Maggi Savin-Baden


Professor of Education


Contact Details


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As someone who has always been interested in innovation and change my interest in learning this has been the focus of my research for many years. My previous research is focussed on the impact of virtual worlds on learning and teaching, through a large Leverhulme-funded project. Further, over the last three years I have been developing the method of Qualitative Research Synthesis. I have researched and evaluated staff and student experience of learning for over 20 years and gained funding (Leverhulme Trust, JISC,) to research the effectiveness of learning in new electronic and immersive spaces. I am an experienced evaluator not only of curricula but also of research and research methodologies and an expert in the development of innovative and creative scenarios designed for learning. My research over the last 5 years has focussed on exploring learning in a digital age and examining the impact of diverse forms of digital technology on learning. Such research has been focussed on examining new pedagogical stances and perspectives, and the research has been located in and through a variety of qualitative approaches. I have published over 50 research publications and 15 books, and am currently writing 2 more. In my spare time I run, rock climb, ski and attempt to be a triathlete.


  • 2010 MSc E-Learning, University of Edinburgh
  • 2005 Certificate in Educational Leadership, (Distinction), University of Leicester
  • 1996 PhD, University of London
  • 1989 MA in Further and Higher Education, University of London
  • 1987 Diploma in Teaching and Curriculum Development in Higher Education (Distinction), University of London

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

Artificial intelligence
Digital immortality
Qualitative research and qualitative research methodologies
Digital spaces
Problem based learning
Teaching in Higher Education

PhD students

Completions: 7
Currently supervising 5
PhDs examined: 11

Research Interests:

Problem-based Learning
Artificial intelligence
Digital immortality
Digital Tethering
Research methodologies
Qualitative Research Synthesis
Learning Spaces
Liquid Learning
Second Life Learning
Academic Writing and Publication

Professional Bodies

On editorial board of

Journal of Postdigital Science and Education
International Journal of Medical Education

Reviewer for

Journal of Postdigital Science and Education
International Journal of Medical Education
Journal of Excellence in College Teaching
Teachers College Record
Qualitative Research
Qualitative Inquiry
Instructional Science
Studies in Higher Education
Higher Education
Innovations in Education and Teaching International
Research in Learning Technology
Networked Learning Conference 2016/2018

Conference committees

Digital 2011
International PBL Symposium 2013
Program Committee of the 1st International Conference of the Portuguese Society for Engineering Education (CISPEE13 & 2016)

Advisory boards

Gamification of physical education (GoPE) Horizon 2020 bid 2016
International Advisory board for International Research Symposium on PBL 2017


  • Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University RSA (2014-
  • Routledge author of the month May 2011
  • National Teaching Fellowship 2008-2012 (£10,000)
  • Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (2013)



Burden, D. and Savin-Baden, M (2018) (forthcoming) Virtual Humans. Florida: Taylor and Francis

Savin-Baden, M. and Tombs. G. (2018) (eds) (forthcoming) Threshold Concepts in Problem-based Learning.  Rotterdam: Sense

Savin-Baden, M. and Tombs. G. (2017) Research Methods for Education in the Digital Age London: Bloomsbury  

Musgrave, J., Savin-Baden, M. and Stobbs, N. (eds) (2017) Studying for your Early Years Degree  Hertfordshire:  Critical Publishing

Savin-Baden, M. (2015) Rethinking Learning in an Age of Digital Fluency Is being Digitally Tethered a New Learning Nexus? London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M., and Wimpenny K. (2014) A Practical Guide to Arts-related research. Rotterdam: Sense

Savin-Baden, M., and Major, C. (2013) Qualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M. (2010) A Practical Guide to using Second Life in Higher Education. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. (2011) (eds) New approaches to qualitative research: wisdom and uncertainty. London: Routledge

Major, C. and Savin-Baden, M. (2010) An Introduction to Qualitative Research Synthesis Managing the information explosion in social science research. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M. Learning Spaces. (2008) Creating Opportunities for Knowledge Creation in Academic Life (2007). Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Savin-Baden, M (2007) A Practical Guide to Problem-based Learning Online. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M. and Wilkie, K. (2006) (eds) Problem-based Learning Online. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. (2004) Foundations of Problem-based Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press/SRHE.

Savin-Baden, M. and Wilkie, K. (2004) (eds) Challenging Research in Problem-based Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press/SRHE.

Savin-Baden, M. (2003) Facilitating Problem-based Learning: Illuminating Perspectives. Buckingham: Open University Press/SRHE.

