E-learning instructor views on professional development: an investigation of current practice
The purpose of this study was to examine and explore the phenomenon of professional development specifically directed toward teaching and learning online. To facilitate this descriptive analysis, a web-based survey was constructed using six features of Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, and Yoon's (2001) model of effective professional development which include type, topic, duration, collective participation, active learning, and coherence. A link to the survey was sent via e-mail to 435 full-time, part-time, and adjunct instructors employed at three different community colleges within the state of Alabama. A 16% response rate (n = 73) fell within the norms of similar web-based surveys (Jin, 2011; Medway & Fulton, 2012). An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if there was a relationship between faculty's perceived gain in knowledge and skill, related to teaching and learning online, and the six features of Garet et al.'s (2001) model of effective professional development. The results demonstrate that three of the six features (i.e., type, duration by number of days, and active learning) have a statistically significant impact (p < .05) on faculty's perceived gain in knowledge and skill. Therefore, it is recommended that college administrators and e-learning faculty implement and pursue professional development training workshops that incorporate active learning and span several days, weeks, or months. For further study, this researcher suggests that a meta-analysis of teacher education programs be conducted to identify the presence or absence of training for teaching and learning online.