You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Chris Kubiak

Dr Chris Kubiak

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a senior lecturer in health and social care and the co-director of The Open University's Assessmet Programme.  I have a  particular interest in the construction of practice, practice-based learning, pedagogy and care.  I originally trained in community psychology in New Zealand.  My career has included services for people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities,  volunteer-run telephone counselling and advice services and lecturing in psychology and communication studies.  I have been a full time researcher researching school-based learning networks and have also run an education and advocacy service.  I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Lead Assessor for the Office for Students and a trustee for Arts for Health Milton Keynes.


Research interests

My main interests lie in understanding practice-based learning in health and social care and in other settings.  My work focuses on learning in work-based settings, learning networks, non-formal settings and educational institutions.  I'm particularly interested in the learning and practice of groups outside of what has traditionally been referred to as the professions such as care workers and assistants.  I also have interests in pedagogy and brokerage in learning communities or networks. 


Current research projects

Learning Journeys for carers (with Mary Larkin and Nichola Kentzer) investigates the impact of study clubs in carer centres. 

Impact of art in hospital settings (with Laura McGrath) is an evaluation of the art collection in Milton Keynes University Hospital on patients and their carers, staff and visitors.

An evaluation of simulated patient with Sepsis (with Tim Coughlan, Sharif Haider and Goggleminds) is evaluting the educational effectiveness of a simulated patient in a virtual reality.


Doctoral students

I am currently supervising two doctoral students: Ralph Spijker (value creation in time limited educational design groups) and Ceinwen Gwilym (the active offer and Social Work students in Wales).


Past projects

Home Focus Evaluation (2015-17)

With Josie Teteley (MMU), Caroline Holland (OU), Emma Kouvunen (MMU) and Jenny Fisher (MMU).  An evalaution of a dementia service conducted in partnership with Manchester Metroplitan University.


Understanding support worker learning (2012-2014)

‘Understanding Support Worker Learning’ was a PhD project aiming to understand how skilled and caring practice is developed. The project takes a broad view of learning and will investigate how different experiences past and present, in and out of work, personal motivations and organisational needs build support worker practice. An aspect of this project was supported by the Practice-Based Professional Learning Centre at the Open University.

Understanding Student Learning in Practice settings (2006 - 2007)
With Anita Rogers, Anthea Wilson and Annie Turner, This project investigated the practice development of paraprofessional workers in health and social care through the vocational foundation degree (FD). It focused on the way in which practice development is constituted by workplace conditions, home life and student characteristics.  Read the project summary.

ReTool project (2005 - 2006)
With Mary Thorpe (PI), Bob McCormick (PI) and Robin Goodfellow, this project was an evaluation of the the National College of School Leadership's online community Talk2Learn.  The project resulted in the creation of a toolkit to support the work of Facilitators.

Networked Learning Communities (2003 - 2004)
I was employed as a researcher with this development and research project focused on supporting and building an understanding of school-based networked learning communities throughout England.  You can learn more about this project by accessing its comprehensive website.

Other involvements
I am a member of the editorial board for Health and Social Care in the Community and Confero.

I was a member of the editorial board for Learning in Health and Social Care.  This journal has since been discontinued. 


Teaching interests

I am currently a senior lecturer and co-director of The Open University Assessment Programme.  Past teaching roles include:

- 2022-2024: Academic Lead for the development of short courses in HWSC

- 2015-16: K242 'Ageing Societies and Global Health' (course team author)

- 2015-16: K240 'Mental Health and Community' (course team author)

- 2013-14: K101 'Introduction to Health and Social Care' (production and presentation co-chair)

- 2013: K313 'Leadership and management in health and social care' (course team author)

- 2012-2013: Academic Lead for Transforming Care programme.

- 2008-2011: K217 'Adult Health, Social Care and Wellbeing' (production and presentation co-chair).

- 2007-2008: K309 'Communication in Health and Social Care' (presentation course team member).

- 2006-2007: The Youth Justice Foundation Degree including K115 'Introduction to Youth Justice (course team author).

- 2004 - 2006: The Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care including K114 'Introduction to Effective Practice (production chair) and programme academic lead.