Savin-Baden, M. (2000) Problem-based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories. Buckingham: Open University Press/SRHE.


Chapters in books

Freeth, D., Savin-Baden, M. and Thistlethwaite, J. (2018) (forthcoming) Interprofessional education in K. Forrest., B. O’Brien and T Swanwick (eds) (2018) Understanding Medical Education (3rd Edition)  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

Savin-Baden, M. (2018) (forthcoming) Liminal Ecologies of Learning in R. Barnett and N. Jackson (eds) (2018) Learning Ecologies. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M., Burden, D. and Bhakta, R. (2018) (forthcoming) Virtual Humans in Virtual Worlds? In L.Falconer  and M. Gil (eds) (2018). Virtual Worlds: Concepts, applications and future directions. New York: Nova

Savin-Baden, M. (2018) (forthcoming) ‘Always Connected’: Transforming  teaching and learning in higher education in K. Sheehy and  A. Holliman,  Education and New Technologies: Perils and Promises for Learners.  London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M. (2017) Doing your Research Project in J. Musgrave., M. Savin-Baden, and N. Stobbs.  Studying for your Early Years Degree  Hertfordshire: Critical Publishing

Savin-Baden, M. and Falconer, L. and Wimpenny, K. and Callaghan, M. (2017) Virtual Worlds for Learning. In: E. Duval., M. Sharples and R. Sutherland, (Eds.) Technology  Enhanced Learning: Research Themes. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. ISBN Hardback 978-3-319-02599-5

Savin-Baden, M. and Bhakta, R. (2017) Problem-based Learning in Digital Spaces In  M. Moallem.,  W. Hung and N. Dabbagh (eds.) Wiley Handbook of Problem-based learning.  NY: Wiley  

Savin-Baden, M.  and Tombs, G. (2016) Pedagogies in Virtual Worlds. In: in C. Haythornthwaite, R. Andrews, J. Fransman and E. Meyers.  The Sage Handbook of E-Learning Research (2nd edition). SAGE Publications, London, pp. 397-420. ISBN Hardcover 9781473902329

Savin-Baden, M. (2016)  Implementing PBL in Brazil. In R. Prates (ed), Problem-based learning Handbook (published in Portuguese)

Savin-Baden, M. (2015) Education and Big Data in  M. A. Peters and P. Jandric (Eds) Critical Theory of Educational  Technology Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. DOI 10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_128-1 pp1-8

Savin-Baden, M., Poulton, T., Beaumont, C. and Conradi, E. (2015) What Is Real? Using Problem-Based Learning in Virtual Worlds In  S. Bridges., L.P Chan., C. E. Hmelo-Silver, (Eds.)  Educational Technologies iMedical and Health Sciences Education NY: Springer

Savin-Baden, M. & Tombs, G. (2015) Pedagogies in Virtual Worlds in C. Haythornthwaite,  R. Andrews, J. Fransman and E. Meyers.  The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research London: Sage

Savin-Baden, M., Falconer, L., Wimpenny, K. and Callaghan, M. (2014) Virtual worlds for learning in E. Duval., M. Sharples and R. Sutherland, (Eds.) Technology Enhanced Learning: A Compendium of Research Literature. London: Springer

Savin- Baden, M, Tombs, G., Bhakta, R., Burden, D and Smith, D (2014) Honest disclosure? Student experiences of talking to chatbots in M. T. Restivo, A, Cardosa and A. M. Lopes Online Experimentation: Emergent Technologies and the Internet of Things International Frequency Sensor Association

Savin-Baden, M. (2011) ‘Research Spaces’, in A. Boddington, & J. Boys Reshaping Learning: A Critical Reader. (eds) Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 93-10

Savin-Baden, M. (2011) ‘Identity Thresholds: Researching the Socio-political Impact of Learning in Immersive Virtual Worlds’, in Navigating in Educational Contexts. Identities and Cultures in Dialogue. ed. by. Lauriala, A., Rajala, A., Ruokamo, H., & Ylitapio-Mantyla, O. Rotterdam: Sense, 63-78

Savin-Baden, M and Tombs, C. (2010) Student experiences of learning in immersive virtual worlds in Sharpe, R., Beetham, H and de Freitas, S. (eds) Listening to Learners in the Digital Age London: Routledge)

Van Niekerk, L and Savin-Baden, M (2011) Re-locating truths in the qualitative research paradigm in M. Savin-Baden and C. Major (eds) New approaches to qualitative research: wisdom and uncertainty. London: Routledge 

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. (2011) Qualitative research synthesis in M. Savin-Baden and C. Major (Eds). New approaches to qualitative research: wisdom and uncertainty. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M., Gourlay, L. and Tombs, C. (2011) Researching in Immersive Spaces synthesis in M. Savin-Baden and C. Major.(Eds) New approaches to qualitative research: wisdom and uncertainty. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M and Sinclair, C. (2010) Lurking on the threshold: being learners in silent spaces In R. Land and S. Bayne (eds) Digital Differences. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.  

