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Dr Simon Penn

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Professional biography

Dr Simon Penn is an experienced Sport, Fitness and Coaching lecturer who joined the Open University in 2013 as a tutor and became a full time academic in 2018. Simon originally developed his exercise and conditioning expertise with the Royal Air Force (Physical Training Instructor) before transitioning to a lecturing role in health and fitness at St. Mary’s University, London.

His expertise has two strands. Firstly, applying exercise prescription and physiology to a wide range of populations and educating others to deliver effective exercise. Secondly, as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, his pedagogic expertise focuses on investigating the optimal methods of delivering feedback for student written assignments in an online environment (see Research below).

Research interests

In 2017, Simon co-edited the book ‘Advanced Personal Training: Science to practice’.  The book reviews scientific literature to identify optimal training strategies for fitness instruction and programming.  The book enables health and fitness industry specialists to combine professional experience with strategies underpinned by scientific evidence.   

Simon is currently researching the optimal method of delivering feedback in an online environment.  He is researching the innovative use of screencasting for increasing the personal, and supportive nature of feedback and has recently published an article examining the impact of the feedback medium on student learning: Is Screencast Feedback Better Than Text Feedback for Student Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review’. In January 2024, Simon successfully defended his Educational Doctorate thesis entitled ‘A comparative analysis of the comprehension of text and screencast feedback by distance learning students’. The examiners recommended a pass without corrections. 

Teaching interests

Simon has written extensive teaching materials on diverse topics such as:

He is currently the Module Team Chair for the Open University module (E119) ‘Working with people in sport and fitness​’ which explores working practices, communication, motivation leadership and coaching.

To find out more about the Sport and Fitness qualifications available at The Open University please click here


Is Screencast Feedback Better Than Text Feedback for Student Learning in Higher Education? A Systematic Review (2022-02-09)
Penn, Simon and Brown, Nicola
Ubiquitous Learning: an international journal, 15(2) (pp. 1-18)