Short course

Sociotechnical Learning Environments

Make your mark in online education. This 8-week, PG micro-credential short course looks at how technology influences society and conversely how society influences technology, applying these perspectives in learning environments helps us to understand technology in use and its impact on learning.

Start date
June 2024
Eight weeks
£850 ( ** 2023/2023 course cost to be confirmed)
Digital education

Throughout the course, students will consider how the introduction of technology into learning environments impacts upon the very idea of education. You will analyse learning environments from the perspective of connecting the social, physical and digital in networks of the human and non-human to challenge perspectives of online and offline learning.

Using classic and contemporary philosophies of technology and education, students will critically engage in questioning why technologies are used and the actors involved in design, implementation and use.

Once you have finished this 8-week course, you will be awarded an official University of Birmingham Postgraduate Micro-credential certificate (worth 10 academic credits) and a transcript. You will be able to use these academic credits to apply for advanced entry to the University of Birmingham’s full Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments qualification.

Why study Sociotechnical Learning Environments at Birmingham?

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Examine empirical and theoretical research literature on the affordances of technology in learning and teaching environments.
  • Identify key learning environments in your own context and explore how the physical, social and digital environment connect.
  • Evaluate ethical and equality issues involved with adoption of technology in networked learning environments.

Ready to apply? Request further information and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss the application process with you.

Find out more about this programme

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible for the Sociotechnical Learning Environments Postgraduate Micro-credential short course, you will need to possess (or be predicted to obtain) an upper second-class degree or equivalent from a UK university or recognised international institution.

You may also be eligible to apply with a lower second class degree plus 2 years’ work experience in design, computing or education, or no degree plus 5 or more years’ work experience in the above areas.

Standard English language requirements also apply. If English is not your first language, you must also have an up-to-date English language test certificate. We accept Academic IELTS certificates with a grade of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 in any band. Other forms of English language certificates are accepted. Please discuss this with a recruitment coordinator.


The cost to study this online course is £850*. This must be paid in full by card before enrolling.

The fee includes any online resources, including full access to the online learning platform, course materials and required digital reading materials. The fee does not include any personal expenses for new technical equipment or office supplies.

For more information and to speak to a Recruitment Coordinator, fill out our form.

If, after completing the course, you wish to transfer to the full Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments programme, please speak to your Student Services Co-ordinator as you will need to re-submit an application.

* Prices are subject to change each academic year.

How to apply

Click on the ‘Apply now’ button and create an account. You will be directed to an application specifically designed for the Micro-credential in Sociotechnical Learning Environments. Submit your application and supporting documentation online. Your supporting documents include:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé: Demonstrate your academic and work experience in addition to any other skills that may support your application.
  • Academic qualifications: Submit your most recent degree certificate from your previous institution – if any – so that we can verify your education.
  • Evidence of language (if applicable): If English is not your first language, supply an up-to-date English language certificate which meets the entry criteria – as detailed in our standard entry requirements section.

If you would like any feedback or advice about your application, our recruitment team would be happy to help. You can fill out a request for information or call +44 (0)800 032 7101.

Terms and conditions – what you need to know

View a full transcript of the above video.

Our Design for Learning Environments Postgraduate Micro-credential short courses will allow you to focus on specific areas in order for you to develop your career in the way that you want to.

Each course is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge to design programmes of learning which will meet the needs of a wide range of learners and organisations in an expanding field.

We have taken an innovative interdisciplinary approach with our Design for Learning Environments courses, incorporating aspects of design, technology, education, the social sciences, data science and digital development to provide you with a rich diversity of perspectives.

You will work with academics, active practitioners and designers of learning environments from the fields of education, computer science, theoretical physics and engineering - each bringing their own unique disciplinary perspectives to instructional design.

Why choose a Postgraduate Micro-credential short course?

  • Expand your expertise at a top-100 University1
  • Boost your CV in just eight weeks
  • Develop the specialist skills you need for your career goals through an immersive online learning experience
  • Learn from an interdisciplinary teaching team including designers, researchers, educationalists and technologists
  • Gain an introduction to our Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments and get a taster for online learning
  • Earn a Postgraduate Micro-credential certificate worth 10 masters credits
  • Study around your existing commitments with 100% online learning

Learners will be fully registered University of Birmingham students and will be entitled to normal University services (including library and digital resources).

Your future starts here

Call +44 (0)800 032 7101 to speak with a Recruitment co-ordinator.


  1. QS (2019) World University Rankings. QS Top Universities [online] Available at: [Accessed 07.12.2020]

Meet your instructors

Adam Matthews

Adam Matthews, Lecturer in Technology and Learning Environments

Adam is a Lecturer in Technology and Learning Environments at the University of Birmingham. He teaches three modules of the PG Cert Design for Learning Environments programme; Design and Design Thinking, Perspectives on Learning and Sociotechnical Learning Environments.

Adam has worked in the field of learning and technology since 2006. As a learning and instructional designer, he has worked in a diverse range of sectors including travel, retail, sports coaching, policing, media communications, banking and higher education. This has included design and leadership roles.

Adam’s research interests include the intersection of society, technology and education. His academic background is in social science but he also has an interest in interdisciplinary collaborations with other academic disciplines and industry.

Adam studied part-time while working for his undergraduate degree with the Open University and is a keen advocate of part-time, flexible and lifelong learning.