Savin-Baden, M. (2008) Liquid Learning and Troublesome Spaces: Journeys from the threshold? In R. Land., J. Meyer and Smith, J. (eds) Threshold Concepts within the Disciplines Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 75-90

Savin-Baden, M. (2006) The challenge of using problem-based learning online, in M. Savin-Baden and K. Wilkie (eds) Problem-based Learning Online. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Savin-Baden, M. and Gibbon, C. (2006) Online learning and problem-based learning: complementary or colliding approaches? In M. Savin-Baden and K. Wilkie (2006) (eds) Problem-based Learning Online. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Savin-Baden, M. (2006) Re-viewing Problem-based Learning in E. de Graaff and A. Kolmos (eds) Management of Change: Implementation of Problem Based and Project Based Learning in Engineering. Utrecht: Lemma Publishers

Savin-Baden, M. (2006) Disjunction as a form of troublesome knowledge in problem-based learning in J. Meyer and R. Land (eds) Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. London: Routledge

Savin-Baden, M and Wilkie, M (2004) Exploring the impact of discipline-based pedagogy on problem-based learning through interpretive meta ethnography, in M. Savin-Baden and K. Wilkie (2004) (eds) Challenging Research in Problem-based Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press/SRHE.

Savin-Baden, M. (2000) Group Dynamics and Disjunction in Problem-based Contexts in S. Glen and K. Wilkie Problem-based learning in Nursing. London: Macmillan

Savin-Baden, M. (1999) Understanding the outcomes of learning through the concept of learner stances in the context of problem-based curricula, in C. Rust (ed) Improving Students Learning Outcomes. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff Development

Savin-Baden, M. and Wilkie, K (2001) Understanding and utilising problem-based learning strategically in higher education. In C. Rust (ed.) Improving Student Learning Strategically. Proceedings of 8th Improving Students Learning Symposium. Oxford: The Oxford Centre for Tutor and Learning Development.


Peer reviewed publications

Savin-Baden, M.  (2016) The impact of transdisciplinary threshold concepts on student engagement in problem-based learning: a conceptual synthesis Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning  10 (2)  

Savin-Baden, M., (2014) Problem-based learning: New constellations for the 21stCentury. Journal of Excellence in College Teaching  25 (3/4)  197-219  

Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, G., Burden, D and Wood, C. (2013) ‘It’s almost like talking to a person: student disclosure to pedagogical agents in sensitive settings’. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning 5(2), 78-93.

Savin-Baden, M. (2013) Spaces in-between us: understanding spatial practice in Second Life London Review of Education 11:1, 59-75

Savin-Baden, M. (2011) Curricula as spaces of interruption? Innovations in Education and Teaching International 48 (2) 127-136

Savin-Baden, M (2010) Changelings and shape shifters? Identity play and pedagogical positioning of staff in immersive virtual worlds London Review of Education 8(1) 25-38

Savin-Baden, M (2010) The Sound of feedback Learning, Media and Technology V35 (1 ) 53 - 64

Savin-Baden, M. (2008) From Cognitive capability to Social reform? Shifting perceptions of learning in immersive virtual worlds ALT-J Special issue on Learning in Immersive Virtual Worlds 16, 3 pp 151 – 161

Savin-Baden, M. (2008) Problem-based Learning in Electronic Engineering: Locating legends or Promising problems? International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education 45: 2 96-109

Savin-Baden, M. (2005) Learning spaces, Learning bridges and Troublesomeness: The power of differentiated approaches to problem-based learning’ Problem-based Learning: New Directions and Approaches 1 (1) 10-28

Savin-Baden, M. (2005) Why cheat when you can plagiarise? Understanding plagiarism in the context of occupational therapy education British Journal of Occupational Therapy 68(1) 11-16

Savin-Baden, M. (2004) Achieving Reflexivity: Moving researchers form analysis to interpretation in collaborative inquiry. Journal of Social Work Practice. 18 (3) 365-378

Savin-Baden, M. (2004) Understanding the impact of assessment on students in problem-based learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 42 (2) 223-233

Savin-Baden, M. (2003) Disciplinary Differences or Modes of Curriculum Practice? Who promised to deliver what in Problem-based Learning? Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 31 (5) 338-343

Savin-Baden, M. (2000) Facilitating problem-based learning: The impact of tutor's pedagogical stances, Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 11(2/3) 97-111.

