My Zimbio

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Teachers Learning Online – Online Professional Development Courses about Online Teaching and Learning

Online learning, e-learning, u-learning, distance education. Whatever you call it, online education is one of the buzzwords in the educational community today. Debate over the effectiveness of online education has the educational community reexamining best practices and rethinking instructional strategies and methodology to provide excellent online educational experiences that in many cases meet or exceed the expectations for student performance in traditional face-to-face courses. In order to meet the demand for high-quality, highly engaging online courses, teachers need training about online education. Demands on teacher time and a lack of appropriate local educational opportunities has prevented teachers from improving their online teaching skills in the past, but now classes are being offered for these teachers the same way their students get the classes – online over the web.
Educating online teachers via online courses makes sense in a number of ways. When a teacher takes an online course, it allows them to experience online education from a student’s perspective. Teachers can experience the same frustrations or the same conveniences their students discover. Teachers increase their own online skills when their training is provided over the web. Online professional development meets the demand for just-in-time, just-enough, just-for-me training. Teachers can pick and choose those courses which apply to their interests, technology comfort level, and domains so training covers technology applications which they will actually use. These courses are also often offered on-demand so teachers can schedule training around their already crowded schedules, and can take courses from virtually anywhere they have internet access, including from their web-enabled phone.
Beyond the convenience, online professional development has the capacity to meet ongoing needs of teachers attempting to implement what they have learned into their courses in real-time. Dede et. al. (2009) discuss the trend that creates this need. “The need for professional development that can fit with teachers’ busy schedules, that draws on powerful resources often not available locally, and that can create an evolutionary path toward providing real-time, ongoing, work-embedded support has stimulated the creation of online teacher professional development (oTPD) programs.”
Online professional development is increasingly in demand and may become essential in providing the quality and kinds of training teachers need. Lebec and Luft (2007) comment, “Motivations for teachers to seek such opportunities are numerous. Dilemmas such as heavy instructional demands with minimal preparation time (Darling-Hammond & Cobb, 1996), accessibility to professional development in rural settings, and lack of institutional funds to send instructors to high quality courses or to cover their time away (Barkley & Bianco, 2001) often limit opportunities for teachers seeking additional training… This impetus, coupled with existing regional shortages of certified instructors in domains such as the physical sciences (Choy, 1993), makes the easily accessible online environment attractive as an expedient means of gaining discipline-specific training (Bowman, Boyle, Greenstone, Herndon, & Valente, 2000; Herbert, 1999).”
There are many excellent resources available to teachers today looking for professional development options online. The Sloan Consortium ( is committed to excellence in online education. Their mission includes training for online educators which is available both face-to-face as workshops and online as webinars. Powerful Learning Practice ( is an online professional development provider which trains teachers in 21st century teaching skills, including teaching online. This resource includes a year-long course called the Connected Learner Experience which provides webinar trainings and collaboration with other educators. There are also individual online classes offered.
Educators have their own social network at Classroom 2.0 ( Forums and groups here give educators the opportunity to participate in professional learning communities online, while virtual conferences and live and recorded webinars offer professional development opportunities.


Classroom 2.0 (2012).
Dede, Chris, Ketelhut, Diane J., Whitehouse, Pamela, Breit, Lisa, and McCloskey, Erin M. (2009). A Research Agenda for Online Teacher Professional Development. Journal of Teacher Education. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from
Lebec, M., & Luft, J. (2007). A mixed methods analysis of learning in online teacher professional development: A case report. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 7(1), 554-574. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from
Powerful Learning Practice (nd).
The Sloan Consortium (2012).

1 comment:

  1. Online education is the easy way for learning. Educating online teacher via Online courses is very useful.Thanks for sharing this bog with us.
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