IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


UCL Knowledge Lab

The UCL Knowledge Lab explores how we live and learn with technology and media to solve societal challenges.

Director: Professor Allison Littlejohn

The lab is a crucible for the study of technology in learning and teaching, and a vantage point from which to design digital media and artefacts that change the way people think and construct knowledge. 

We design and evaluate digital innovations and research learning and social practice in the digital world with stakeholders across the public and private sector, focusing on: 

  • Digital learning technologies
  • Technology enhanced communication and collaboration
  • Digital making, media and play
  • Discourse, technology and the body
  • Digital ethics, inclusion and diversity.

About us 

Our values
  • Innovation – we value interdisciplinary collaboration and pride ourselves on our creativity in developing innovative and participatory methods in multimodal, design-based and practice-based research.  
  • Integrity – we strive for an honest and respectful approach in our interactions with colleagues, students and external collaborators and aim to conduct ethical research with a positive and lasting impact on people’s lived experience. 
  • Inclusion – we value diversity and are strongly committed to developing ways of working with technology which contribute to equity and social justice.  

How did we develop the lab vision and values?

Our brief was to develop a concise and distinctive set of values, and a mission and vision statement that reflected the diversity of research and teaching in the UCL Knowledge Lab.

Between April and July 2021 we held a series of virtual Lab Future events (with participants including academic and professional services staff and post-graduate students) and conducted two online surveys to generate and test the vision statement and values.  


The UCL Knowledge Lab brings together experts with imagination and insight from across different disciplinary backgrounds to:

  • undertake cutting edge research on digital media and technologies
  • provide an innovative and exciting interdisciplinary range of postgraduate courses
  • create empowering technologies for communication and learning that lower the barriers to knowledge and widen access
  • incubate enterprise and achieve impact via partnerships with public sector, business and industry.

The UCL Knowledge Lab extends the legacy of the London Knowledge Lab.

The London Knowledge lab was led since 2004 by Professors Richard Noss and Alex Poulovassilis as a collaborative initiative between educators from IOE and computer scientists from Birkbeck, funded by the Science Research Investment Fund.

In 2016 the collaborative initiative ended and the UCL Knowledge Lab was established. Our common legacy includes over a decade of interdisciplinary research funded by ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC, EU, JISC among others; a variety of knowledge exchange and public engagement activities; and a distinctive postgraduate training programme.

Our staff


Founding Director

Academic staff

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants

  • Stephen Elms, Post Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • David Ruttenberg, Post Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Francisco Durán del Fierro
  • Meng Liang
  • Shiyi Jiang

Administrative and technical staff

Honorary academics

Study with us


Join us and carry out post-graduate Masters, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral research on the design, critique and implementation of digital media and technologies for education and beyond.

Graduate taught

Doctoral and Post-Doctoral research

We have an active programme of teaching and support for doctoral students with experienced staff offering research supervision across a range of topics and research methods, including: digital learning technologies; technology enhanced communication and collaboration; digital making, media and play; discourse, technology and the body; digital ethics, inclusion and diversity.

Further info:

Our activities


The UCL Knowledge Lab researches digital technologies for learning, media and communication.

More about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes:


UCL Knowledge Lab is a leading interdisciplinary centre for the innovative study and design of digital media and technologies in diverse contexts.

We have substantial experience and expertise in carrying out consultancy and research projects for international, national, regional and local authorities and organisations including government departments, business and the IT sector, and voluntary organisations.


We can provide a range of consultancy services from one-day training or staff development initiatives to longer-term research and evaluation work. Examples:

  • The Future Classroom Toolkit: Innovative Technologies for Engaging Classrooms (European Schoolnet)
  • UK Scoping Report for the Further Education Online Academy (JISC).
  • 2030 Vision for using learning technology for STEM (Royal Society)
  • Piloting Media Assessment Framework (Scottish Qualifications Authority)
  • The Home Access Programme Evaluation (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency)
  • Automated Tutor Grading: 1 to 1 online tutoring to monitor tutor quality and learning outcomes (Third Space Learning)
  • Evaluation of UK Online Paediatric care (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)

Case studies

Funnelback feed: https://cms-feed.ucl.ac.uk/s/search.json?collection=drupal-ioe-case-stud...Double click the feed URL above to edit


Seminar series

The UCL Knowledge Lab runs a monthly series of seminars which provide a showcase and platform for debate across our research themes.

    The seminars are free to attend and are open to staff, students, alumni and the public. For booking instruction for non-UCL attendees, please view the individual event pages.

    Follow the UCL Knowledge Lab Twitter or subscribe to our seminar mailing list for seminar updates.


    Universities: learning outside the lecture hall

    Allison Littlejohn. Lockdown led to the largest transformation of teaching in the history of UK higher education. In March 2020, the entire university workforce had to transition to working online. This was remarkable transformation for institutions that, founded on tradition and convention, tend to be slow to change.  As the 2021-22 academic year begins, record […]

    How better education for health professionals can help curb antimicrobial resistance in poorer countries and save lives

    Allison Littlejohn. While the world’s attention is focused on Covid-19, many other serious international health concerns still need urgent attention. Few public health problems are of greater global importance today than Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). In 2019 the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on AMR warned that, if no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause […]

    Touched by music: a Christmas playlist with a tactile spin

    The In-Touch team, UCL Knowledge Lab Music is a part of our everyday lives: many song lyrics both ‘touch’ us and tell stories of our tactile relationships with one another. The interdisciplinary InTouch Project at UCL explores the social implications of digital technology for touch communication. As a fun side-project the team has compiled a Touch […]

    Maths anxiety: how can we overcome the ‘can’t do’ attitude?

    Celia Hoyles.  The Covid-19 pandemic is raising public anxiety not just about the virus but about the maths being used to explain how it spreads and how it can be controlled. What is the so-called R value? What do we mean by “flattening the curve”? And if people were not confused enough, what are we […]

    A few words in the OFSTED framework could help boost the digital skills children need for learning outside of school

    Sara Hawley. While the pandemic continues and individual pupils, groups or classes stay home self-isolating, the DFE has made remote learning part of schools’ legal duty for now. OFSTED has suspended routine inspections but is carrying out interim visits (without grading schools) to understand the lay of the land.  Yesterday, Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman published […]