Savin-Baden, M. (1998) Problem-based Learning, Part 3: Making sense of and Managing Disjunction British Journal of Occupational Therapy 61 (1) 13-16

Savin-Baden, M. (1998) Understanding the outcomes of learning through the concept of learner stances, UltiBase electronic Journal 2 (2) Available at

Savin-Baden, M (1998) Realising curricula change across the boundaries: Equipping students for employment through problem-based learning, UltiBase electronic Journal 2(3) Available at

Savin-Baden, M. (1997b) Problem-based Learning, Part 2: Understanding Learner Stances British Journal of Occupational Therapy 60 (12) 531-536

Savin-Baden, M. (1997a) Problem-based Learning, Part 1: an innovation whose time has come? British Journal of Occupational Therapy 60 (10) 447-450

Savin-Baden, M. Burden, D and Taylor, H. (2017) The ethics and impact of digital immortality  Special Issue of Knowledge Cultures - Technologies and time in the age of global neoliberal capitalism 5(2) 11-29  

Savin-Baden, M. and Callaghan, M. J. (2016) Designing circuit warz: enhancing teachers' and students' creativity through problem-based games-based learning in the computer engineering classroom. International  Journal of Problem-solving and Creativity 26 (2) 

Savin-Baden, M and Falconer, L. (2016) Learning at the interstices; locating practical philosophies for understanding physical/virtual inter-spaces Interactive Learning Environments DOI:10.1080/10494820.2015.1128212  Published online: 16 Mar 2016

Savin-Baden, M. and Bhakta, R. and Burden, D. (2016) Cyber Enigmas? Passive Detection and Pedagogical Agents: Can Students Spot the fake? Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016. pp. 456-463. ISSN ISBN 978-1-86220-324-2  

Savin-Baden, M. and Tombs, G. (2016) The Glow of Unwork? Issues of Portrayal in Networked Learning Research. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016. pp. 449-455. ISSN ISBN 978-1-86220-324-2

Fredholm, A., Savin-Baden, M., Henningsohn, L and Silén, C. (2015) Autonomy as both Challenge and Development in Clinical Education Learning, Culture and Social Interaction   5  20-27 

Leddington Wright, S., Duncan, M. and Savin-Baden, M.  (2015) Student Perceptions and Experiences of Problem-Based Learning in First Year Undergraduate Sports Therapy Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education 17 39–49  

Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, G. and Bhakta, R. (2015) Beyond robotic wastelands of time: Abandoned pedagogical agents and new pedalled pedagogies E-Learning and Digital Media   0(0) 1–20 DOI: 10.1177/2042753015571835             

Steils, N., Tombs, G, Mawer, M., Savin-Baden, M., Wimpenny, K. (2014) Implementing the Liquid Curriculum: the impact of virtual world learning on higher education, Technology, Pedagogy and Education (forthcoming special issue) 

De Jong, N., Savin-Baden, M., Cunningham, A. M. and Verstegen, D.M.L. (2014) Blended Learning in Health Education: Three Case Studies, Perspectives in  Medical Education 3(4):278-88. doi: 10.1007/s40C037-014-0108-1.  

Wimpenny, K., Cook, C., and Savin-Baden, M. (2014) A qualitative research synthesis examining the effectiveness of Interventions used by occupational therapists in mental health, British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Wimpenny, K. and Savin-Baden, M. (2014) Using Theatre and Performance for Promoting Health and Well Being amongst the 50+ Community: an Arts-Informed Evaluation, The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts Volume 8, 2013,, ISSN 2326-9960

Hanney, R. and Savin-Baden, M. ( 2013) The problem of projects: understanding the theoretical underpinnings of project-led PBL London Review of Education 11, 1, 7-19

Wimpenny, K. & Savin-Baden, M. (2013) Alienation, agency and authenticity: a synthesis of practice and effects in student engagementTeaching in Higher Education, 18(3) 311 - 326 (Impact factor 0.757)

Wimpenny, K., & Savin-Baden, M. (2012) ‘Exploring and Implementing Participatory Action Synthesis’. Qualitative Inquiry, 18 (8): 680 – 689

