bhutta, M. (2019). The role of community health workers in addressing the global burden of ear disease and hearing loss: a systematic scoping review of the literature. BMJ Global Health, 4(2).

    • O’Sullivan, K., Byrne, D., Robson, J., & Winters, N. (2019). Who goes to college via access routes? A comparative study of widening participation admission in selective universities in Ireland and England. Social Inclusion, 7(1), 38-51.

    • O’Donovan, J., Stiles, C., Sekimpi, D., Ddumba, I., Winters, N., & O’Neil, E. (2018). Potential challenges of implementing the Community Health Extension Worker programme in Uganda. BMJ Global Health, 3(4).

    • Winters, N., Langer, L., & Geniets, A.-K. (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).

    • O’Donovan, J., O’Donovan, C., Kuhn, I., & Winters, N. (2018). Ongoing training of community health workers in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic scoping review of the literature. BMJ Open, 8(4).

    • 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, 44(9), 1676-1690.

    • Winters, N., O’Donovan, J., & Geniets, A.-K. (2018). A new era for community health in countries of low and middle income?. Lancet Global Health, 6(5), e489 - e490.

    • Winters, N., Langer, L., & Geniets, A.-K. (2017). Physical, psychological, sexual, and systemic abuse of children with disabilities in East Africa: Mapping the evidence. PLoS One, 12(9), e0184541.

    • Winters, N., Oliver, M., & Langer, L. (2016). Can mobile health training meet the challenge of ‘measuring better’?. Comparative Education, 53(1), 115-131.

    • Vu Henry, J., Winters, N., Lakati, A., Oliver, M., Geniets, A.-K., Mbae, S., & 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 Journal, 4(2), 311-325.

    • Oliver, M., Geniets, A., Winters, N., Rega, I., & Mbae, S. (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.

    • Oliver, M., Geniets, A., Winters, N., Rega, I., & Mbae, S. (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. Glob Health Action, 8, 27168.

    • Herodotou, C., Winters, N., & Kambouri, M. (2015). An iterative, multidisciplinary approach to studying digital play motivation: The model of game motivation. Games and Culture, 10(3), 249-268.

    • Oliver, M., Geniets, A.-K., Winters, N., Rega, I., & Mbae, S. (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.

    • Herodotou, C., Kambouri, M., & Winters, N. (2014). Dispelling the myth of the socio-emotionally dissatisfied gamer. Computers in Human Behavior, 32, 23-31.

    • 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.

    • Mor, Y., Warburton, S., & Winters, N. (2012). Participatory pattern workshops: A methodology for open learning design inquiry. Research in Learning Technology, 20(SUPPL), 163-175.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Winters, N., & Mor, Y. (2008). IDR: A participatory methodology for interdisciplinary design in technology enhanced learning. Computers and Education, 50(2), 579-600.

    • Mor, Y., & Winters, N. (2007). Design approaches in technology-enhanced learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 15(1), 61-75.

    • Winters, N., & Santos-Victor, J. (2002). Information sampling for vision-based robot navigation. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 41(2-3), 145-159.

    • Winters, N., & Santos-Victor, J. (2001). Visual attention-based robot navigation using information sampling. IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 3, 1670-1675.

    • 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.

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

    • Wali, E., Winters, N., & Oliver, M. (n.d.). Maintaining, changing and crossing contexts: an activity theoretic reinterpretation of mobile learning. Research in Learning Technology, 16(1).

    • Mor, Y., & Winters, N. (n.d.). Participatory design in open education: a workshop model for developing a pattern language. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2008(1), 12-12.

  • 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.

  • Reports

    • Conrads, J., Rasmussen, M., Winters, N., Geniets, A., & Langer, L. (2017). Digital education policies in Europe and beyond: Key design principles for more effective policies (C. Redecker, P. Kampylis, M. Bacigalupo, & Y. Punie, Eds.). Publications Office of the European Union.

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

  • Other

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