Carers and higher education: Where next? (2021-10-20)
Larkin, Mary and Kubiak, Christopher
Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 23(2) (pp. 130-151)

They come with their own ideas of what they want’: Healthcare educator, advanced practice student and manager perspectives on learning outcomes (2020)
Kubiak, Chris; Walker, Susan; Draper, Jan; Acton, Faye; Clark, Elisabeth; Rogers, Jill; Rogers, Melanie and Dearnley, Christine
Journal of Education and Work, 33(4) (pp. 312-325)

Surveillance, intervention and the politics of care (2019-05-01)
Kubiak, Christopher; Tomkins, Leah and Larkin, Mary
International Journal of Care and Caring, 3(2) (pp. 165-181)

Analytics4Action Evaluation Framework: A Review of Evidence-Based Learning Analytics Interventions at the Open University UK (2016)
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Kubiak, Christopher and Mayles, Kevin
Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Article 2(1)

Recognition of prior learning, self-realisation and identity within Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition (2013-11)
Sandberg, Fredrik and Kubiak, Chris
Studies in Continuing Education, 35(3) (pp. 351-365)

Paraprofessionals and caring practice: negotiating the use of self (2011-12)
Kubiak, Christopher and Sandberg, Fredrik
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 25(4) (pp. 653-660)

Facilitating the development of school-based learning networks (2010)
Kubiak, Chris and Bertram, Joan
Journal of Educational Administration, 48(1) (pp. 31-47)

The learning experiences of health and social care paraprofessionals on a foundation degree (2010)
Kubiak, Chris; Rogers, Anita M. and Turner, Annie
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 29(3) (pp. 373-386)

Just deserts? Developing practice in youth justice (2009-03)
Kubiak, Chris and Hester, Richard
Learning in Health and Social Care, 8(1) (pp. 47-57)

Working the interface: brokerage and learning networks (2009-03)
Kubiak, Chris
Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 37(2) (pp. 239-256)

Talk in virtual contexts: reflecting on participation and online learning models (2007-10)
Thorpe, Mary; McCormick, Robert; Carmichael, Patrick and Kubiak, Chris
Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 15(3) (pp. 349-366)

Working at community boundaries: a micro-analysis of the activist's role in participatory learning networks (2007-01-25)
Thorpe, Mary and Kubiak, Chris
Studies in the Education of Adults, 37(2) (pp. 151-165)

Managing care and joined up thinking in the curriculum (2005-12-01)
Seden, Janet; Reynolds, Jill; Henderson, Jeanette and Kubiak, Chris
Social Work Education, 24(8) (pp. 841-856)

Working at community boundaries: A micro-analysis of the activits's role in participatory learning networks (2005)
Thorpe, Mary and Kubiak, Christopher
Studies in the Education of Adults, 37(2) (pp. 151-165)

Paraprofessional development in the UK: ambivalences and contradictions (2010)
Kubiak, Christopher
In: Seddon, Terri; Henriksson, Lea and Niemeyer, Beatrix eds. Learning and Work and the Politics of Working Life: Global Transformations and Collective Identities in Teaching, Nursing and Social Work (pp. 125-141)
ISBN : 978-0-415-55752-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Designing for reuse and versioning (2003-03-01)
Thorpe, Mary; Kubiak, Christopher and Thorpe, K. M.
In: Littlejohn, Allison ed. Reusing online resources: a sustainable approach to E-learning. Open and flexible learning
ISBN : 749439491 | Publisher : Kogan Page | Published : London, UK

Learning in Landscapes of Practice: Boundaries, identity, and knowledgeability in practice-based learning (2014-07-23)
Wenger-Trayner, Etienne; Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Kubiak, Christopher; Hutchinson, Steven and Wenger-Trayner, Beverly eds.
ISBN : 978-1-13-802218-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Embedding and Evaluating Virtual Reality Sepsis Simulations into Online and Distance Learning across Multiple Healthcare Professions (2024)
Coughlan, Tim; Kubiak, Christopher; Haider, Sharif; Almond, Esther and Wild, Fridolin
In : 10th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (10-13 Jun 2024, Glasgow, Scotland)

The 'Learning pathways for carers programme' (2023)
Kentzer, Nichola; Kubiak, Chris and Larkin, Mary
In : OU's 7th Biennial International Conference on Access, Participation and Success (26-27 Apr 2023, Milton Keynes, UK)

Understanding support worker learning : practice, participation and identity (2012)
Kubiak, Christopher
PhD thesis The Open University

The OU welcomes carers (2022-10-04)
Larkin, Mary and Kubiak, Christopher
The Open University