Wimpenny, K., Savin-Baden, M., Mawer, M., Steils, N., & Tombs, G. (2012) ‘Unpacking Frames of Reference to Inform the Design of Virtual World Learning in Higher Education’. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – Special Issue on Virtual Worlds in Tertiary Education: An Australasian Perspective 28 (3), 522-545

Major, C., & Savin-Baden, M. (2011) ‘Integration of Qualitative Evidence: Towards Construction of Academic Knowledge in Social Science and Professional Fields’. Qualitative Research 11(6), 1-19 

Beaumont, C., Savin-Baden, M., ConradiE., Poulton, T. (2011) Evaluating a Second Life PBL demonstrator project: what can we learn? Interactive Learning Environments 20

Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, C., Poulton, T., Conradi, E., Kavia, S., Burden, D., & Beaumont, C. (2011) ‘An Evaluation of Implementing Problem-based Learning Scenarios in an Immersive Virtual World’. International Journal of Medical Education 2, 116-124

Major, C. and Savin-Baden, M.(2010) Exploring the relevance of qualitative research synthesis to higher education research and practice London Review of Education 8 (2) 127

Savin-Baden, M., Gourlay, L., Mawer, M., Steils, N. & Tombs, G. (2010). Situating pedagogies: positions and practices in immersive virtual worlds. Educational Research. 52 (2 ) 123 - 133

Wisker, G and Savin-Baden, M. (2009) Priceless conceptual thresholds: beyond the 'stuck place' in writing London review of Education 7, (3) 235 – 247

Conradi, E. Kavia, S. , Burden, D., Rice, D., Woodham, L., Beaumont , C., Savin-Baden, M. and Poulton, T. (2009) Virtual patients in Virtual World: Training paramedic students. Medical Teacher 31 (8)713 – 720      

Savin-Baden, M.; Macfarlane, L and Savin-Baden, J. (2008) Learning spaces, agency and notions of improvement: what Influencing thinking and practices about teaching and learning in higher education. An interpretive meta-ethnography. London Review of Education 6 (3) 211-229

McCarron, K and Savin-Baden, M (2008) Compering and Comparing: Stand-Up Comedy and Pedagogy. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 4(4) 355 – 363

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. (2007) Fractured pedagogies and shattered worlds: Using interpretative meta ethnography to explore the relationship between innovative approaches to learning and the influence on faculty understanding of teaching Higher Education Vol 54/6 Dec 2007     

Savin-Baden, M. and van Niekerk, L. (2007) Narrative Inquiry: Theory and Practice. Journal of Geography in Higher Education Vol. 31, No. 3

Savin-Baden, M. and Wimpenny, K. (2007) Exploring and Implementing Participatory Action Research Journal of Geography in Higher Education Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Vol. 31, No. 2, 331–343

Savin-Baden, M., Powell, L. and Barlow, J. (2006) Learning to use simple massage with disabled children: parents’ experiences of a training and support programme. Learning in Health and Social Care 5, 2 68-80

Savin-Baden, M and Wilkie, M (2004) Exploring the impact of discipline-based pedagogy on problem-based learning through interpretive meta ethnography, in M. Savin-Baden and K. Wilkie (2004) (eds) Challenging Research in Problem-based Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press/SRHE.

Fisher, A. and Savin-Baden, M. (2002) Modernising fieldwork, Part 2: realising the new agenda British Journal of Occupational Therapy 65 (6) 275-282

Fisher, A. and Savin-Baden, M. (2002) Modernising fieldwork, Part 1: realising the potential British Journal of Occupational Therapy 65 (5) 229-236

Savin-Baden, M and Fisher, A. (2002) Negotiating ‘Honesties’ in the Research Process British Journal of Occupational Therapy 65 (4) 191-193

Savin-Baden, M. and Wilkie, K (2001) Understanding and utilising problem-based learning strategically in higher education, in C. Rust (ed.) Improving Student Learning Strategically. Proceedings of 8th Improving Students Learning Symposium. Oxford: The Oxford Centre for Tutor and Learning Development.

Fisher, A. and Savin-Baden, M. (2001) An evaluation of the benefits to young people with psychosis, and their families, of an early intervention programme. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 64 (2) 58-65

Savin-Baden, M. and Taylor, M.C. (2001) Qualitative evidence-based practice American Journal of Occupational Therapy 54 (4) 218-219

Major, C., Savin-Baden, M and MacKinnon, M. (2000) Issues in problem-based learning: Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 11 (2/3) 1-10.

Murray, I. and Savin-Baden, M (2000) Staff Development in Problem-based learning Teaching in Higher Education 5 (1) 107-126