Administrators and educators can now find online learning everywhere—from universities to online websites. Before making a decision to use this delivery system, the first question to consider is, “how does online learning compare to traditional face-to-face workshops or courses?”
The U.S. Department of Education recently released their meta-analysis and review of online learning studies wherein they found that online learning, particularly professional development for teachers, was at the very least comparable and often superior to face-to-face courses and workshops. Please visit http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf to read their analysis and review.
If online professional development can be superior to face-to-face delivery, the next questions are, “how does the administrator and educator become a discerner of quality online professional development? What should one look for?”
As more online professional development options become available, it is imperative to become a discerning consumer. The Southern Regional Education Board has defined Standards for Online Professional Development. Please visit their site http://publications.sreb.org/2004/04T04-Standards_Online_Prof_Dev.pdf to see what they have to say about quality online professional development.
Quality online experiences must contain the components that result in changing practices and behaviors to improve student outcomes and enhance both the teaching and learning experiences in the classroom. There must be:
- components for practice and rehearsal of skills—for implementation;
- self-assessments and final assessments to gauge the progress of the learning;
- opportunities for reflecting on the new learning and its implementation;
- built-in occasions for feedback on the new learning and its implementation;
- measures for gathering and examining data to validate the progress of professional learning;
- time for the investment in technology infrastructures, training, and applied learning to “pay off”;
- responsiveness to educators’ needs, both in content and delivery;
- opportunities for educators to develop and participate in cultures of continuous change—so that they can prepare students to adapt to a world where knowledge and learning and attendant skills rapidly change; and
- time for interaction and collaboration with colleagues, both online and off line.
CE Credits Online courses contain all of these components and more, including one-on-one feedback throughout all courses (Masters or better degreed moderators using instructor-designed rubrics), video modelling and examples, reflective journals, written assignments, job-embedded assignments, many additional external resources, quizzes and exams, and threaded discussions wherein participants interact with one another.
There are huge differences between superior online professional learning and inferior online professional learning. The first delivers what it promises and the second is a waste of everyone’s time and money because it produces no learning and no results.
If you have already joined the growing numbers of administrators who are leading in a shift of their professional development paradigms to include learning that has all of the benefits of face-to-face training, plus some additional ones, then you will want to see how CE Credits Online can provide your district with high-quality content, delivered in a user-friendly format that is extremely cost effective. If your district hasn’t embraced online professional development, why not? Online professional development is:
- flexible, and responsive to district needs,
- aligned with and supports other initiatives,
- on demand—accessible by one or one hundred, any time, year round, when needed,
- efficient and
- cost effective
Districts cannot afford to provide all the professional development needed to all its educators. We can help. We can provide the highest quality learning at a fraction of the cost of workshops, seminars or face-to-face university courses.
All CE Credits Online courses are eligible for graduate-level university credits from several regionally-accredited universities.
We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss what you need, what you want and the different options for helping you expand and enhance your professional development mission.