critical thinking about digital learning


I provide consultancy to universities, colleges, funding bodies and education organisations across the world. My expertise is in digital capability, digital identity and citizenship, the learning experience, and curriculum design. I can offer strategic advice and analysis, staff and student engagement, staff development, and support for change. I work as a critical friend, adviser or facilitator as your project requires.

A regular keynote speaker in the UK and overseas, I consider pro bono work where I can add value to a project that has limited resources. Otherwise I charge a reasonable day rate. I also work regularly with other experienced consultants who I can recommend to meet your needs. I’m always happy to chat through an initiative or research idea.  

Below are some of my projects that are in the public domain. To discuss how I might help you, please get in touch.

Experience: current

I’ve supported a number of organisations to make the shift to online teaching and learning, working with Sheila MacNeill

Jisc digital capabilities framework, currently used by over 80% of UK universities (UCISA 2019 survey) and in many other parts of the English-speaking world. Review, research, stakeholder engagement and framework development. Several blog posts help to explain this work:

Versions of the capability framework for universities in the UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Insights survey of the digital experience of students, teaching staff, researchers and professionals (with Jisc and Timmus Consulting). Survey design, project development, guidance and analysis/reporting: involving more than 60 universities and colleges and many tens of thousands of students internationally.

Digital Attitudes and Skills in the Heritage Sector
Work to define and assess digital practices across the huge diversity of UK heritage organisations (with Timmus Consulting).

NHS Health and Care Digital Capabilities Framework, adopted across the UK healthcare sector. Design and development.

ETF Digital Teaching professional framework: development work via ETF and Sero consulting

Piloting the European Framework for Digitally-Competent Schools, EU, Schools, with Timmus Consulting

The experience of online learners, study with Lou McGill, covering UK FE, HE and Adult Education.

Experience: previous

Since 2010 I have helped more than 20 global universities to roll out digital education and digital capability projects (details and testimonials on request).

I have been responsible for scoping, supporting, evaluating and synthesising the outcomes from a wide range of Jisc and government funded projects including:
Jisc Digital Student programme (2015-19): authored several reports, designed and evaluated Insights surveys.

Jisc Digital Capabilities programme (2015-18): designed and developed content for Discovery self-assessment tool, role profiles, organisational audit tools and more.

JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme (2011-2013): scoping, evaluation and synthesis

JISC Transformation through Curriculum Design programme (2008-12): scoping, evaluation and synthesis

Oxford Centre for Learning Development (2010-18): consultant and workshop leader on issues in e-learning design and digital literacies

HEFCE/JISC UK Open Educational Resources programme: evaluation and synthesis (2009-2012)

Leadership Foundation Changing the Learning Landscape programme (2012-14): change management consultant allocated to a number of UK universities

Contributor/advisor to the Beyond Current Horizons programme (UK 2009), EU Framework for Digitally Competent Organisations (EU 2015), the Developing Leaders for a Digital Age course (ETF/Oxford Brookes 2016), C-DELTA (Curriculum for Digital Education Leadership) programme (South Africa, 2018).

Feedback and testimonials

I just wanted to thank you for all the fabulous help you have been giving us in the development of our digital capabilities framework … I honestly don’t think we could have done it without you. I’m really pleased with the engagement we’ve had from staff and students, and it’s becoming recognised as a really significant enhancement project for us.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Australian Global Top 200 University

Clear and convincing. We were especially impressed by Helen’s capacity to address digital capability not merely as an abstract phenomenon, but also as a concrete process. In so doing, she managed to address the specific goals and needs of our organization and delivered highly valuable advice.

Senior Leader, European Global Top 100 University

Thanks again for helping to deliver the launch of the strategy in style and engaging the audience with the digital agenda… lots of positive feedback from senior managers, academics and professional services staff. You’ve planted lots of seeds. 

Senior Leader, UK University

Your keynote was brilliantly received and was of great benefit to the