The Open University of the Netherlands



The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) develops and provides open and distance higher education. The OUNL also conducts research into teaching and learning, specifically but not exclusively in distance and lifelong learning settings. The OUNL is the internationally recognised Top No.1 Dutch University for Online Learning. There is a special focus on the use of new technologies and teaching/learning methods to provide effective, efficient, attractive and accessible lifelong learning facilities and education. Within the Open University, the Welten Institute integrates expertise in the learning sciences and technology-enhanced learning. Welten Institute is among the leading international research institutes in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) with highest reputation and the biggest one in Europe in this field, mainly through the TELI research group: Our focus is on learning and teaching innovations in technology enhanced learning environments.

The mission of the Welten Institute is to improve learning and competence building at school, at work, at home and on the move by combining state-of-the-art knowledge in the learning sciences with the innovative power of new information and communication technologies.

The Welten Institute has chosen the approach of the ‘ecology of education’. This means that the institute 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 plays 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 Welten Institute imposes on itself very stringent scientific 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.

The Welten (research) programme combines expertise in the areas of open education and innovations, pedagogical scenarios for formal and informal learning, social media mash-ups (personal learning environments), social and situational awareness, usability, as well as expertise related to content authoring, content management, workplace learning and lifelong learning at large. In the past, the Welten Institute (formerly known as CELSTEC) with its excellent research teams of around 90 researchers (thereof 60 professors and PhD level) has been an active coordinator and participant in numerous European and international research projects, also from FP5 to H2020 (e.g. Inspiring Science Education (ISE), Open Discovery Space (ODS), LinkedUP, LACE, Unfold, TENCompetence, LTfLL, GRAPPLE, idSPACE, Handover, PATIENT).