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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Online Professional Development Courses are effective

Teachers who took online professional development courses improved their instruction and subject knowledge, as well as produced gains in student achievement, says a new study by e-Learning for Educators, a 10-state consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Ready to Teach program.

The 330 teachers in the study participated in three 30-hour online professional development courses developed by the Education Development Center's EdTech Leaders Online, or ETLO. The teachers included elementary and middle school math teachers, as well as language arts teachers.

The series of four randomized controlled trials examined the effect that a series of three Online Professional Development (OPD) courses had on teachers’ knowledge and instructional practices, and subsequent effects on student achievement. Collectively, the four trials provide strong evidence that participation in a coordinated series of three OPD workshops has positive effects on teachers’ instructional practices and content knowledge.

"While a growing body of research demonstrates online learning's effectiveness at the college level, very few studies focus on K-12 and track the impact of teacher professional development to student learning," said EDC's Barbara Treacy, director of ETLO, in a press release. "It's extremely gratifying to see that the online model we've developed leads to such positive results across all states, grade levels, and teacher groups."

The research was culled from 330 teachers and 7,700 students



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